Public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationship between an organization and the publics on whom it depends for its success and survival. But there is no such thing as the general public. Therefore, public relations practitioners have to focus and learn about specific publics.
Public relations practitioners need to target Hispanics if they want to build long term relationships with them. For a long time Hispanics were approached as part of the general minority group. Nowadays, their increasing number sets them apart requesting more focused and specialized communication.
The way immigrants submerge in the United States is no longer by assimilation. They are not longer absorbed by the mainstream, but bring their culture with them and incorporate it to the host culture, known as acculturation, according to Rose Pat in the Public Relations Quarterly magazine.
Hispanics history, language, values and unique culture are essential elements to successfully communicate with them.
Hispanic Public Relations (HPR) is a relatively new concept as pointed by Frank Perez in a PR journal. It tries to reach Hispanics through new techniques and showing respect and understanding for their culture. HPR does not differ from the general public relations methods, as pointed by Maria Len-Rios. But it includes specific techniques to successfully communicate with the Hispanic market.
Among the most important aspects to reach Hispanics is becoming fluent in Spanish. However, knowledge of the language should not be used just to translate public relations materials from English to Spanish. It is necessary to take the culture into consideration while trying to communicate.
Within the Hispanic market there are considerable differences. Not all of them share the same views and backgrounds, and neither do they share the same colloquial language. Rafael Bermudez, president of Rafael Bermudez & Associates (cited in Len-Rios) said, “Cubans are very different from Mexicans, Mexicans are very different from Puerto Ricans, and Puerto Ricans are very different from Colombians.”
Avoiding stereotypes is another successful technique to effectively communicate with Hispanics. They are not all dark skinned, nor do they all have heavy accents when they speak English. This kind of assumption may become a barrier for communication.
Experts thinks the future of HPR is promising. But there are barriers that limit its development. The educational curricula of public relations need to be reshaped to address the needs of minorities.