latino lingo

All things related to effective Hispanic marketing, Hispanic advertising and Hispanic public relations.

Monday, July 24, 2006

¿Como se dice "Recycling" en Español?

The city of Irving (Texas) is pushing a recycling program aimed at increase participation among the immigrant Hispanics, according to an article in the Dallas Morning News.

It's an interesting article in that the city has clearly understood that culture is a critical factor in getting their message, and better yet to generating action, to their Hispanic population. They are not solely focusing on language as the key barrier and thus not relying on translations.

Another smart move is that rather than going at it alone, the city has formed a community coalition to get the word out to the people. Alan Watts, recycling outreach coordinator for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, says in the article, "The city of Irving has a tremendous amount of insight by attempting to reach the customers -- not only through the language barrier, but also by involving community groups."

The community coalition's tactics include building a team of bilingual and Spanish-speaking trainers to teach the importance of recycling, and in the future hosting community picnics, block parties, church meetings and educational workshops to promote recycling.

Seems like they are on the path to success.

The notion of culture as a barrier is one those of you who regularly read me will recognize. In environmental areas like recycling, energy conservation and energy efficiency culture is critically important as most immigrant groups come from countries that are not as far along with these matters as here in the states. We also don't have an Al Gore equivalentant scaring us that the polar ice caps are melting or blaming every weather phenomenon on global warming.

With energy prices continuing to go sky high, it is imperative that waste departments, electrical companies, natural gas companies, and other utilities engage Latinos is a culturally-relevant manner. In areas where Latinos make up at least 15% of the overall population, this has to be part of the overall solution to lowering costs for everyone.

But, you don't do this by translating your general market educational and marketing materials to Spanish or by including a translated bill stuffer every month. Marketing in this passive manner will only translate into assured failure. If you have questions on how to do it right, go to Irving.

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