Latin America is underrepresented and misrepresented
The second episode of our ‘Culture Shocks’ podcast is about Latin America: underrepresented and misrepresented. Our ‘Culture Shocks’ podcast is designed to share the issues relating to each culture when moving to the UK and what can be done to resolve them. In this week’s episode, our guests are Argentina Rosario, who is Dominican and works as a chef, and Marilyn. She is Venezuelan and works as a pharmacist for a mental health hospital. There are a quarter of a million Latin Americans in the UK, and most live in London. The stats show that many Latin Americans arrived in the UK from the 1990s to the early 2000s.
Journey to the United Kingdom
We need to understand people’s backgrounds and what the culture they are coming from does differently than in the UK. ‘I came to the United Kingdom in 2005 and came as a student. It was a program of culture. When you travel to another country, you want to learn about the culture and the language…’ Argentina says.
Part of experiencing a new culture is embracing the language. ‘The funny thing was I thought I did know how to speak English; however, when I first moved to London, I wanted to go to Trafalgar Square. I realise I didn’t understand anything, and Argentina says it was a bit of a shock.
Marilyn’s journey was a bit different as she went to Spain first. ‘My mother is from Spain, and my dad is from Venezuela; you always have that culture integrated into your system, so I always dreamed of going and travelling to Spain,’ Marilyn says. Marilyn and her husband lived in Spain for ten years before they moved to the UK with their two daughters.
Finding the balance between how you were raised and the UK
Both guests are first generations in the UK and have come here for it will benefit their families and their careers. ‘You do change a lot as you travel or live in another country; you open new horizons and think things differently,’ Argentina explains. Experiencing new cultures and ethnicities allows us to see different viewpoints to reach our own conclusions. Over the years, we have become more connected globally, which has allowed cultures to become integrated and multicultural. Families have become integrated with parents coming from different cultures meaning that children grow up with two different cultures integrated.
‘It’s a shock to people when they find out where we are located. We are South America, the problem is, and it’s a big debate, it’s a continent now,’ Marilyn says. Understanding what language is spoken, it’s just Spanish. In that part of the world, Spain was the dominating influence. As a result of this influence from Spain, many Latin Americans have a friendly demur where they are always smiling, social, and bond with you rather quickly.
That community feel it is essential to Latin Americans. Many of whom have large families and know many people. Argentina explains how it’s due to the weather conditions because we live outside. ‘We go out for a coffee to chat, and we don’t have to go to a coffee house. We sit in the garden with a cup of coffee. The neighbours smell the coffee and come over,’ Argentina says.
Differences between the UK and Latin America
‘I love the organisation here, but sometimes I need to do spontaneous things,’ Marilyn says. In Latin America culture, there is less planning; however, in the UK, events and outings must be pre-booked. Marilyn and Argentina have adapted to the UK culture and pre-book events, even when they return to their home countries.
From a marketer’s point of view, we should understand that Latin Americans need spontaneity. If they haven’t lived in the UK for very long, they won’t be aware that booking is required. If you have events and would like to have Latin Americans attend, it would be important to keep in mind that they might have their day fully planned.
Another important aspect of Latin American culture that differs from the UK is music and dance. This is one aspect that they pass on to their children. ‘During the lockdown, it was a terrible time for many people, and I felt so grateful to have my family around me. We celebrated every birthday, and we danced. It’s not the best thing, but we are able. ‘We live through music,’ Argentina adds.
These insights tell us that music is an integral part of the Latin American community; for television adverts or videos on socials that you create, make sure there is upbeat music that would encourage them to dance around while they are around the house. Imagery that you use for campaigns should be of a family together (no matter the distance), big groups of family members and/or friends, using their garden as an extension of their home, smiling, and enjoying copious amounts of dishes at gatherings. These images are ones that will resonate with the Latin American community.
Latin American representation in the UK
As an agency, we try to ensure that ethnic voices are heard. The lack of representation for Latin Americans living in the UK is subpar. Our goal as an ethnic marketing agency is to correct this.
‘We are lacking representation in the media,’ Argentina says. We ask ourselves now what multicultural marketing strategy can be put together to help Latin Americans retain their culture, adapt to the UK culture, and help be more inclusive.
To learn more about your marketing strategy and create an effective multicultural marketing strategy, contact us today.