The Power of Business en Espanol: 7 Fundamental Keys to Unlocking the Potential of the Spanish-Language Hispanic Market


In The Power of Business en Español, Cancela, one of the most well-respected business experts in the Spanish-speaking world, provides readers with a guide to the exciting—yet often confusing—Spanish-language market. From how to deal with the many Spanish accents and colloquialisms to learning where the Spanish-dominant consumer really lives and spends money, The Power of Business en Español is a book that will demystify Spanish-dominant consumers for non-Spanish speakers.


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Power of Business, en Espanol: 7 Fundamental Keys to Unlocking the Potential of the Spanish-Language Hispanic Market

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In The Power of Business en Español, Cancela, one of the most well-respected business experts in the Spanish-speaking world, provides readers with a guide to the exciting—yet often confusing—Spanish-language market. From how to deal with the many Spanish accents and colloquialisms to learning where the Spanish-dominant consumer really lives and spends money, The Power of Business en Español is a book that will demystify Spanish-dominant consumers for non-Spanish speakers.

Broken down into seven easy chapters that include specific examples of real companies that have been successful (or unsuccessful) in their marketing techniques for this demographic, this handbook gives you the tools to build your business and reach out to this rapidly expanding market. Giving readers simple keys to understanding the people, the culture, and the language that unites this growing segment of the population, The Power of Business en Español is a road map for anyone who wants to prepare their business for the language hurdles of the twenty-first century or simply wants to learn more about their new neighbors.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Cancela (Hispanic USA, Inc.), now a marketing consultant, is authoring his first book after a 25-year career in Hispanic media. He provides a compelling argument that Hispanics are the source of many business opportunities in years to come. For example, in 1992 Hispanic businesses represented a $77 billion market. In 2007, it is projected to be $300 billion-and growing. Cancela's book is aimed at non-Hispanics and makes the assumption that they have no idea that this is a market worth studying. He offers ample statistical evidence to demonstrate that the opportunity is real. The author walks us through factors such as geographic dispersion, love of country, voting patterns, family values, language, culture, and buying power. He also provides information on the nuances of dialects; on this subject, although he is easy to understand, one comes away sensing that marketing to Hispanic populations is complex enough to make working with a specialist advisable. The book is a good overview not only regarding marketing opportunities but also for the insights it affords demographers and sociologists observing significant shifts in our society. Therefore, it would be a good choice for business school libraries and larger general circulation libraries.
—Stephen Turner

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061234996
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/13/2007
  • Language: Spanish
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,421,633
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

José Cancela has direct in-market experience in the top fifty Hispanic markets, and throughout his twenty-five-plus-year Hispanic media career has worked with companies like P&G, Toyota, Verizon, Kellogg's, Pepsi, and countless other major U.S. advertisers in their outreach to the Hispanic community. Today he heads Hispanic USA Inc., a full-service Hispanic marketing consulting firm whose client roster includes ING, Group 1 Auto, ABC Radio en Español, ESPN Deportes Radio, and U. S. Century Bank. He lives in Miami, Florida.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

We All Use the Same Dictionary

They don't make a different Friends for Boston and Alabama, another for Texas and yet another for Seattle. They don't have to. The viewers in Atlanta may speak with a different drawl than the viewers in Brooklyn, but they all understand the same English.

The same is true in Spanish. We all use the same dictionary.

English-language television tends to use a very vanilla, middle-of-the-road, could-be-from-anywhere way of talking.

Take a look at some talk shows, for example. Ever listen carefully to the late Johnny Carson? He was from Iowa. Dave Letterman is from Indiana. Jay Leno is from New York. They each have their own style. But their accents are practically indistinguishable. You don't hear Leno saying, "Fuggedaboutit!"

Unless it's part of a joke.

Look at the network news. They didn't substitute Tom Brokaw with someone from Kentucky for a reason. Not that we have anything against people from Kentucky, but that sweet bluegrass drawl just doesn't play well across the country. Peter Jennings was from Canada, but it was impossible to tell from his accent.

The English-language networks want to use a language everyone is comfortable with. They know you need to create a comfort level because you want the most acceptance from the most people.

And it's not just the accent. You don't hear a lot of regional slang on English-language TV. Jeff Foxworthy might say, "That dog don't hunt," but you won't hear it from a lot of other people. Everybody on TV pretty much uses the same English. And everybody watching at home understands.

Spanish works the same way.

Thenetworks use a fairly standard Spanish whether a show is produced in Mexico, Venezuela, L.A., or Miami. And everyone understands.

Oh, we might hear the lilt that differentiates a Mexican accent from a Cuban one, or note the way a Puerto Rican pronounces her R's. And, because so many shows are set in Mexico and the directors want to give them a realistic sense of place, they might use typically Mexican expressions in them. But generally, the networks know their shows have to play to a diverse cross section (and, with most of the shows, in many different Spanish-speaking countries), so they stick with middle-of-the-road Spanish.

The newscasts use it. Smart advertisers use it.

Walter Cronkite Spanish

More often than not, when people start talking about what it takes to create a marketing campaign targeting U.S. Latinos, one of the first things they say is, "Well, you know, when you're dealing with the West Coast and the East Coast, you have to use different dialects."

They're wrong. The commonly held belief that we have to speak different forms of Spanish to communicate with Hispanics in different parts of the U.S.A. is just not true. It's a myth—it's people making things harder than they have to be.

Worrying about accents becomes a barrier for folks. How will they pick the right one for the right place? How many different ones will they have to worry about?

They start seeing all kinds of financial implications. All of a sudden, they see themselves having to produce not one TV spot, but two, three . . . dozens. And then, "Oh my God! How much money will that cost? Oh, no, no, no." And they start multiplying in their heads, and . . .

The next thing you know, they're already convincing themselves that marketing in Spanish is not a good idea because this is just going to be too expensive. If they can't reach Latinos in English, they just won't bother. Forget how massive the Spanish-speaking Hispanic market is. Forget how underserved and untapped it is. Forget how lucrative it is. All they can think is, "It can't be worth it. It's just too difficult. I don't know what return on the investment I'm going to have."

The good news is, the folks who think that they have to use "dialects" won't be your competition. They build their own barrier. While they stay where they are, you get to dive in. And, as you pass them on your way to the bank, you'll hear them saying, "It can't be worth it. It's just too difficult."

There are different accents, not dialects, but you don't have to use them. They're a minefield. And there's no reason to force yourself to tiptoe through a minefield when you don't have to. Going around it is better. It's easier, faster, and there's a much smaller risk of things blowing up in your face.

The truth is, we all work out of the same dictionary. We share a common language understood by Latinos in Dallas, L.A., New York, and Miami. We call it: "Walter Cronkite Spanish." It's a neutral Spanish that doesn't use regional slang terms or uncommon idiomatic expressions. In "Walter Cronkite Spanish" a bus is an autobús, not a gua-gua, as a Cuban might call it.

Turn on Your Radio

Radio is no different, in any language.

For years, one of the most popular Spanish-language morning radio programs in L.A.—where 63.5 percent of the Latinos are of Mexican descent—has been hosted by El Cucuy de la Mañana, Renán Almendárez Coello. Yet chances are that a good chunk of his faithful listeners don't know he's from Honduras. And if they do, they don't care. It doesn't matter. His listeners don't have to learn "Honduran." He talks. They get it.

So, if these mega-money-making machines—the television and radio networks—use the same Spanish to communicate with their millions upon millions of viewers and listeners, why would you do it any differently?

There are some pretty smart people running those businesses. They've spent a lot of time thinking about how to attract and reach an audience. The best way, they've decided, is by sticking with a common Spanish, a "Walter Cronkite Spanish." They know it works. Their ratings prove it day after day and night after night.

The Power of Business en Espanol
7 Fundamental Keys to Unlocking the Potential of the Spanish-Language Hispanic Market
. Copyright © by Jose Cancela. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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