Submitted by: Poza Consulting
Categories: Human Resources & Diversity
Posted: Jan 09, 2006 – 11:00 PM EST
Jan. 09 /CSRwire/ -
your breath waiting for immigrants to assimilate," says Dr. Ines Poza,
founder of Poza Consulting Services, when talking with clients
interested in targeting Latinos. "It would be like waiting for the
Pony Express -- it's gone with the last century."
According to Poza, it's no longer about a new culture needing to
assimilate to an existing culture. It's about recognizing change in
the whole, what Poza refers to as the emergence of The New
Mainstream. Failure to keep current with these new realities directly
impacts businesses' ability to compete, stay profitable and, ultimately,
remain a going concern.
Poza contends that while assimilation may have explained how
immigrants in the first half of the last century became part of the
larger social fabric it does not explain what's happening today.
During that time there were enormous social and economic pressures
to adapt to and adopt a "mainstream" identity. Archival photographs
show businesses that posted signs like "Irish or Italians need not
apply." In the early 1960s, when corporal punishment was still allowed
in schools, Hispanic children were routinely spanked for speaking
Spanish on campus. In this post-Civil Rights era, however,
discrimination is no longer in a legally enforced form or socially
accepted to the degree that it was to compel people to shed or hide
"But we're still invested in this outdated theory of 'assimilation' --
this idea that immigrants change in order to merge with the mainstream,'"
As for the changes in diet, shopping habits and personal style
that Latinos experience after living in the United States for a period
of time, Poza contends this is not a result of assimilation. "It's the
result of being in a richer consumer environment," she says.
"The average Latino immigrant comes as an economic refugee," Poza
explains. "What I hear time and again from Spanish-language-dominant
consumers is in the United States they not only finally earn enough to
have disposable income, they also find far wider choices in styles and
merchandise and at prices within reach.
"Mistaking a Latino consumer's change in behavior as being
'assimilation' or, worse yet, 'aspirational,' in a move to become more
American would be like saying our love of sushi or yoga in the United
States means Americans are assimilating to Asian and Indian cultures,"
Poza states. Although there has been a radical shift in the U.S.
palate for food and fitness during the last 50 years, no one would
consider classifying these changes as assimilation.
Poza credits the post-Civil Rights era and a social climate that
celebrates rebels, youth culture, new experiences and change as
impetus for a richer, more diverse consumer playground. "We now are
legally and socially allowed and encouraged to sample from other
cultures," Poza says.
Business, marketing and advertising models of consumers have not
kept pace though. "We still cling to this archaic model of 'general
market' and niche markets when this does not capture what's happening
in real time," Poza believes. "The New Mainstream is about
acknowledging that different cultures form the whole, and they are
meeting and impacting and enriching each other."
Poza focuses on understanding The New Mainstream and bringing it
to life for clients. To do this, her team goes to places where people
work and play, asking questions on issues of the day, and how people
view society and their fit into that society.
According to Poza, this is where the real insights come from and
is the core of identifying actual market segments and developing
relevant strategy that will succeed. Poza adds, "Understanding the
concept of The New Mainstream and bringing that front and center in
developing communications in any language is a must. Because sooner
than we realize, that is what will determine market leaders."
Founded by Poza, Santa Monica-based Poza Consulting Services (PCS)
provides market research and strategic planning and communications
services with an eye on The New Mainstream. The work of PCS impacts
the creative direction for television shows, product development and
customer service systems, and the advertising execution on products
ranging from automobiles to snack foods.
Copyright Business Wire 2006
For more information, please contact: