I recently read an interesting presentation written this past February for the Direct Marketing Association by Michael Saray that makes a fascinating assertion: The brains of Latinos are, in general, “wired” differently from those of other ethnic groups such as Anglo-Saxons.
According to Mr. Saray, Hispanics are more right-brained because of their cultural experience and, presumably, their history. This means that Latinos tend to be more emotional, intuitive, creative, “big-picture” and visionary. Left-brained individuals would, in contrast, be more intellectual, sequential, analytical, logical and accuracy-driven.
Although he does not cite sources, this generally echoes other information I seem to remember having read over the years and it certainly jives with personal experience. Having grown up in Mexico City, I know for a fact that Mexicans are far more preoccupied with emotional and creative concerns than with issues such as accuracy and a logical, sequential outlook on things.
For instance, take automobile buying. While the average Anglo or Asian prospective car buyer may give great importance to parameters such as reliability, performance, fuel efficiency, residual value, etc., and may spend countless hours poring over vehicle data and statistics, Hispanics often will choose a vehicle based simply on its aesthetics, features and prestige.
The car brand Hispanics choose is frequently a reflection of their personality and their sense of good taste and elegance. That is why European luxury automobile brands do extraordinarily well in Mexico, whereas their Japanese counterparts are hardly given the time of day.
Another critical cultural facet influenced by this affinity for right-brained activity is the Spanish language. According to Mr. Saray, “The Spanish language has not favored intellect over emotion.” This has very clear implications for an activity like direct marketing, where Spanish cannot and should not be expected to perform the same as English would.
All this brings to mind the old adage: “If you want to speak to your lover, do it in French. If you want to talk business, do it in English. And if you want to talk to God, do it in Spanish.”
Javier Corona is the director of Hispanic marketing for HEILBrice VISIÓNLatina, a leading Hispanic marketing and advertising agency that recently won a prestigious Silver Level Effie Award for Marketing Effectiveness from the American Marketing Association for its Hispanic Beef Marketing Toolkit developed for The Beef Checkoff.