Is Marketing Dead?

This blog was written by Francesca Gonzalez-Roel, Hispanic Marketing Communication Graduate Student, and inspired by Bill Lee’s article in The Harvard Business Review:

In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Bill Lee suspects that marketing is dead. He defines traditional marketing as public relations, branding, and corporate communication. These traditional routes can be troubling because there is a disconnect between producer and consumer. These modes of marketing tend to lack the personal quality that product users crave. Presently, in a world of constant conversation, his suspicion may be right.

This world is deeply connected and intertwined. In fact, the rise of social media in the last decade has allowed humans to be connected to each other 24 hours a day. Information is available without so much as a click. That is if you have a touch screen smart phone! This means conversations are happening all over the world about products and services. TV commercials are not influencing our buying habits anymore. What our friends are saying on Twitter however, is.

Consumers need more than a picturesque snap shot of a product, which is what commercials and other forms of traditional marketing deliver. With a more personal and connected approach to marketing, consumers can evaluate the practicality and emotional value of the product. Is it satisfying? Does it exceed the expectations of a customer who has tried it? Cultivating this experience is derived from community driven marketing.

In short, community marketing is a way to market a product via word of mouth within a community. [This can be virtually or personally.] Community influencers and members try a product and almost naturally share their experience with their friends and neighbors.
Planned efforts of this can be seen with Product Ambassadors– those who have tried a product and are eager to spread the word.

You will see a lot of this on college campuses. Companies such as Bloomberg Institute and Victoria Secret Pink have students who are currently or have previously worked for the brand, know the culture, and have had experience with the products. Their job is to promote the brand around campus. These ambassadors talk about their experience and encourage others to try it out for themselves.

On the virtual plane, the web 2.0 phenomenon is another reason why traditional marketing is a dead paradigm. Forums, blogs, web communities like that promote costumer reviews and reactions, and social networks like Facebook are trumping traditional branding strategies. These modes of communication are straightforward and honest, contributing to brand equity. The more equity, the more purchasing power the company gains.

So maybe marketing isn’t dead, but it is, with a doubt, evolving into something entirely new. Consumer/community driven marketing is the new paradigm. This doesn’t make marketers obsolete, but it does transform old practices. Marketers need to be a part of these communities, share their experiences, and start the conversation.


Insights in Multicultural Marketing and the Importance of Cultural Intelligence

The following entry was written by Joana Wong ( and edited by Francesca Gonzalez-Roel

The following blog entry is about a conversation with a young man from Kuwait who is learning English at FSU to then attend a university in Texas. In order to protect his confidentiality, I refer to him as ‘T.’

His text made me laugh. I had proposed we meet at the Union Food Court and that we both cook dinner and swap meals. “I can cook vegetarian, too!” I offered. Instead, he just texted back, “I just know how to cook an egg :p” I let out a hearty chuckle before realizing I looked like a klutz laughing at a cellphone screen in the middle of campus. But this was the moment I felt T and I would get along just fine. And we did.

Meeting T reminded me that the human brain is like a sponge, capable of learning new skills to adapt to the environment. Most importantly, however, meeting him has opened my eyes to a resource-abundant country, its current status as a melting pot, and its rich, high-context culture.

Kuwait is the hottest place in the entire planet in the summer, according to T. Hearing this, I already felt bad for the Kuwaitis that had to walk everywhere, sliding their palms across their red-hot, sun-scorched faces to wipe down the sweat. I was relieved to learn that most people drive rather than walk. It makes sense, since oil, I hypothesize, must be so abundant and cheap there. After all, their whole economy relies upon oil. Yet, contrary to what you might believe, Kuwait is not all filled with a gray blanket of smog covering the city—at least not where T is from.

The oil brings many advantages to people in Kuwait. Kuwaitis, as they are called, do not have to pay taxes. They do not have to pay for health care. Nor they have to pay for school. This is because the oil is government owned, something that has attracted many people from the United States, India, and Bangladesh, to Kuwait. Wondering if this influx of foreigners has created cultural animosity among the Kuwaiti population, I compared this to the generalized feeling help by Panamanians. They are resentful of the increased competitiveness in the job market due to the new, foreign, skilled laborers. Yet, according to T’s personal opinion, they have good relations with people from the United States and even some children attend school with locals. It seems that, in his opinion, Kuwaitis have become accustomed to dealing with people of different customs and cultures than their own. Actually, their attitude towards strangers completely amazed me.

Kuwaitis are extremely hospitable. They will welcome you, a complete foreigner and stranger, into their house. Simple as that. If you are left stranded without a hotel, you can knock on some families’ door and say, “Hey, I am a Panamanian… I’m lost and I have nowhere to stay,” and they will give you a place to sleep for three days, with meals included. They will even withstand your cultural ignorance. As I gathered from T and I’s conversation, Kuwaitis are comfortable with foreigners and therefore, the unknowingness of Kuwaiti customs. You can do something that they consider strange or rude, like rejecting a cup of coffee (Don’t do that while visiting Kuwait!) and they will try their best to not be offended because they are understanding of your cultural ignorance.

“So what is this thing about rejecting coffee that is so offensive?” you might be asking yourself.

T explained. Many generations ago, when their grandparents were having personal troubles—work, family, or anything else—they would go to a store/restaurant/cafeteria. The server would offer them a cup of coffee, and due to the grandfather’s current issues, he would reject the offered cup. This would be a signal to the server that there was something wrong, and then he’d ask if everything was ok. Nowadays, rejecting a cup of coffee is just a behavior that seems odd. The proper procedure, if you didn’t want the coffee, would be to accept it and put it in front of you. Even if your lips didn’t touch the cup, you still had to accept it. This and many other unspoken rules made me understand more in depth how this is a high-context culture. In high-context cultures, communication depends much more on the context rather than on what is actually said. For example, in Panama, if you say you will meet at 7 pm, everybody knows that the meeting will actually take place at 7:30ish. So in T’s case,

Not accepting coffee ≠ I do not want coffee.

But rather,

Not accepting coffee = There’s something wrong.

Or perhaps,

Not accepting coffee = This person is being weird and impolite.

This, I think is one of the reasons why I was excited to meet with someone from Kuwait, as I haven’t had much interaction with this culture. I found it fascinating to learn about a new perspective on the Middle East that wasn’t illuminated by CNN or Hollywood. Unfortunately, it seems that most of what we learn about foreign cultures is through the media. This is partly because of its omnipresent place in our society! We, as humans, should instead learn from sharing experiences with new people, getting to know their values, cultures, and beliefs. I look forward to my next conversational exchange with T – or should I say – I look forward to my next cultural exchange with T!

The Latest Blog from Dr. Felipe Korzenny, Founder of The Center for HMC at FSU

How Should Brands Give Back in a Multicultural Market?

Marketers frequently ask how their brands can give back to a community to create good will and enhance their brand’s position. The answer to the question is complex, but one of the ways of trying to address it is by asking consumers of different cultural and acculturation backgrounds how they rate different actions that brands can take in order to give back.

In 2012 with the cooperation of Research Now and the leadership of +Melanie Courtright, we again collected an online national sample composed of Hispanics and Asians born in the US and those born abroad, in addition to African Americans and Non-Hispanic Whites. We used the country of birth as a proxy for acculturation to see if technology adoption varied accordingly.

We asked respondents to rate different actions that companies can take to give back as follows:
“When a brand gives back to a community, which of the following are most and least important contributions from your perspective? Please rank in order, from 1, most important, to 5, least important, each of the following items.”

The following chart shows the total across all respondents (indicated by the blue bars) and for each of the culturally unique groups (indicated by the colored lines) for the rank of “Most Important” in regard to the following possible brand actions:

  • Provide jobs
  • Give scholarships
  • Help clean the environment
  • Keep jobs in the local community, and
  • Employees get free time to do community service

The rank shown is just the “Most Important” for each of the items. The totals for each culturally unique or acculturation group add to slightly more than 100% because each item was rated independently.

The first surprise is that the differences across culturally unique and acculturation groups is relatively small and that these cultural groups agree on the priority of the items.  The number one priority across the board is that the most important contribution that brands can make is to provide jobs to the community, followed by keeping jobs in the local community. It is perhaps not surprising that these two items have the highest priority given the economic downturn that most Americans have experienced in the recent past.

At a distance the next two priorities for brands are to help clean the environment and give scholarships. This does not necessarily mean that these are not important brand contributions, but that jobs are a more prevalent contribution at this time.

Interestingly, giving employees free time to do community service was ranked as top by the smallest proportion of respondents in each cultural group. This is perhaps due to the lack of visibility that such action may have as a contribution.

What are the lessons from these findings?

  1. Cultural groups and those at different levels of acculturation tend to agree on approaches that brands need to take to give back to the communities where they operate. Clearly, the implementation of providing jobs has to be by cultural group in order to satisfy the expressed sentiment of these consumers. Creating jobs is not enough but creating jobs that satisfy these segments individually.
  2. At times of economic distress there are actions that consumers feel are important but they subside to the more pressing issues of the time. While cleaning the environment and giving scholarships are important, jobs take preeminence in economic downturns.
  3. Marketers are encouraged to emphasize how their brands contribute to employment of these different cultural groups with specific emphasis on the local community.

The data for this study was collected by Research Now of Dallas, Texas, thanks to the generous initiative of +Melanie Courtright. Research Now contributed these data to the research efforts of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University (+Hispanic FSU). This online survey included the responses of 936 Asians (398 US born), 458 African Americans, 833 Hispanics (624 US born), and 456 non Hispanic Whites. This national sample had quotas for US region, age, and gender to increase representativeness.


Link to Dr. Korzenny’s personal blog:

For the LOVE of Cities

The following is a guest blog by Fernando Rodriguez, Director at Moore Communications Group-Latino and FSU-HMC alumni. 

Love is a worn-out word. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I love my triple grande caramel macchiato” or my wife asking me “Don’t you love how these jeans fit me?” For those reasons, I was skeptical when I opened the email that read, Register to Attend the For the Love of Cities: Tallahassee + Leon County Workshop. I was invited to attend this interactive workshop sponsored by Leon County, the City of Tallahassee, Village Square and Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI). The guest speaker was author Peter Kageyama, who has spoken all over the world about bottom up community development and the amazing people who are making change happen.

The day of the workshop finally came. As I entered the FSU Alumni Association, I could see a heterogeneous group of men, women, senior citizens and college students, Caucasians, African-Americans, Hispanics and even members of the LBGT community. At my table were other unofficial city-makers, creative people with a passion for their hometown that want to make it a better place to live and find ideas that help make things happen.


Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, Peter addressed a captive audience saying, “A mutual love affair between people and their place is one of the most powerful influences in our lives, yet rarely thought of in terms of a relationship” as images of museums, playgrounds, bike paths, pedestrian walks and monumental works of art, were projected on the screen.

I was familiar with most of these places. I had recently taken my family to New Orleans and visited The National World War II Museum. I have strolled down the pedestrian walk at Times Square and admired Cloud Gate, one of the monumental works of art at Chicago’s Millennium Park. Nothing was new, except the term he coined to describe them: love letters from the city.

Peter focused our attention to the center of the table. There were easel papers, Post-it-notes, pencils and colored markers. He asked each participant to write what we loved about Tallahassee on a Post-it note, come up to the microphone and share it with everyone. This is when his true gift was revealed: the ability to move people to action.

After a few minutes, most of the room eagerly started to make their way to the microphone. One after another, each person filled the room with a sense of pride that I had not felt before. They were saying, “I love Tallahassee’s bike trails,” “I love our canopy roads,” “I love Tallahassee Community College” and the anticipated “I love the Seminoles!!!”

Peter gave us two more assignments: to come up with a design for a Tallahassee T-Shirt and to create a new (or revive an old) city ritual or tradition. Again, a long line of volunteers stepped up to the mic and share their “50 Shades of Trees” and “Talla-Happy” t-shirt designs, among others.


The ritual or tradition ideas generated by attendees were as creative. “Let’s bring back the hot air balloon festival” and “We suggest closing Tennessee St. and break Bosnia’s world record of 1,521 couples dancing in the streets. This would certainly give another meaning to the expression: Tennessee Waltz.” The audience was energized!


That day I learned two valuable lessons. When we consider the emotional connection we have with our cities, we open up new possibilities in community, social and economic development, and love is not a worn-out word after all.

Look Who’s Speaking Spanglish

By Maria Padron
Last week I made media pitches to the editors of Spanish publications in South Florida as part of my internship at Moore Consulting Group’s Hispanic Marketing Department. While the majority of voicemail menus were offered in English and Spanish, I didn’t want to pass up what these days is the rare opportunity for me to speak Spanish. Still, occasionally I had a slip of the tongue when I broke into English during several conversations. That’s when I’d have my equivalent of a Homer Simpson “D’OH!” moment. “Grrr. Digo correo electrónico, no e-mail!”, the voice inside my head would say.

It seems that many of today’s music artists like Pitbull, Shakira and Sie7e (pronounced Siete) don’t feel the same frustration when the lyrics of their potential hit-singles turn to Spanglish. These are just a few of the artists that have managed to create a strong connection with a fan-base who appreciates their authenticity. Because our sense of identity is defined socially, such public figures are part of a unique reference group with the potential to influence our cultural identity.

Like many fans, they too strive to maintain cultural roots, yet are regularly exposed to U.S. mainstream culture on a daily basis. Cuban-American rapper Pitbull released a Spanish-language album 2 years ago, but he rapped primarily in English when he burst onto the music scene in 2002. “I decided to rap in English and throw in simple words in Spanish, and even the gringos were speaking Spanish”, he stated at the 2010 AHAA Annual Conference, perhaps as an indirect reference to his listeners’ varied levels of acculturation.

Earlier this year, Sie7e explained why his music doesn’t have language barriers when he attended the conference as part of a group panel that examined how Spanglish has helped reach a new generation of audiences – “I want to sing how we talk through music”, he said. His recent album, Mucha Cosa Buena, which includes the bilingual hit “Tengo Tu Love”, helped him win the 2011 Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist and proves that the Puerto Rican singer/songwriter is onto something. Check out Sie7e’s music video for “Tengo Tu Love” by clicking play below:


Perhaps these artists also feel that they shouldn’t have to choose between one language or the other precisely because of their dual identities. Lucky for us, when analyzing U.S. consumers a growing number of today’s music artists recognize our similarly complex needs, wants, values and attitudes.

Are marketers taking notice of this reference group to make informed decisions regarding communication efforts targeting Hispanics? Tell us what you think.

Related post: Remembering Nat King Cole: The Original Crossover Artist

What color is your money?

by Jordan Wenck

AHAA conference 2012: The biggest and baddest Hispanic Marketing conference in all the land, really.  It was my first conference (let alone multicultural one) and it was an incredible experience.  I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it, and truly recommend others to go if at all possible.

One of the best presentations I have ever heard was by Marc Strachan, VP of Diageo; the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Just seeing some of these prestigious names made me want to tune in.

He began his presentation by saying that we need to become a change agent – for corporate culture, for ways of working, for long term sustainable business, and for understanding the consumers in a changing world.  We need to focus on having a competitive edge and be in the business of business, focus on sales and driving profit.  He made an interesting point by asking “What is the color of your money?”

Green was my answer.  And that’s right, green is the color of your money, no matter the culture;  in order to get that green money, you need to be relevant to all lifestyles that use your product.  He advocates for creating a partnership with all targeted consumers by driving knowledge and understanding.  Going back to being a change agent, multicultural marketing is a “transformational priority”.

From 2010-2015, multicultural consumers contribute 80% of projected industry value share growth for at least 6 types of alcohols.

How can you ignore 80% of growth by only targeting the “general market?”  Strachan said we must be prepared to dive into the multicultural concept.  This will change the entire business strategy.

He says to use benchmarking against those doing it right to see where you are now and where you want to be; and be patient.  Create a vision and end goal.

  • Vision: “revolutionize our connections with multicultural consumers and make them passionate about buying our brands” find why they choose your bran over others.
  • End goal: “multicultural mindset at the core of growth and innovation strategy.”

The brand is king, the is no more general market.  Strategy must now include the total market, be made into inclusive marketing, and have a multicultural lens.  This really does mean changing mindsets and behaviors of the entire company, get top management support  and be passionate about initiatives.

Retool and rebuild the house by adjusting to the new demand.  Everyone must be invested in the multicultural mindset. Have a focus on continuous improvement and forward motion.  Be prideful for the work you do and what you bring to company.

Steps to success: listen and hear, learn and teach, invest and tool up, take action.  Everyone has roles and has to get on board.  We either change as the audience changes and adapt or die.

Keys to success:

1. Be more relevant: have better communications and platforms base on real insights.

2. Community engagement

3. Superior commercial execution.

The world is changing; companies want to do business in a global world- need to be involved in that world.  Imbed the multicultural mindset into the company DNA: “it should be just what we do.”

Don’t call yourself a multicultural agency, just call it an agency.  Change starts with yourself; Good ideas find money; Have a management team that will take risks and be invested and believe in what you’re doing.

For more information about Diaego, visit

Hispanic Marketing and Social Media

By Jordan Wenck

The opportunities for students at Florida State University never cease to amaze me. One lucky undergraduate Hispanic Marketing Communications Class taught by Antonieta Reyes Echezuria was selected for a competition to help design a social media plan for Fox Deportes. Once students got word of this competition, they split into groups and got to work. Some of their research findings were very impressive and their ideas as innovative as any marketer in the field would design.

One thing each group could agree on though, Fox Deportes needs a mobile app that has multiple uses. One interesting comparison that I heard was why Hispanics are such fans of Pepto-Bismol. “5 symptom relief: nausea, heart burn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea!” Besides it being a catchy tune, Hispanics love it because it works for a variety of problems. In the same sense, they like their Social Media to do more than one thing; they like practicality, the “one-stop-shop.” An interesting theme throughout all the presentations was the multi-dimensional aspect, a holistic approach. If an app can become a resource, provide news, and allow interaction all while being entertaining, relevant, and encouraging engagement – you can offer the whole “experience.”

• Now nearly half of all U.S. Hispanics ages 18-34  own smart phones
• 43% of U.S. Hispanics engage in mobile gaming
• U.S. Hispanics are 80% more likely to use a check-in service
• 79.4% of Hispanics are actively on Facebook
• 69% of Hispanics watch those uploaded videos

According to Hispanic insight infographics and the students’ presentations, Hispanics use Social Media a lot more than other cultural groups and are well ahead of the Social Media curve when it comes to trends. They are more likely engage, but they may respond differently to Social Media efforts. You need to make sure that you understand your audience and their preferences. If your main website and communication is in Spanish, you may want to think twice about automatically making the switch to English simply because it’s on Facebook or Twitter. Try to focus on having your Social Media attempts complement what you’re already doing. You want to present information that is clear and concise and make sure that your audience gets it.

Hispanic Social Media

2012 Hispanic Mobile Consumer Trends by Zpryme Practice

The competition was certainly tough, and the voting came down to the last-minute at the AHAA (The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies) Hispanic Marketing Conference in early May.

The winners were chosen from a group of FSU students; a sports app made for girls, by girls.

This mobile application is going to be a hit, I was ready to download it right away while they were presenting.  They put a lot of hard work into it and it showed.  It’s great news for the girls; they each won $1000 prize and will get the opportunity to continue the development of this app.  It’s also great news for FSU and goes to show how Seminoles roll.

Change is coming, an observation from The 2012 Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies conference.

by Brock Wright

Earlier this week a dozen or so students, including myself, from the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communications at Florida State University, traveled to Miami for the annual Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) conference. While there are countless blog posts that can be written about the conference and the knowledge we all gained from attending, I have chosen to focus on how the brands are finally giving the Hispanic market the credit it deserves.

Without a doubt, one of the best presentations at the conference this year was by Marc Stephenson Strachan who is the VP of Multicultural Marketing at Diageo North America. In his presentation, he told us about the organizational culture shift that had to take place in order for Diageo to be successful in its multicultural endeavor. He credited their success to the fact that the top, non-minority, executives got it; they understood that they needed to reach these markets. From there, they made the Hispanic market priority number one. One of the best ways Mr. Stephenson Strachan put it was “You change as your audience changes” and “if we didn’t change, we would lose.”

Later on in the conference we got to hear from Steven Rommeney, (a non-Hispanic Caucasian) brand manager for Eli Lilly, talk about how they, as company, have over indexed in their investment in the Hispanic market compared to the industry. While not as moving as Mr. Stephenson Strachan’s presentation, I enjoyed seeing a non-Hispanic in a leadership role from a major Pharmaceutical company that understood the challenges and dynamics of the Hispanic market.

So you may be wondering what am I trying to get at. When I look at where things have been headed since even last years’ conference in October, it seems that the day where the Hispanic market is left on the back-burner while the “general market” is allocated almost all of the companies’ marketing resources could be a thing of the past, sooner rather than later. I think this may be caused by a mix of having more enlightened and educated upper management, along with the ability of the free market to force companies to seriously look at the purchasing power of Hispanics.

One example of this shift was right in front of me the whole time I was at the conference. Walking from our hotel to the conference venue,  three GNC ads grabbed my attention. Two were in Spanish and one was in English. While the English ad was far larger than the Spanish ads, I found it interesting how GNC didn’t just take the English print and add Spanish. Instead, they created three unique ads. All of the below ads were taken within two blocks in downtown Miami on Biscayne Boulevard near Bayside and the American Airlines Arena.

English GNC ad:  Live Vibrant

Live Vibrant

Viva Saludablemente:  GNC ad

Viva Saludablemente: GNC Spanish ad by bus stop

Viva Saludablemente:  GNC ad

Viva Saludablemente: another GNC ad by bus stop

I’m not saying these are by far the best examples of a company getting the message, but I do think it shows us what the future will be, and not too distant at that. So don’t get left behind. I leave you with this question by Mr. Stephenson Strachan, “What is the color of your money?”

A Chinese-Panamanian Perspective on Self-Identity

by Joana Wong

“Now, should I mark I’m Hispanic or Asian?”

I never know what box to check. It gets even harder to choose one or the other when some Hispanics don’t even think you classify as one. And then the Chinese don’t think you’re Chinese either: “What? You don’t know how to play Mah Jong? What? You don’t speak Chinese?”

So, how do was I going find peace with my identity, whichever it was?

I did a few things. On one side, I started learning Chinese and studying the origins of Buddhism and Taoism. On the other side, I started going to casino style salsa classes. But there has always been one thing that ties both of my cultural heritages together: hot sauce. Picante. 辣 (là).

Food without hot sauce is not food, not for me. Food without flavor is only a digestible good – not one that will enrich my soul or make my taste buds explode with flavor. To me, food is sacred and a part of who I am. Who I am as an Asian, when I decide to eat mustard leaves and noodles, and who I am as a Panamanian, when I’m presented with ‘arroz con pollo,’ come together thanks to both cultures’ affinities to hot sauce. Yum. It’s so good I’m not restricted to only one cultural heritage.

Now all this needs is a bit of hot sauce and it’s officially a real meal.

As a descendant of Chinese who grew up in the Caribbean coast, I ate ‘picante’ since I was little. I think my fondness of ‘picante’ began when I was five years old. I was a little too much of a big girl to keep sucking on my thumb, so my mom started dipping it in hot sauce. What good did it do? It only made me get used to the spiciness.  From then on, I put spice on everything – but not only on food.

My hips follow the rhythm of salsa, even when I’m cleaning the house. My Spanish only pronounces slang, words so locally and culturally charged, they’re only understood by other Panamanians. My embraces inspire warmth, as I greet people with a kiss on the cheek and a smile. ‘Picante’ translates itself into my definition of being a China-Panameña.

But that’s enough talking about me. Share with us, what is the one thing would you use to describe your own heritage?

Lessons Learned from Music

by Antonieta Reyes

Last week, I attended my first Southern States Communication Association Conference. I didn’t know quite what to expect and I started freaking out after attending the first session and realizing that there was no visual aid and that it followed a panel format. I ran to my room, took out my paper and proceeded to edit it and prepare it to be presented in the required format. I went into my session feeling queasy but walked out feeling great. My paper was well received; I got great feedback, and made some new friends. I realized two things: at conferences, you really need to be prepared for anything… and, music never lets you down.

Music is central to Hispanics’ well being and given the opportunity, we will play music or listen to the radio nonstop. Music and lyrics carry cultural meaning and serve as social regulators that communicate norms and values. This inspired me to write my paper titled Portrayals of Men and Women in Latin Music, in which I name and discuss gendered themes found in top Latin songs from 1999 and 2009’s Hot Latin Songs Billboard charts. I have to say… this was probably the most fun I have ever had working on a paper.

That’s me, in a pensive mood a few minutes before my presentation.
Right: a snapshot of my panel from the program

Through my analysis, I found that although many of the stereotypes and messages of gender inequality continue to be present, messages that challenge stereotypes and traditional gender schemas were also found… and that is good news. As Rosie Molinary points out in her book Hijas Americanas (quoted in my paper), young Hispanic girls need good role models to inspire them and to learn from. The underrepresentation of women in media affects the girls [and boys] that are growing up consuming it. Molinary argues that the concept of being Latina in America is more complex that we admit to and needs to be better understood.

I don’t know if songwriters are aware of their writing or listeners aware of the messages in media. Either way, I believe that music serves as a tool that affects our personality and worldview by reinforcing and challenging norms and behaviors. Bet you’ll be paying more attention to what you’re listening to… (mischievously smiling).

Like always, there’s a lot more to this research. If you’d like a copy, please send me an email at

The Benefits of Bilingualism in Today’s Globalized Job Market

By María Padrón

It’s a fact that only about 5 percent of the world speaks English. This means that in order to maintain a competitive advantage in today’s globalized job market, we must master an additional language. I grew up in Miami with parents of Cuban and Peruvian descent. I’m a native Spanish speaker, but English became my primary language after mastering it in grade school. Even after that I’ve always spoken Spanish among relatives, so when I moved to Tallahassee, it was a bit of a culture shock. Now I speak Spanish on rare occasions, like when I’m on the phone with parents, or when I make myself watch the nightly news in Español.  Yes, that’s right, I make myself.  I’ve even signed up for Spanish courses at FSU to become familiar with the small details that make Spanish intricate, like spelling and grammar rules. My textbooks? Literary novels and all that good stuff, but fashion magazines are an even better option for keeping up with day-to-day language and common expressions.  Whoever discovered that there was a market for Cosmopolitan among Latinas like myself, was a genius.

Bilingualism is the gift that keeps on giving.

Bilingualism is the gift that keeps on giving.

“What’s with the obsession with maintaining my ability to communicate and understand Spanish?”, you ask. For those of you that will be entering the job market for good in the near future, being bilingual will help you in your career by granting you access to double the amount of employment and career-advancing opportunities when compared to someone who is simply fluent in one language. For instance, my versatility to communicate in either English or Spanish will increase the possibilities of where those unique opportunities may come from. My communication skills in English and Spanish can be applied to jobs in Canada, Spain, Colombia, England and other corners of the world.

Being bilingual can also make you more attractive to employers by automatically setting you apart from candidates with only a single language under their belt. By maintaining your ability to communicate in your native language, bilingualism not only gives you a wide appeal, but can showcase your cultural heritage as well. In today’s globalized job market your language skills can be transferred to many fields and industries as the demand for professionals who can communicate to a multicultural audience continues to increase.

Distinguished author and reporter Jorge Ramos made an important point in the article entitled “La latinización de Estados Unidos” when he said: “la única manera de enfrentar los problemas específicos de la comunidad latina es con mas líderes. Como decía Octavio Paz, ‘el reto de Estados Unidos es que se reconozca como lo que es: una nación multietnica, multirracial y multicultural’” (Ramos, “La latinización de Estados Unidos”). In its English translation this means: “the only way to fix the problems that are specific to the Latin community is with more leaders. Like Octavio Paz used to say, ‘the goal of the United States is that it is recognized for what it is: a multiethnic, multiracial and multicultural nation’”.

My generation will contribute our grain of salt to alter the history of the Latino community in the U.S. My goal as a public relations professional is to become a leader in the Latin community as we continue to grow in numbers, influence and purchasing power. I look forward to exploring the opportunities that will allow me to apply my bilingual and bicultural heritage, from creating media content in Spanish to raising awareness about migratory laws. However, as more Latinos achieve positions of power, what I look forward to most is the leaders who will look and sound more like me y más como tú también.

Experiencing the Magic

FSU-CCI at the 2012 Association of Marketing Theory & Practice Conference

by Antonieta Reyes
One of the perks of being a graduate student is the chance to get out-of-town to attend conferences. Thanks to them, I have been able to visit some great cities in the US, met incredible colleagues and professors, and received a great deal of feedback. But my latest trip to this year’s Association of Marketing Theory & Practice (AMTP) Conference is one to remember. Not only did my paper receive an award, but also I caught up with friends and former teachers and spent some deserving mother-daughter time.

Conference Hispanic Marketing

Main: From left Andy Ellis, Ania Rynarzewska, Dr. Brian Parker, and Antonieta Reyes
Top Right: Award presented for “Brand Engagement: An analysis on Motivation”
Bottom Right: Antonieta Reyes and her mom at 2nd Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach, SC.

My “little paper that could” was titled Brand Engagement: An Analysis on Motivation. In this paper, I try to explain brand engagement in self-concept (BESC) in terms of our motivation to fulfill certain needs.  Brand engagement in self-concept explains how brands merge into what defines us as individuals. It sheds light on questions on what makes us identify with certain brands and how our family and friends are able to describe us by referring to them.

For example, I’m a Diet Cherry Coke lover, a “just do it” kind of gal, and a lifetime member of the “Cult of Mac.”

As a student in the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, my interest in motivation stems from aiming to understand cultural values, beliefs, and attitudes, which in turn provide insight into how different cultures act upon their needs. This is especially important in understanding consumer behavior in the United States.

I specifically explore Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and McClelland’s Theory of Needs and find insights that can explain consumer behavior. For example, when buying a car, a “new mom” may be looking to fulfill safety needs but once the car meets them, she may then be motivated by what the car says about her or how her friends see her in it.

Moreover, understanding cultural values can offer an added bonus. For instance, a recent immigrant may feel motivated to fulfill his or her need to belong and search for a way to feel closer to home, and forgo a novel brand over one that is typical in his or her home country.

There’s a lot more to this research, and a lot more to going to conferences. If you want to know about our papers and presentations, send me an email to

PS. I want to thank The Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication for the support that allows me to attend conferences and to AMTP for recognizing my work. Also, congratulations to Andy Ellis and Dr. Felipe Korzenny for earning the “Best Paper in Track Award” for their paper “Black, White or Green: The Powerful Influence of Ethnicity on Pro-environmental Attitudes and Behaviors.”