By Contributing Author
Advertisers of sustainable solutions must target the Latino population if they expect to have the maximum impact.
Those are the findings of a recent study by Presidio Graduate School alumna, now Senior Strategist for Saatchi & Saatchi S, Nayelli Gonzalez.
“Companies that are not speaking to Latinos with their sustainability messaging are not speaking to the fastest-growing demographic in the nation – and this means that their messages are not being heard by an increasingly relevant consumer market,” states the executive summary of the paper, The Myth of the Sleeping Giant: Why Latinos are the fastest growing segment the sustainability industry has (n)ever seen.
Gonzalez says the study, published by Saatchi and Saatchi S, was born from an observation that Latinos may not assume the labels generally associated with sustainability movements but their actions suggest they are fully engaged with the practices.
Coming from a family that emigrated from Mexico, Gonzalez says she has always been tuned into demographics.
“When I graduated from Presidio into the sustainability community at large I noticed a lack of diversity not only in the people involved but in the way a lot of companies are viewing their target audiences,” she says.
“There really isn’t a multicultural perspective. It’s important for the sustainability movement to reach out to as many communities as possible because in the end we are all in this together and it’s important to involve everyone in building a more sustainable planet.”
Gonzalez poked around, hoping to discover an opportunity for a case study. What she found was some research work around other forms of sustainability but nothing around environmental sustainability and the Latino demographic.
“That created a question mark in my mind,” she says, a question mark that led to the white paper.
“What the outside world sees is sometimes different than what goes on behind closed doors – and that is certainly the case when it comes to Latinos’ relationship with the environment,” the report states.
Aiming to provoke conversation among business, marketing, advertising, and environmental communities, Gonzalez launches a myth-busting appeal. Foremost, the myth that Latino’s aren’t environmentalists is simply not accurate. Latinos not only have a “cultural understanding” of the environment that stems in part from their country of origin, and in part from their need to combat negative urban health dangers, but they have almost an innate “respect for nature.”
Then there’s the myth that Latinos don’t want to “buy green” but that is rebuked by statistics that show otherwise.
Lastly, the idea that Spanish-language ads are the only way to reach Latinos is equally misguided, especially in the age of the Internet.
When asked about the viability of teasing out one segment of society from the complex fabric that certainly makes up the reality, Gonzalez said it was clear to her that there was a block in terms of engaging the Latino population in environmental sustainability initiatives.
“This paper obviously focuses on Latinos in the U.S.,” she says, adding that the cultural climate has also put a focus on the Latino demographic. She says the goal, though, is to ensure no demographic is left out of the sustainability movement.
“I think it’s really about ‘if we’re all part of this because we want to live in a more sustainable world, we need to make sure we are providing a seat at the table to everyone.’”