May 312011
HONOLULU. - When the Puerto Rican Jose Villa was 25 years ago, there were few Hispanics in Hawaii. 
 The situation changed rapidly: the Hispanic population in Hawaii has increased 37.8% from 2000 to 2010, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday. 
 Villa and his wife toured the archipelago last year to encourage the participation of Hispanics in the census. Census takers found sparks of Latino culture, from a Mass in Spanish in Argentine coffee Kona to Maui.
“I’ve seen grow the presence of the Hispanic community from almost nothing,” said Villa. ”The Hispanic community here is an emerging market.”

According to the Census, Hispanics totaled 120.842 in 2010, when in 2000 were 87.699. 
 The demographic diversity has grown in Hawaii, said the professor of ethnic studies in Hawaii, Noel Kent. 
 “Basically we had a diverse population with Asian, Polynesian and European, we now have a strong Latino population,” he added. ”The Hispanic population introduces a cultural variant new”. 
 Hawaii and many Latin American countries have much in common, as a tropical climate, close-knit family and a culture that respects the elderly, “said Villa, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce called Latin Business Hawaii (Latin Business Hawaii). 
 “Respect is very important in the Latino community, and is also very important in Asian and Hawaiian communities,” he said. ”We feel very comfortable here.” 
 Hispanics in Hawaii are a mix of former soldiers from the mainland and recent immigrants, “said Villa. 
 The result, a Hispanic community more homogeneous than the mainland, where there are enclaves, or districtswith Latino groups specific, he added. 
 Along with the increased racial diversity in Hawaii has also increased the mestizo population, 21.4% in 2000 to 23.6% in 2010. 
 This aspect encourages reflection about a culture that accepts The marriage between people of different races, said Sarah Yuan, the Family Center on the University of Hawaii.
The following was a featured story from impreMedia’s The Future is Now, a special series on the 2010 census. For this and more featured stories visit:

May 312011

A recent Census discovery made some internet buzz a few weeks ago. An article in the Patriot News of central Pennsylvania reported that the Hispanic population of Lancaster County has surpassed that of the Amish. The county is traditionally known as “Amish Country” by locals. Statistics from the 2010 Census show that 45,000 Latinos live in Lancaster County compared to 30,000 Amish residents as estimated by Elizabethtown College. This is a 35% increase in the county’s Latino population over the last decade. The ever relevant Latino news picked up the story as well and suggested a reason for the increase in Hispanic populations of this region is related to a tolerance for people with different lifestyles, like the Amish. Amish populations have had a steep tradition of modest, faith-based living for generations and abstain from modern conveniences and materialism.

“Statistics from the 2010 Census show that 45,000 Latinos live in Lancaster County compared to 30,000 Amish residents as estimated by Elizabethtown College.”

The news has inspired me to consider this question: What do the Amish and Latino populations have in common? Here are a couple thoughts to consider and implications of what these can mean for outreach and marketing to Hispanic populations.

In northern Michigan where I grew up, Amish families have held a modest yet growing presence. Many of these families have forged a living in this region with its small towns and agricultural history. On occasion my wife and I will visit my hometown of Marion, Michigan. Over the last few years, she has taken an interest in the Amish lifestyle, customs, and crafts. Being someone who also grew up with modesty, the Amish way of life reminds her of a simpler time from her childhood in the mountains of Puerto Rico. She often recollects her years en el campo with crops, animals, and a respect for the land and hard working people. Seeing the Amish gives her memories of these times and a longing to one day return to them.

Local Grand Rapids, Michigan entrepreneur and artist Oswaldo Garcés, a native of Ecuador, also finds solace in the Amish lifestyle. In 2009, Garcés entered the popularArtPrize competition with a series of paintings called The Amish Campesinos. In his artist statement he relates, “Coming from the highlands of Ecuador, I grew up seeing the simple but rich lives of farmers. I see a similar connection to this reality in the Amish lifestyle. The process of creating this work has furthered my understanding of these different cultures and their well rooted beliefs that are the foundation for their quality of life.”

I believe there is a connection between Latin American populations in the U.S., especially immigrants, and the Amish inspred “simple life” many feel they have left behind. These individuals are nostalgic not only for their cultures and nationalities, but for a lifestyle of less complexity. I sometimes ask people what they feel is one of the most challenging elements of acculturating to the U.S. Many have related it can be difficult getting used to what they perceive as a faster paced and sometimes more stressful lifestyle.

“I sometimes ask people what they feel is one of the most challenging elements of acculturating to the U.S. Many have related it can be difficult getting used to what they perceive as a faster paced and sometimes more stressful lifestyle.”

As marketers, we look for culturally relevant insights that deliver value. Many of these insights relate to the nationalities, customs, and attitudes of Latino populations. In addition, I would like to add lifestyle. What can we learn from the modest lifestyle of the Amish and how can we relate this to what Hispanic populations value? How does this longing for a simpler lifestyle motive Latinos in their purchasing habits and consumer behavior? Can these insights challenge a company or organization’s brand equity among Latin American stakeholders?

The featured guest post was written by the talented Jonathan Barrera Mikulich of

May 262011

Sustainability has become a popular buzzword in business these days. It now seems that every major corporation releases an annual sustainability report to their stakeholders or participates in “green” initiatives. In addition, many in the design and innovation industry have embraced sustainability as significant part of their work. The impact of sustainable business practices in West Michigan came to my attention a few years ago when, as part of a class in my MBA studies, I had the opportunity to tour a Grand Rapids, Michigan manufacturer. The company is considered a local leader in environmental practices, touts a legacy of recycling and other sustainable systems, and produces environmentally friendly products for customers.

This experience inspired me to consider how Hispanic populations view sustainability. Are there Latino leaders within the sustainability movement? How have issues about the environment impacted Hispanics? Is there a correlation between “being Latino” and “being green”?

In her new book, Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them, author and entrepreneur Graciela Tiscareño-Sato looks to answer some of these questions. Although I haven’t had the chance to read it yet (on my summer list), initial feedback and reviews appear to be positive. The book examines ten innovators within the sustainability movement who also happen to be Latino. Tiscareño-Sato claims that Latinos have a “historical and cultural bias to conserve and reuse resources” and hopes to show how “Latinos are applying their hard work, talent, education, innovative thinking, culturally-engrained environmental advocacy, and creative spirit to improve America”. Latinnovating looks like a positive step in connecting Hispanics and sustainability. I hope to write a book review post in the near future.

Last month, a blog post at claimed that “Latinos are green by nature”, especially those individuals that are immigrants and maintain connections to their nationalities of origin. The author explained that living in a county like Mexico, one is typically raised in a traditional living environment that includes home remedies, cooking with fresh ingredients, and a respect for nature. Being green, according to the author, “is not a trend, a fad or a ‘buzz word’, for us it is a way of life”.

Again, I am reminded of the class tour I mentioned. A representative of the manufacturer proudly showcased one of their most popular products. It was a rain barrel for home owners to collect storm water to re-use for irrigation. I instantly recalled a story my wife told about her modest upbringing in Puerto Rico. As a little girl growing up in the mountains, her father would often toss a barrel on top of the roof or under a drain pipe to collect rain water. He did this our necessity. Even though his family had running water, conservation was key with limited resources on the island. The collected water was used for a variety of needs such as watering vegetables that would eventually become food on the table. Many families also invested in solar panels that were connected to their water sources to have warm water in their homes.

What should marketers be paying attention to with these insights? Dr. Felipe Korzenny, director of the Center for Hispanic Marketing at Florida State University, recently reported on a multi-cultural marketing study by the college that indicated Latinos and other minorities have a deeper concern about the environment compared to non-Latino Whites. He recommends that “products and messages directed to Latinos and other minorities are likely to have stronger resonance if they address how a company is doing something for the environment, and that their products are green”. Similar to my wife’s story, Dr. Korzenny also recalls growing up with frugality in his native Mexico and hypothesizes that individuals who have experienced the negative effects of environmental neglect may have a stronger propensity toward sustainability.

Getting back to my story about the class tour, eventually we engaged in a discussion about how we in the U.S. can use sustainable methods to assist other nations around the world. The thought was those of us with means should be leaders for those that live in countries where weak infrastructures and economies inhibit sustainable living. It was a noble thought. However, I mentioned we should also consider these relationships as learning experiences as much as philanthropy. What can we learn from other individuals like my father-in-law about “living green”? Here in the U.S., we shouldn’t assume that we are the unequaled leaders of sustainable practice. Yes, we certainly have the resources, but there are definitely others around the world, especially in Latin America, that have been “living la vida verde” for quite some time.

May 232011

The 2010 Latina Shopper Study
The only in-depth segmentation of Latina women in the U.S. based on shopping behavior and acculturation level.

May 24, 2011
1-2pm EST

Co-presented by
Jackie Bird, CEO of Redbean Society
David Morse, CEO of New American Dimensions

To Register Visit:

May 192011

José and Gloria Pérez moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1965. The young couple went north seeking adventure when José was transferred from McAllen, Texas to work as a mechanic at an aircraft repair shop in Tulsa. The change was sudden, but after spending more than 45 years in Tulsa, the Pérez family became a true treasure for their community.

“When we arrived in Tulsa, there were no more than 20 Hispanic families in the city, and racism was very tough. I remember that we ‘Mexicans,’ as they called us, suffered ugly discrimination,” said José Pérez, who is now retired.

“I remember that they had areas for ‘Mexicans’ in the restaurants, we could not drink water from the same fountains as the Anglos and Hispanic children were seated separately from other students,” he added.

During his almost five decades in Tulsa, José has had many experiences and seen up close the development of the city’s Hispanic community. Since they arrived in Tulsa, the Pérezes have helped their community through their church, all while bringing up their five children.

José said that many Hispanics began immigrating to Tulsa when the city started growing during the 1970s and workers were needed for new construction. It was during this time that the Pérezes decided to become more involved in community activities.

“The people who were coming, most of them from Mexico, did not have anywhere to turn to for help, and they were the victims of many injustices. Some times people did not pay them for their work, did not want to treat them in hospitals, treated them very badly when they were in jail, and at times they didn’t even have a place to live,” said Gloria.

“With the support of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church here in Tulsa, we went to hospitals to interpret for people; visited jails to help those under arrest; and offered services to families who were struggling because they didn’t have clothes, food and housing,” she said.

The Pérezes have not stopped helping their community throughout their 55 years of married life. In 1982, José founded the city’s first community club, Tulsa Hispanic Lions Club, which is an association with 15 Hispanic members that organizes fundraising events to benefit low-income families.

“Tulsa’s immigrants need help because there is still much injustice. But today, our community also fills us with pride because it is increasingly stronger and has been earning an important place with hard work,” concluded José.

The above is from impreMedia’s ground breaking series, “The Future is Now/El futuro es ahora”.  Every week we will visit a different state and explore the lives of Latinos and the impact they are having.  This week we went to Oklahoma.  It was written by  Gustavo Rangel/ Rumbo.