The last time I asked a few of my non-Hispanic business colleagues what ‘working in a global economy’ meant to them, images of a bustling Chinese economy came to their minds followed by a technically, savvy workforce in India, a new emerging financial center in Europe and an oil export supported, construction boom in the Middle East. With the exception of sourcing for raw materials, South and Central America, and the Caribbean were not
even on their radar. I’ve always asked, “Why is it that Hispanics are never seen as part of the ‘global professional workforce’ the way China and India are? Aren’t Hispanics ‘global thinkers’ too?”
When you take a closer look at just how global Hispanic consumers are by nature, you may be in for a surprise. From the ditch digger to the engineer, Hispanics easily adapt to diversity and are used to living multiple lives, speaking in several languages/dialects, and harboring financial and emotional responsibilities across several borders. Their emotions are usually divided among different cultures, each with its long list of expectations.
Crossing borders for a better life is not new to Hispanics. During the heyday of Venezuela’s ‘Plan Cuatro’ with Presidente Carlos Andres Perez at the helm in 1978, Venezuela became a ‘melting pot’ of workers – attracting laborers from every South American country as far away as Chile and Argentina. These immigrants escaped the high unemployment in their respective countries to find work in Venezuela. They came for the same reason that you and I go to work each day, – to make a living for our families. They took whatever job they could find even if it did not match their professional skills. Some worked 10 to 12 hour days to earn enough to send a pay check back to their home country.
When you consider Hispanics as ‘global thinkers’, Hispanics are a non-border work force. From their perspective they reside at one address and work at another. The same as any professional worker. The fact that the address they call home and where they work may be thousands of miles apart is not a real issue to them. While for some this arrangement might appear to be more like an extended business trip, to Hispanics, it is a way of life.
Why is it important to view Hispanic consumers as ‘global thinkers’? For one, treating them any differently without recognizing their innate abilities to adapt within a global business environment may be a lost opportunity on the part of a marketer or employer. Hispanics view the world as one large planet. Talking down to them as though they have no knowledge about ‘working in a global economy’, may be a costly mistake – not just because Hispanic consumers may be offended, but more so because they will never resonate with the rest of the message.
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