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Hispanic Media Training: How It Can Benefit You

How can media training help you create a successful Hispanic market campaign? There are plenty of examples of Hispanic market campaigns with a broad range of results. Many of you have heard of the infamous airline that invited travelers to fly 'naked'. In the same way, the slogan for pork as "the other white meat" which was successful in the general market was meaningless to U.S. Hispanics.

To promote their new business class leather seats, an airline invited passengers to fly "en cuero." It was not until they had launched the campaign that airline executives realized "en cuero" means naked in colloquial Spanish. Better to prepare than to do damage control after the fact.

When providing Hispanic market sensitive media training, trainers should explain to the spokesperson, regardless of his or her cultural background, the importance and role media play, how the training can benefit them personally and professionally. If necessary discuss media specifics such as types of media and media stories. America's diverse population makes it almost mandatory for interviewees to consider the impact of their message, the way they convey it and the audience. During media training it is important to match the messenger, the medium and the target audience using a culturally sensitive message.

Public relations practitioners should explain to their clients what is expected of them; and what they should expect during the interview process. A spokesperson should be aware of culturally sensitive issues regardless of the media outlet and language.

Another way to make the spokesperson aware of what to expect is to examine media types including online, broadcast, and print media. Describing interview formats (e.g. news, entertainment, and talk-show) and their characteristics expands the expert's understanding and equips him or her to respond appropriately to the situation.

How is Hispanic media training different? Sometimes the differences are subtle and other times they are easy to spot. How can Hispanic media training support your efforts to create a successful Hispanic market campaign? Understanding the unique aspects of language and culture of this desirable market, can help your Hispanic market spokesperson be more effective and your campaign be more successful.

Beyond Language

Hispanic media issues are about much more than language. Some Latino programs and publications are in English or bilingual. Even though some of the programs may be in English, successful interactions with Hispanic media require an understanding of and sensitivity to the Latino audience they reach.

Understanding the media outlet is a first step. Knowing how to deal with and approach the producers and reporters is another. Even if you are successful so far, the message and the messenger have to fit the audience and the medium. That was the case with the pork example earlier. Before launching a translation of the English language campaign, the pork association representatives learned that Latinos were concerned about health related issues; they had no objections to dark meat.

Savvy public relations professionals and interviewees do their homework before addressing the public. There are often cultural, political, socio-demographic, historical, and linguistic issues worth considering. In the same way, Hispanic media training must take into account cultural and linguistic nuances to be effective.

What does that mean in practical terms? Different experts, media outlets and target audience combinations require different approaches. There are eight main possible scenarios; including the Cultural Sensitivity Model.

Under the Hispanic media training Cultural Sensitivity Model a non-Latino expert must be aware of cultural issues to ensure a successful interview, from a Hispanic market perspective, during a general market media opportunity. A non-Hispanic expert addressing a general audience with a general message can end up on the wrong side of an issue without meaning to, if he or she is insensitive to Latino hot buttons. Such was the case of a columnist who offended Latino readers who read her magazine. Several Latino leaders called for a boycott of the publication, causing it to lose credibility and Hispanic readers.

Each interview requires an understanding of the particular characteristics of the audience. As the diversification of America continues, it becomes increasingly difficult to create one message to reach everyone effectively. Among U.S. Latinos, this diversification is also a factor. The challenge is that because the market is made up of a number of small groups rather than one single Latino group, there is no one approach or cookie cutter formula. When in doubt, consult a Latino market expert, preferably one specializing in Hispanic media training.

No single media training, regardless of the language, can address all potential situations and solve all possible problems. It can communicate some of the critical concerns and challenges to the spokesperson improving their effectiveness and making them sensitive to Hispanic market issues. This can facilitate the success of your Hispanic market campaign.

Elena del Valle is a 20-year marketing and communications veteran. Part of this article was derived from Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations (Poyeen Publishing $49.95). Additional information is available at


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