There might be many reasons where Retro-Acculturation could help you, particularly if you focus on your language skills.
Here are five of them:
- You might be able to attract more business
- You might be better able to connect with your employees (not to mention being able to understand them when they are speaking to each other or to your customers)
- You could more effectively tailor your communications and offerings to the Latino community
- You could find market niches no one else sees – potential new business lines or locations, unmet needs, etc.
Aside from the potential monetary benefits, you would derive personal benefits as well, many of which are impossible to measure:
- You would be in a better position to share your re-gained cultural background with your children and connect more deeply with your older relatives and those still living in your family’s country of origin
- You would be a much better tourist in Latin countries if you could communicate and relate to the cultures you visit
- This would help you achieve a different status in your community if you could effectively become bilingual and bicultural – leadership beckons.
What would the costs of this effort be?
Minimal, frankly – just the cost of a community college class or an online instructional program, a few hours here and there, nothing major.
What would the benefits be?
Potentially limitless – both quantifiable in terms of your business but also purely personal as you enhance and enrich your life.
The statistics on the US Latino population bear this out – while the group of English-only speakers has stayed steady (and not grown as everyone expected), the group of Spanish-only speakers has dwindled slowly over time. But the group that is growing, that is now well over 50% of the total, is the Bilingual/Bicultural segment.
That is now the demographic sweet spot for marketers and business owners.
For each individual this process of cultural self-discovery will be different. But even for those who don’t achieve perfect fluency in Spanish, even those who aren’t able to realize all of the benefits I describe above, you will still learn, and learning is a good lifelong habit to develop and maintain.
About the author
Carlos E. Garcia, born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively). He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research. Most recently SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he headed up their Hispanic research efforts. He's gone full circle and now back at the helm of Garcia Research, a Hispanic market and Multicultural-focused research firm.Website