INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Gabriela Alcantara-Diaz & Shirley Attia of Semilla

In our “Industry Spotlight Series“, to commemorate National Women’s Equality Day, we are highlighting Gabriela Alcantara-Diaz, Founder and President and Shirley Attia, Chief Creative Officer of Semilla.

We will continue to highlight our great industry executives in this series, asking them key questions about the business.  Enjoy.

We have asked a series of questions and their answers offer the Thought Leadership we need in our Industry.

It’s the midway way point in 2021, do you see business growth ahead for the U.S. Hispanic Market?

Many more marketers are focused on short term transactional gains, while transitioning to more efficient marketing operation models. In reality, growth is driven by specific business categories, with certain businesses benefitting from the opportunity of a lifetime.

The opportunity lies with assembling more diverse, high-level strategic collaborations; using culturally racially accurate MarTech applications; employing a robust segmentation analysis to accurately personify the multicultural experience. Marketers need to leverage the youth-tech boom driven by Hispanics and their inter-generational upwardly mobile households.

With the coronavirus pandemic how has your agency dealt with clients and business; how has Covid19 affected you and your clients; and how have you faired from a business standpoint?

The pandemic actually expanded our client base to reflect more progressive e-commerce marketers with an interest in tapping the digitally savvy Hispanic American consumer. On the other hand, the shadow shooting of past reared its head this year with some clients opting to reduce production costs, while others continue to expand their inhouse teams. Our clients, however, do not cease to show optimism for an imminent new normal, entrusting a ‘business savvy’ agency partner to deliver strategic output with the ability to interpret powerful insights into impactful compelling business ideas.

With the new Administration in Washington, do you see new opportunities for our U.S. Hispanic Market and or our Hispanic Ad Agencies?

We anticipate a rise in pro-multiculturalism, including Hispanic, activity by the new Biden-Harris administration. They lead by example with the most diverse administration in history. Having representation and cultural openness at the top will only expand the need to connect with a more vibrant, dynamic and upwardly mobile multicultural nation. A pro-Hispanic narrative will bring value to our industry’s business growth.

African-Americans have found a favorable reception in Corporate America as a reaction to the events of this past summer.  Do you think Hispanics in some way have been left behind?

The favorable recent reception of African Americans stems from a long-standing stigma. There have been way too many negative incidents involving African  Americans and corporate America has been forced to react. Hispanics, on the other hand, have embraced the cross-cultural dynamic. With the rise of Afro Americano, multi-ethnic-racial Hispanic Americans will continue to enrich the cultural landscape of our nation and create acceptance in Corporate America. Hispanic America is the most ethnically and racially diverse segment with indigenous, Asian, African and European ancestral roots.

For 2021, would you favor moving forward a Multicultural approach or a more focused Hispanic approach?

 We see Hispanic as part of an overall multicultural marketing initiative with its own creative strategic approach. Although, not a standalone, a Hispanic strategy needs to support the brand’s overall business goals. The intersection of the pandemic, marketing operations and DEI/Census2020 are transforming the way companies will manage their brands in the future. The Latino-minority segment is part of an overall multicultural approach, laying the foundation for a new way of doing business.

At this point, after so much debate, do you see Latino culture as strong and vibrant as some years ago and still permeating U.S. culture at large?

The Latino culture is becoming more multi-racial with African American and others influencing their culture, even at a global level. This phenomenon cannot be stronger and more vibrant. Also, the proliferation of more high-ranking Hispanics both in corporate and government will only help elevate the market’s influence.

Do you see value in the existing industry organizations working together to give a voice to our industry?

Yes, we believe there should be greater collaboration between industry and advocacy groups influencing wealth creation through education, entrepreneurism, health and immigration.  But, more importantly, unite to provide more marketing agility, expansive and reliable marketing data and effective digital tools to reach the diversification of Hispanic America.

How do you feel about the need of the Latinx moniker as part of our advertising, marketing, media and T.R. lingo?

The lingo is partly marketing, generational, and personal. We purposefully use Hispanic America as a multicultural segment across all our communication and/or specify the ethnicity when necessary. The industry could benefit from understanding what the next generation of Hispanic Americans identify as their own claim to heritage.

With the pandemic still strong and with the recurrence of lock down still happening, are you optimistic or pessimistic about 2021?

The newly released census data is driving commitment from our clients moving forward. The stratification of America based on working models will only play a greater role in future marketing operations. Clients across the board will be re-evaluating their business models to fit the current climate.


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