Imagine that you hear positive information about a product, service or organization from your mother, who is well informed and has quite obviously done her homework. Then you hear similar insights from your sister, grandmother, aunt, best friend and church leader. At this point, you are sold or at least inspired to begin your own digging, testing or sampling. In the marketing and communications world this is referred to as “word of mouth” and it’s the pinnacle of success for communicators. Yes, even beyond Facebook likes, retweets and published editorials. There is nothing better than a trusted, informed and culturally appropriate source. This is what Promotoras bring to the table. They are word of mouth messengers and specialized brand ambassadors and in Latino and other ethnic communities word of mouth still reigns supreme.
Generally associated with health care, a Promotora is defined as “a lay Hispanic/Latino community member who receives specialized training to provide basic health education in the community without being a professional health care worker.” According to the US Census Bureau, their contribution to improving the way care is delivered over the past two decades is vital.
However, incorporating the power of a Promotora to effectively engage the Latino community does not have to be limited to health initiatives, they can be a valuable communication vehicle for any brand or campaign looking to engage Latino consumers.
We offer best practices for respectfully engaging Promotoras to advance your campaign.
- Do Your Homework- Promotoras can seem illusive but they are well known in the community, the best way to find them is to start asking around the old fashioned way. Call community organizations, church groups and attend some community events. You will quickly be pointed in the right direction.
- Spanish Only Please- While you may have the best intentions, if you are not a fluent Spanish speaker, it’s best to have the most fluent member of your team conduct the initial outreach.
- Get Out of the Office- More often than not, Promotoras are not virtual, viral or mobile. They rarely use email and prefer face-to-face communications. If you want to talk with them, it will have to be in person.
- Well Intentioned Does Not Equal Free- Do not, whatever you do, take advantage of these powerful and respected members of the community to spread your message simply because you believe its “good for the community.” Most of the time these women are mothers, with full-time jobs who also volunteer a ton of their free time. They deserve to be part of your communications or marketing budget.
- Don’t Mess It Up- You want to ensure you have a solid outreach plan and respectful and culturally competent communication tactics while building these relationships. Their power within the community can go both ways.
LCA has engaged Promotoras in various client campaigns and we’d be happy to talk with you about your needs to successfully reach ethnic communities in a respectful and culturally- competent ways.