Hispanic – Latino?
Born in Michigan in the late 30’s I had absolutely no interaction with Hispanic’s or Latino’s, in fact I don’t recall ever seeing a person of Hispanic or Latino descent until I moved to Tucson Arizona, then Banning California eventually settling in San Francisco. When I was transferred to Manhattan and then Chicago I had brushes with the Puerto Rico, Mexican and Cubans. I recognized, even with limited contacts among the Hispanic and Latino communities that there were distinctly different cultures within the broad category politicians and government researchers called Hispanic.
The cultural differences between the Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rico and central/south American segments of the politically classified Hispanic community became clear when I started marketing beverages on a national basis. I spent time and energy trying to find common marketing themes that would appeal to what turned out to be clearly diverse segments of the generalized Hispanic/Latino population category.
One example that reinforced the conclusions I came to was the product was identical in all of its factors, language, content and packaging design.
In Puerto Rico the product was premium priced [which materially affects the profit of the product], in the Northeast corridor of the mainland it was a “popularly” priced band with average margins and in the Southwest it was a price brand meaning it was a discounted bulk sale product with minimum profits to our company. The difference was clear, in the Northeast Caucasian’s; unaware of the role this product played in the Hispanic/Latino market accepted the product as a lighter formulation of a good tasting product. In Porto Rico the product was viewed as an import, much like people in the Midwest used to consider Coor’s beer a premium prestigious product while in Colorado, the products home state it is a popularly priced brand. In the Southwest the Mexican population looked for price and drinkability and our product fit their needs as long as it stayed at a discounted price, if we move the price up they switched to what they thought was a comparable product.
In attempting to market the same product to these distinctly different groups it highlights the difficulty in addressing these different cultures with a single label like Hispanic or Latino and further it points out a blanket set of polices won’t address the clearly different interests of these four groups. The only conclusion one can come to is that whether political parties choose to use Hispanic or Latino their courting of these groups will have to be based on individual cultural wants, needs and desire and not a convenient one plan fits all Hispanics – Latino’s.