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By the Gonzales Group

RISMEDIA, May 1, 2008-The success of any multicultural initiative is ultimately determined by the objectives that you want to achieve. Whether it’s profitability, brand awareness, or public relations, you must be clear up front what you want to measure, monitor, and evaluate. If the objectives are not clear from the start, the strategies will not align with the outcome and may set the initiative up for failure.

To integrate the strategies of a multicultural initiative into the business plan of an organization you must expand the initiative as deep and as broad within the company to maximize the effort internally. In doing so, it will initiate self-reporting that tracks the benchmarks of the initiative.

What is the multicultural customer experience for your organization? Do you know and understand all there is to know about your multicultural target audience (Latino, Asian, Russian, etc.) For example, there are many articles published on Hispanic marketing emphasizing the point that Latinos prefer to be marketed to in their “native” tongue – Spanish. This is the case if the Latino audience you are trying to reach is Spanish-dominant or prefers to receive their communications in their native tongue. This assumption can be costly and it is critical that you know the market you are serving.

Latinos in most U.S. metro areas culturally live in two worlds – primarily speaking English but understanding and able to speak Spanish and consuming English-language media, while retaining strong ties to their Latino culture. In the past, the process for reaching the Latino market was often limited to one dimensional effort such as the literal translations of general market campaigns. Today, it’s important to understand that the U.S. Latinos live in a bicultural world. The goal is to be able to effectively position and maximize your value proposition to the target audience. As the Latino population grows and matures, its structure is changing in almost every way, from educational levels and labor force composition to household characteristics and accumulation of wealth. It is important to understand that one size does not fit all.

Partner with experts when undertaking your multicultural initiative. Don’t try and go at it alone. Identify the appropriate resource that understands your multicultural target audience and can help you execute with measurable results.

Remember when dealing with the multicultural markets, you’re typically dealing with a “High Context” cultures that places a lot of emphasis on being in a relationship rather than being a part of it. And that at the end of the day it’s about building your economic as well as your social equity.

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