If American businesses don't figure out how to market authentically to Hispanics, and bring more of them into significant executive roles, they will miss out on a market of over 50 million people - and growing fast. Three facts tell the story:
1. Hispanics are estimated to represent 30% of the United States population by 2050.
With the lack of notable Hispanic professors and highly prominent Hispanic leaders in the classroom, in the workplace, or in the news, Hispanics young and old are experiencing an identity crisis. They will resolve this crisis by finding leaders, experiences, and brands that speak to them authentically. This is both an extraordinary opportunity - an historically large market in place and up for grabs - and a danger - companies that miss out on this market will significantly hurt their chance for growth in the US in the mid-21st century.
2. Hispanic consumer purchasing power is estimated to reach $1.3 trillion by 2014.
To capture the rapidly growing Hispanic consumer market, corporations must focus on the development of Hispanic leaders in the workplace, and on reaching out to Hispanic consumers in authentic ways. To compete in the Hispanic market, products and services must be designed and implemented by Hispanic leaders that live and breathe its multiple cultures. Hispanic leadership and Hispanic market development represent two sides of the same issue. Fortune 500 brands must be more culturally sensitive and strategic about earning the right to sell to the Hispanic consumer. Bilingual packaging and high-priced advertising that do not connect culturally will not succeed. Corporations must earn the Hispanic consumer relationship - and this begins by developing their Hispanic leaders.
3. Our Uncertain Economy Requires the Immigrant Mentality to Reset America.
The economy is too uncertain, the business cycle has accelerated too much, and people have changed too much for the same old approaches to marketing to continue to work. People want to feel like they're having an impact, like they're making a difference. They want leadership that empowers them to be relevant and significant. Hispanics have the natural leadership characteristics to successfully create a positive impact and influence in today's economy - leadership that focuses on sharing, trust, transparency, mobility, and innovation for the betterment of a healthy whole. It's time to activate them!
Why is it that 74% of Hispanics either don't know or do not believe there is an important Hispanic leader in the United States? That's not the right question. The right one is, Why should people believe otherwise, if Hispanics continue to assimilate and ignore their cultural roots as a strategic advantage? The problem is that Hispanics have yet to fully unleash their cultural authenticity that allows them to be their natural and whole selves.
There is urgent work to be done by America's corporations to develop an authentic marketing approach to the Hispanic market, and an approach to hiring that allows Hispanics to bring their whole selves to work. There is equally urgent work to be done by America's Hispanics to step up to their new role as America's "majority minority" to start bringing their whole selves to work and to the community. There is much to be done and little time to get it done. It's time to get started.