In a recent episode of “Language is Your Superpower” podcast, guest Samí Haiman-Marrero and host Lisa March had a conversation about specializing in the Hispanic market and exploring multicultural marketing strategies. As President and CEO of URBANDER, Samí, along with her team, delivers culturally relevant and inclusive business strategies and programs that positively impact people of diverse backgrounds and language proficiencies. In 2020, they earned the Orlando Business Journal’s Diversity in Business “Helping Hand” Award for their caused-based work and its impact on underrepresented and underserved communities.

While the conversation was deeply rooted in growing a business with language and cultural proficiency, they pointed out that organizations which are culturally aware and exposed to diverse communities are better able to engage with their stakeholders more authentically. With regard to consumers, they shared three indicators to consider when determining whether your favorite companies are building bridges through the power of language and culture:

They know the demographic profile of the people where they live, work, and play

As the number of consumers of products, services, and multicultural experiences continues to grow, it is important to know that they have power in numbers and buying power. For example, according to the Center for American Progress, in 2018 the Latino segment of the U.S. consumer market reached over $1.6 trillion in buying power, Hispanics accounted for 50% of the net overall growth of new homeowners (2010 – 2020) and “about 50% of all racial and ethnic students want to start their business” (p. 2). With the upcoming U.S. majority-minority demographic shift, it is important to know the demographic profile of where you live, work, and play. Resources such as provide current data about the demographic make-up of states, counties, cities, etc.

You may be asking, “Why is this important?” As the demographics shift, keep an eye out for companies that are making a concerted effort to understand, engage with, and support communities that are diverse, underrepresented, and underserved. It is their social responsibility to support the very communities they are in and the diverse consumers that support their businesses.

They speak to the community in their preferred language

Are companies speaking to you in your preferred language? Granted, we all understand that English is the primary language used in the U.S. However, according to the World Economic Forum, in addition to English, the most common languages spoken in the world are Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Arabic, and French. For native speakers or individuals that are more comfortable speaking, reading, writing, or just communicating in these other languages, how well are companies engaging with them as consumers? Tell-tale signs of a company that is trying to reach out to diverse communities may entail language translation options on their website, signage or print material in dual languages, bilingual/multilingual team members within their organization, and more.

They look for multicultural talent

A company’s leadership and team should be reflective of the very communities they do business in and serve. Unfortunately, language diversity is often an area that is overlooked or not even considered. Are companies seeking to recruit multicultural and multilingual talent to join their leadership and teams? Having qualified people within organizations that not only look like, sound like, and culturally understand consumer needs, norms, and desires will go a long way. Multicultural team members can leverage their language proficiency by mapping it back to their roles, responsibilities, and the tasks that they hope to accomplish within the workplace.

Building bridges through the power of culture and language involves knowing the demographic make-up of your community, speaking the languages they prefer, and securing multicultural talent within the community and beyond. It is then that organizations can become more culturally aware and linguistically proficient as they engage with their consumers and stakeholders more effectively and authentically.

LTI offers language proficiency testing that can help boost your career as the demands of an increasingly diverse marketplace will surely require your linguistic skills. It will also better equip you to assess the intentions of companies with regards to diversity, equity, and inclusion and provide you with a tool to better serve your community.

To test your language proficiency, check out LTI today! Learn more here.


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