Meet Our Team: Anita, Hispanic Diversity Advocate
Welcome to Captura Group’s “Meet Our Team” series, a chance for us to profile a member of our team and give you a glimpse into the minds and backgrounds of the people that make Captura Group thrive.
According to 2013 U.S. Census data, Hispanics represent approximately 17% of the total population, making them the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. This rapid growth has more brands recognizing the need for a Hispanic-focused marketing strategy, but we’ve seen pitfalls time and time again from the “one size fits all” approach. Diversity among Hispanics is often overlooked and rarely capitalized upon, something our first Captura Group profile subject is passionate about changing.
Born of a U.S. American father and an Ecuadorian mother, our enthusiastic and diligent account manager, Anita Handson, relishes her diverse background. Because she grew up in a bicultural environment, Anita is able to draw upon her own experiences to connect with the audience she serves.
Tell us about life as a kid in a bicultural home.
My life has always been culturally rich and a learning experience into cultural assimilation and acceptance. My dad was in the military, so I lived in three countries until age 9, when we moved to San Diego for good. Being raised in different countries by an Ecuadorian mother was fun. Everything from her bedtime stories (“La Cucarachita Mandinga”), to her music (Luis Miguel and Shakira – before she was blond!), added to my most cherished memories. My first language was Spanish, though English became my predominant language after I started school.
What was your experience with other Hispanics here in San Diego?
There is something quite comedic in cultural dissonance, especially amongst your fellow Hispanics. But one universal thing is that Latinos love to share themselves – their food and culture. So being Ecuadorian surrounded by Mexicans and other Latinos in San Diego has been a learning experience. Now I embrace different Hispanic cultures and even adopt them into my daily life. #LatinosUnidos
How did your Latina background shape your career direction?
After graduating college, I knew I wanted to be a part of digital advertising’s growth. I also found that like me, many U.S. Latinos were experiencing cultural dissonance with the media around them. I noticed that the few times the media did reach out to Hispanics, it was either a direct (often poor) translation from the general market communication, or they spoke to us as if we were all of the same culture. As a marketer, I wanted to close this gap and provide just as much great content as found in the general market, with messaging that recognized and celebrated Hispanic diversity.
Now, at Captura Group, you do just that.
Exactly! Today’s Latinos are a lot like me and my colleagues at Captura Group. My working peers consist of Mexicans, Venezuelans, Nicaragüenses, and more. Of course if you’re a great marketer you can immerse yourself and essentially “become” your audience, but I’ve found that we are better able to create authentic experiences because in many cases our team is the audience.
Has your bicultural background been useful in your work at Captura Group?
Yes – one example surrounding language sticks out in my mind. Recently, our team was developing an idea around the many ways to eat ceviche to present to a client. In Mexico and most of the U.S., ceviche is eaten over a tostada or with tortilla chips, but in Ecuador it is common to eat your ceviche with cangil (popcorn). If we encouraged our audience to make ceviche paired with popcorn al Estilo Ecuatoriana, my background would help drive the Spanish we use. If we used the term palomitas (common in Mexican Spanish) for an Ecuadorian ceviche instead of cangil, we would create an inauthentic experience that could easily be called out as a misunderstanding of culture. By listening to our audience as well as using our own experiences, we prove our authenticity.
What do marketers need to know when reaching out to the Hispanic audience?
The Hispanic consumer is extremely diverse. We have some cultural differences, but we all want to have our voice heard and celebrated. We don’t like brands to pretend like they know us; rather, we’d like you to take interest in us, learn from us, and give us authentic experiences. If you successfully earn our trust, you achieve every marketer’s ultimate goal: a loyal customer.