4 holiday nuance awareness considerations for Latino small business marketing campaigns.
It is very common around the world for retailers and restaurants of any stripe to utilize holidays in their marketing, merchandising and communications.
But in the US Latino small business world, that gets a little more complicated.
Key questions for reflection:
- Do you focus on US holidays only?
- Do you focus on US holidays and Latin American events as well?
- Do you focus mostly on Latin American holidays?
- Do you focus on religious holidays?
This can seem like a straightforward series of questions, but they are rife with peril for small businesses that handle these things causally or through word of mouth without doing their homework. You could end up looking foolish, out-of-touch or worse, as exploitative by using culture and religion in a greedy, insensitive way.
Here are four considerations to ensure holiday nuance awareness doesn't derail Latino small business marketing campaigns:
Get the holiday date and historical context right
Many Americans don’t fully understand the nature of some of our holidays.
For example they think that the Fourth of July is somehow linked to our constitution. It isn’t.
The Fourth of July was the day of the Declaration of Independence that was signed in 1776. The constitution wasn’t enacted until 1789. And our national anthem had nothing to do with this date either.
It was written in reaction to events during the War of 1812. The US flag was adopted on June 12th, 1777, so it too came later and is not a part of July 4th even though both the flag and the anthem are emotionally linked to the holiday.
So it’s okay to use them, but not abuse them.
Take this factual approach to research holidays that honor the local Latino communities in your area – Puerto Rico, Chile, Bolivia, Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina, Salvador, Panama, etc.
Get the emotional context right
Honoring Cuba’s history might cause some upset among the virulent anti-Castro elements in Miami. So you might focus on the distant past and the heritage rather than any politically tinged holidays.
Honoring Venezuela’s national holidays might be very problematic unless you handle this very diplomatically. The current disastrous government notwithstanding, people can still be proud of being Venezuelan, but you don’t want to appear to be taking sides in this volatile situation.
There are Mexican holidays and there are "Gringo" holidays.
For example, American companies (especially beer companies) make a big deal out of the Cinco de Mayo, but that was a completely insignificant skirmish in a broader war, and it certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the official Independence Day on Sept. 16th (the 15th was “El Grito” that launched it).
If you simple google “fiestas patrias” and add in the country name, you will see all of the information you need. Wikipedia keeps a thorough listing and explanations of all of the national holidays – both major and minor.
For example, if you happen to have a large Peruvian population near your store/restaurant/salon, you might want to celebrate their two-day national independence festivals on July 28th and 29th.
Next page- Holiday nuance awareness #3 and #4 for Latino small business marketing campaigns.
About the author
Carlos E. Garcia, a Latin Business Today, Partner: Research, Trends, Insights was born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively). He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research. Most recently SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he headed up their Hispanic research efforts. He's gone full circle and now back at the helm of Garcia Research, a Hispanic market and Multicultural-focused research firm.Website