The power of the brand! A strong brand draws people. A strong brand allows people to trust you much more quickly than a weak or nonexistent brand.
Tres Preguntas (Three Questions.)
1. What do I mean by your brand?
2. What do I mean when I talk about properly branding your company to the Hispanic community?
3. How do you properly brand your company to the Hispanic community?
When you apply the answers to these three questions you can have good people waiting in line to work for you, recruit members more easily, and most certainly, make a lot of money selling products and services to Latinos.
Question No. 1
What is a brand?
Going back to the Old West, you can picture the cattlemen branding their cattle so they could always identify which animals belonged to them.
This is the origin of the term brand. In today's world, a brand allows you as a businessperson to identify which clients are yours. More important, when a client is properly branded by you, they will identify themselves with you. A brand is not a logo or a logotype or a trademark. A logo is a word or a few words manipulated by a graphic artist who hopefully understands how to work with typography. (By the way, most don't.) A trademark is the graphic that many times accompanies a logo, like the Nike Swoosh. That trademark is so strong they don't even need the logo anymore.
A brand is not something you see, it is something you feel. It is, as Marty Neumier, says in his excellent book The Brand Gap, a gut feeling. Your brand is what people feel about you. A strong brand is what people feel about you and your company in their heart and in their gut. A strong brand elicits immediate trust and goodwill. A weak brand makes people think, "Mmm, maybe I should check out some other companies, or maybe it would be better to work for XYZ Co. than your company.
Companies with strong brands do not have to worry about their clients; they worry about how to provide their clients with better products, services and systems. Weak companies with weak brands are constantly looking for new clients and constantly looking for people who want to work with them. It's called turnover.
Question No. 2
What do I mean when I talk about properly branding your company to the Hispanic community?
When you are properly branded to the Hispanic community, you don't have turnover. In fact, you will always have the best workers and, very important these days, the best documented workers. Again, branding is how people feel about you; it is an emotion. Coca-Cola's market cap, for example, presently is $120 billion. Of this value, $70 billion is attributed to the value of the brand, only $50 billion to the actual company products, services and systems.
How much is your brand worth to the Hispanic community? You want people to hear your company name and say, "What I would give to work there, or, if I buy products, I am going to buy them there. I trust them, what a great company.
Question No. 3
How do I properly brand my company to the Hispanic community?
This is the meat and potatoes question. Again, branding is all about trust. It produces a feeling in the soul that says, I can trust this company. It makes people think, "I feel good purchasing here (in person, on the web, on the phone) and I know I don't need to check around. I can go to work for them with confidence.
The million dollar question is, "How do you get the Latino person to trust you, to see you and your company and immediately feel this sense of security and trust" The answer is simple, always keep your word. Never tell a Latino something and then go back and tell him or her you're sorry but it just didn't work out. For the most part, Latinos are fairly skeptical and non-trusting people. Information travels very quickly in the Latino society so do things right the first time. The Latino culture is very viral. Also, you must show a sincere and genuine interest in our people and culture.
I have in front of me several pieces of literature and handbooks that are handed out to Hispanic employees. They are literal translations from English to Spanish. This is not good branding. There are no visuals and the ones that are used are exactly the same as in the English manuals. To make matters worse, I also found several misspellings. This is probably due to having someone in the shop, or a friend, who is "bilingual", but not a professional translator. This is poor branding and produces the gut feeling that the Latino person may be a necessity in your company, but he or she is not a valued person or client.
You must make adjustments. The Latino culture is different, the people are different, and there is a different way of thinking about information and life in general. Your marketing and branding initiatives should reflect cultural relevance and understanding.
In a nutshell, yes, logos, trademarks, color schemes, company T-shirts and all this good stuff can help with branding, but these things are not the brand. Perhaps they support the brand, but they are not the brand. The brand is the feeling of trust and confidence people feel when they hear the name of your company mentioned. This goes for people who work for you and for your clients. Without either group of people, you and I are out of business! If you don't do it, then your company will always be worth less than half of what you think it's worth when you look at your financial reports.
Just take a look at that branding giant, Coca-Cola. In this case, it really is the real thing!
Ricardo Gonzalez is an expert on Language and Cultural Leadership. He is the Founder of Bilingual America and publisher of The Gonzalez Report. He can be reached at 888.850.1555 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at either the Bilingual America Website or at The Gonzalez Report.