United by Spanish, with shared experiences, and cultural commonalities, U.S. Hispanics bring their own unique cultural values into America. The features that unite and define their hearts and minds can function as powerful enablers to creating evocative engagement with them.
How these features intertwine and help shape the U.S. Hispanic experience (and evolve with acculturation) is a key starting place for marketers.
Seventy-two percent of Latinos speak Spanish at home – led by those from Central America at 87%. With language playing such a prominent role at home, it demonstrates that it’s not only their ancestral language, but a distinct part of their present-day heritage.
These numbers underscore the importance of language to maintain culture and connections with family. 75% of Hispanics believe that speaking Spanish to children “help(s) preserve Hispanic culture”. This mindset will help keep the language alive, even as the population continues to acculturate.
Given Spanish’s continued importance for U.S. Hispanics, it remains an important technical decision for marketers. Do you advertise in Spanish or English? We equip brands to make these difficult calls through our Language Decision Framework and Adaptive Language Strategies series.
The U.S. Hispanic population that’s united by language and usually linked to Latin America through immigration, share six cornerstone cultural values.
Most shared cultural values fall under a “collectivist” umbrella. These values often hinge on interdependence rather than independence and expand beyond the individual to include the community and the extended family.
- Family: Hispanics have strong ties not only to immediate family, but also to the extended/multi-generational family.
- Religion/Spirituality: Largely based on the ritualism of the Catholic church mixed with the spiritual characteristics of indigenous cultures.
- Optimism: Latinos are generally more optimistic than their non-Hispanic White counterparts.
- Respeto: Many interpersonal relationships are governed by “respeto”: the suitable, deferential behavior to others based on age, gender, social position, title, economic status, etc.
- Simpatía: Hispanics generally behave in order to avoid conflict and foster positive, harmonious interpersonal relationships.
- Heritage/Tradition: U.S Latinos across all acculturation levels believe in the importance of keeping both their cultural heritage and their language. This manifests itself in the passion points including holidays, music, dance, food, language, etc.
Bicultural U.S. Hispanics are the living, breathing manifestation of the combination of the collectivist Hispanic values and the independent American beliefs. In some ways, bicultural Hispanics represent the best of both worlds.
Cultural influence & crossover
Though always homogeneous, the exponential growth of the U.S. multicultural population has unleashed an unprecedented cultural transfer onto American culture. To better understand this influence, we identified three factors that make up cultural identity:
- Cultural evangelism: Outward-facing cultural pride
- Ethnocentricity: Openness to other cultures
- Cultural openness: Attachment to home culture, and to some extent, isolation from others
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