Understanding the power of diversity

By Aura María Hernández M.

Considering the globalization we are facing today, the proximity among continents as a result of technology and the changing of the racial makeup in the entire world, improving our capacity to relate, understand and work effectively across cultures can dramatically affect our lives.

Understanding cultural intelligence as the  capability to relate and work effectively across cultures, (CQ), defined by  the psychologist Daniel Goleman as the propensity to suspend judgment—to think before acting- develop and improve our IQ can  be an enormous social advantage in this culturally diverse new world.

Talking about businesses and corporations, is today more urgent than ever that they adapt the ways to reach their customers,  not only translating their message but adapting new strategies based on  cultural backgrounds -values, habits, way of thinking, to create a honest and long lasting relationship with their clients.

Indeed, the importance of culture has been highlighted  by the new technologies that allow marketers to reach consumers across country boundaries, and  corporations here in the United States are more aware of the importance of multicultural consumers and their growing purchasing power, but there is still much to do to understand the great value of culture and diversity.

Let’s start learning from the beginning the real meaning of the important words, even there are as many definitions of these terms as there are experts, analysts, intellectuals and new marketing tendencies.


” In anthropology and in sociology, “ethnic group” is used to designate a culturally distinctive, autonomous group, but in the U.S. the more general application is to identify a distinct segment of the population also sharing common cultural features and social institutions as a group”.  (Pimentel)

Ethnicity is a socially defined category of people who identify with each other based on a shared social experience or ancestry. It is a method of classification based upon a common trait of the population, such as a common heritage, a common culture, a shared language or dialect.


Culture is the set of beliefs, customs, habits, practices or values of a specific social group. It is part of the identity of each person: builds us up as human beings as we are acquiring new habits, new customs, behaviors, etc. Culture consists of patterns of cultivated behavior acquired and transmitted generation through generation.
It is something that is constantly changing as social groups evolves over time. Some factors that can explain why cultures change are social conflicts, development of new technologies, and also the environment.


The term defines a community composed of diverse cultures. It assumes the existence of several cultures in a nation or a geographic environment and aims to promote equality and respect for diversity within such cultures.

Multicultural Marketing

Nowadays multicultural marketing refers to the set of strategies and tactics combined to drive multicultural consumers to embrace an specific brand. Usually, and according to studies, consumers prefer to connect with brands that invest time in learning about their cultural characteristics and values.


Refers to the exchange or interaction of two or more cultures through dialogue, habits, customs or other practices. With the development of new technologies such as social networks, we can communicate with other people from other parts of the world and thus dialogue and exchange different perspectives of culture. Interculturality also occurs in immigration. When other people arrive in another country, there is a lot of interaction.


It can happen when two or more different cultures or countries are dealing with or offering comparison between them. When any or various forms of interactivity between members of disparate cultural groups occur.


It is a diffusion process involving, encompassing, or extending across two or more cultures. There is some kind of influence of the culture of a society when coming into contact with another.


Refers to an individualizing characteristic, quality, habit, mannerism, or the like, that is peculiar to an individual belonging to a specific community.

Multicultural marketing

happens when factors such as family, friends, heritage or environment combine to influence, relationships, backgrounds, and situations that define an individual’s behaviors, preferences, and decisions of purchase.


Cultural Campaign Adaptation and transcreation

Adaptation and transcreation is better than Campaign Translation

The language we speak influences the way we think
Multicultural image source: Flickr – Tom Hilton
By Diana Leal

Business and Corporations are increasingly turning their attention toward the Hispanic market but they are often unclear on how to approach this heterogeneous market from a deeper cultural perspective.

Businesses tend to address a segmented market primarily on the basis of language–translating the campaigns designed to reach the mainstream population or relying on English to reach English, speaking Hispanics.

Yet according to an analysis by the consulting firm Focalyst, campaigns aimed at the general market may not resonate with English speaking Hispanics, and possibly campaigns translated to Spanish are not effective with non-English speaking Hispanics because of the nuances particular to language.

After collecting data from many countries around the world, Lera Boroditsky and a group of researchers from the psychology, neuroscientist, and symbolic systems departments at Stanford University, reopened the debate of how language shapes the way people think. This idea was considered wrong until recently.

In Dispatches on the Future of Science, Boroditsky writes that “…even basic perceptions of time can be affected by language. English speakers talk about duration in terms of length (e.g.: “That was a short talk” or “The meeting didn’t take long”), while Spanish and Greek speakers prefer to talk about time in terms of amount, relying more on words like “much,” “big,” and, “little” rather than “short” and “long”.

In another case study, the researchers asked German and Spanish speakers to describe objects that have opposing-gender assignments respective to their language. They asked them to describe a key — a word that is masculine in German and feminine in Spanish — the German speakers were more likely to use words like “hard,” “heavy,” “jagged,” “metal,” “serrated,” and, “useful,” whereas Spanish speakers were more likely to say “golden,” “intricate,” “little,” “lovely,” “shiny,” and, “tiny.”

“The languages we speak profoundly shape the way we think, the way we see the world, the way we live our lives,” concluded Boroditsky. This is because language is part of a cultural system, and the result of remote, collective, and individual experiences that have to be known in order to produce persuasive and effective messages.