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Love and friendship and economic opportunities

bltcommentarywebIt’s that time of year to express your love — not just romantic feelings but the love and appreciation for our parents, children, family and friends. And to the extended family at work: our team, clients and volunteers.

Ideally you are expressing your appreciation year ‘round and not just during the commercially fueled February holiday. This is a great time to cultivate relationships.

As you all know, our niche is “engagement,” whether engaging clients, communities or employees, with a hyper focus on the Hispanic segment. So, when thinking through how one can engage this particular segment through stewardship and relationship-building, check out these concepts below. Remember that these apply to the general market as well, not just Latinos.

Clients/retail opportunities

As nice as it is to be nice, there’s still a need to economically quantify marketing campaigns and segmented initiatives. Unfortunately, there’s not a pot of money available for feel-good activities. Here’s the ammunition you need to get a piece of the budget for a Valentine’s Campaign for Latinos.

A growing population:

  • One of every five millennials is a Latino
  • One out of every four kindergartners is a Latino
  • One out of every two births is a Latino baby
  • Latinos represent 56% of the overall growth in the U.S. population, and
  • 80 percent of the growth in the U.S. labor market.

Younger and larger:

  • 63 percent of Latinos are 34 years or younger
  • Larger families: 4 people per family versus the non-Latino average of 2.6.

Eating and dining out:

  • In the restaurant/food retail industries, Latinos represent 25 percent of all traffic
  • Have larger groups when dining out (2.8 vs 2.1) and
  • Above average breakfast and afternoon snack consumption.

 

Obviously, the population is growing. Ensuring that your messaging and marketing efforts include a cultural nod to the Hispanic culture is a start. For instance, Hispanics are naturally gregarious and don’t consider Valentine’s Day solely a romantic holiday but rather an opportunity to show affection to ALL people we love and appreciate.

In Mexico (by the way 65 percent of U.S. Latinos are of Mexican descent) Valentine’s Day is  known as “El Día del Amor y La Amistad” — the day of Love And Friendship. And lunches, where platonic friends exchange gifts and flowers are common and actually expected.

Employees

We all know employees work for people NOT companies. An indifferent or incompetent manager directly influences employee retention and satisfaction. What are YOU doing to “love” (No need to get weird, in this sense, I mean “appreciate” or “express gratitude”) your folks?

Bringing in lunch? Hosting a team building activity? And not a Kumbaya session but something fun, like goat yoga or the amazing race, where folks can authentically connect and engage with one another and in turn with your organization.

Folks are jaded and cynical. Ensure these initiatives are meaningful by thinking of continuance. What else can be done? Is there an employee resource group that can be tapped to develop and enact other team-building activities?  Have you emphasized the unique benefits and perks you offer that make employment attractive?

For my team, flexibility is key; being able to work from home or step out for a parent/teacher meeting is an attractive perk. Express your appreciation by implementing policies and initiatives that matter to your folks.

A couple of last thoughts around Latinos: there are some holidays and events that are unique or more relevant to the culture, such as quinciañeras, Christmas Eve, Good Friday, Dias de los Muertos, Independence Days, etc. Offering floating holidays and flexibility in scheduling would be very welcomed.

Secondly, consider language access. Offer the option to access employee materials in another language besides English to increase engagement. Whether a newsletter, intranet platform or a simple closed Facebook group, create an inclusive environment where employees can engage authentically with you.

Communities

Are you a nonprofit, health care or direct services organization? Tasked with serving under-served communities? If so, show some extra love during the holiday by thanking volunteers and the multitude of pro-bono professionals who invest their time and treasures.

Include a newsletter or blog article or consider creating some Spanish language content to express appreciation.  Thank donors with an appropriate expression of appreciation that includes personalizing their impact. Correlate your impact and successes to their contribution and support.

Amigos, although we can certainly benefit economically from capitalizing on the Valentine’s Day holiday, we simply need more love (and friendship, appreciation and gratitude) in our world. To that effect: Los Quiero Mucho.

Veronica Cool is founder of Cool & Associates LLC, a business management firm specializing in financial wellness and diverse segment marketing. Her column appears each month in The Daily Record and online. Contact her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @verocool.