Binding the organization with culture- Hernan Tagliani [Interview]

About Hernan Tagliani

Hernan Tagliani is the founder of The group advertising and the global ambassador of The startup studio. He is an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, and his current areas of focus include diversity and culturally relevant businesses. He was the 2019 CEO of the year and 2019 Diversity in business by The Orlando Business Journal. He is also a contributing author to Forbes magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, and the Houston Chronicle. We are happy to have someone of his stature on our interview series. 

Binding the organization with culture- Hernan Tagliani [Interview]

Sumitha Mariyam

We have the pleasure of welcoming Hernan Tagliani today to our interview series. I’m Sumitha Mariyam from the peopleHum team. Before we begin, just a quick intro of PeopleHum –  peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated human capital management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work. We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month. 

Sumitha

Welcome, Hernan We’re thrilled to have you.  

Hernan

Thank you. Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure for me to be here today, ensuring time together. 

Sumitha

Thank you so much and it’s our pleasure to have you. 

So moving on to our first question, can you tell us a little bit about your journey so far? How did you come up with the idea of culturally relevant businesses? 

Yeah, absolutely. So my journey started at a very early age. I started working in marketing and advertising since I was 17 years old. I was born in Argentina. I got my degree in marketing and advertising them from there and start working for different AD agencies until I had my own. Then I met my wife, she’s from the United States. She’s American and she was in Argentina on vacation and then sold my business and moved to the United States almost 20 years ago. 

Because of being bilingual, I had the opportunity to work with some of the top advertising nations is here in the United States and you know I was six is when I decided to branch out and open the group advertising why I decided to open the group advertising is because I saw a huge opportunity to help entrepreneurs and business leaders on how to seize one of the greatest sales opportunity next to the general market, which is the U. S Hispanic market. 

So it has been a phenomenal journey. I’ve had an agency for 14 years. It is driven by a purpose to promote that diversity and inclusion among brands and among consumers. As a matter of fact, I wrote a book here in the United States it’s the Hispanic market for Corporate America: how to make your brand culturally relevant? And I’m in the process of writing my second look at multicultural marketing on diversity and inclusion. 

So, culturally relevant is key moving forward. One of the challenges that I have seen some things I continue to see in some of the big brands and bigger sensations in the United States is that they approached the market. Different minority groups market on a language think point, rather than understanding the culture. So a time of execution in culture is more important than language. What goes beyond translation is understanding your consumers needs and desires and how you can culturally connect with them, understanding the cultural nuances of the different groups.

“So a time of execution in culture is more important than language. What goes beyond translation is understanding your consumers needs and desires and how you can culturally connect with them, understanding the cultural nuances of the different groups.” 

So at the end of the day, you have a strong message that truly resonates to them. You speak to their heart, you connect with their heart. And that’s when you start seeing one attraction of your brand awareness engagement. And that at the end of day translates into larger profits, bigger revenues, and you assure the sustainable growth in the years to come. 

Speaking of the United States more and more, It’s becoming multicultural, mainstream, multicultural and the census this year will prove that.

Sumitha

That’s a wonderful answer. And the first step to anything good that comes to you is humanity and seeing everyone like that is a beautiful answer. 

So, talking about, culturally relevant strategies can you give us a few examples of how to attract an audience by having culturally relevant strategies? 

Hernan

Yeah. So, first of all, you know, moving forward, the phenomenon that is going on in the U.S and I think is gonna happen worldwide is because of technology, because of multicultural, we’re shifting away from a transaction standpoint to a brand experiential. So It’s not about selling X amount of products. 

It’s about what’s the story behind the storytelling behind the brand. What’s that brand experiential, from the moment your potential consumers go to Google, search your brand, goes to your website. What’s the experience they get on that visitation of the site from there, how that translates when they go to retail stores they signed not to buy online and go to the regional stores how they have been treated or they have issues with their products or services that they purchase it and they call the 1-800 number customer service for help. 

So we’re shifting away from the brand transaction at some point to the brand experiential  and so this brand experiential happens before that purchase of the product or purchase of service and then after how you retain that customer, how do you turn that customers into brand ambassador so understanding the culture, the DNA is crucial. 

So, you know, within the, for example, we specialize in the U. S. Respondent market even though we’re very defying culture coming from motherland Spain, topped by the Catholic Church. We still have different variations within a rural culture but will keep us together as a strong group is we share one language – Spanish, and it’s the heritage to keep that culture in that language alive. 

So moving forward, the growth here in the United States, and census will share that, too. Is that domestic growth So 2nd 3rd generation born in the U.S, binding by culture, higher household income, higher level medication. So the way you talk to that consumer is different than the way you talk to somebody that is American and was born here. And he’s white compared with a Hispanic. 

So they live in this combined world of half Spanish, half English, half Latino, half American. So understanding where the passion points their desires, what are the different things that they keep in mind to engage with a brand is crucial. And that’s when it comes into consideration the importance of market research. I’m a strong believer of data. Understand your consumers that will help you with the opportunity to find what is the business opportunity for you in all different demographics on how to connect with them with a cultural message that will engage with them the right way. 

“I’m a strong believer of data. Understand your consumers that will help you with the opportunity to find what is the business opportunity for you in all different demographics on how to connect with them with a cultural message that will engage with them the right way.” 

Sumitha

Well, that’s a brilliant answer. I mean, that’s amazing. 

And so, what do you think is the role of technology in the inclusive workplace of the future? 

Hernan

Technology is revolutionizing everything. The way we communicate with people, the way we interact with people, the way we do business. That’s why every time I have the opportunity to sit down in front of executives, I always tell them, it’s not about you anymore. It is about consumers and technology, it is proven, has generated that, a man of a more culturally relevant engagement. 

Consumers are all about the experience, so understanding the culture is huge. On a workforce, the standpoint is absolutely going to change the dynamics too, when it comes to diversity and inclusion. 

You know the corporate world has always seen more on a percentage of your employees for percent different for minority groups, which is good, that’s an Internal Challenge, but it was always thought more on hiring, retaining, and training base minority group employees to improve their performance. 

But we’re shifting also to the external challenge, which is what do you do as a brand to engage with minority groups which right now is driving the growth of the U.S? How do you make those employees feel excited that you’re supporting their communities? How do you grant contracts with minority-owned businesses that at the end of the day will help you fulfill those needs as a corporation that you have? So it’s not just the internal aspect, what I always say, It’s also the external. It’s not what you say. It’s also what you don’t say. 

“So it’s not just the internal aspect, what I always say, It’s also the external. It’s not what you say. It’s also what you don’t say.” 

So if this technology is changing the rooms. From a marketing standpoint,  the same way. You know, traditional media is going to shift more on digital media. we’re already seeing here in the United States in the next 3-4 years, TV is going to be more cable and it’s gonna be more replaced by OTT, you know, on digital platforms. 

So, we’re getting a shifting from a shotgun standpoint on traditional media that, you measure based on ratings on is an estimated percentage of people that will be exposed to your message to a more sophisticated laser type of approach that, you know, you know the consumers, the in an age household income, the places that they’re living in cities, what type of content they are looking for on the internet.

So it’s a more laser type of approach that at the end of the day, it’s gonna be more cost-efficient for any brand moving forward.

Sumitha

I think you’re bringing our audience a whole new perspective to things and that’s wonderful and, you know, shifting our focus to the startups of today. 

What advice would you give to startups, The new age organizations in managing their funds?

Hernan

So well, that’s crucial. Managing the funds. I always tell business owners are people that just started with the business. Number one is to have a deep understanding not only of the customer you served, but also the market that you’re going to go after. I have seen over and over mistakes of corporations that were all people that they just decide to open a business on personal opinion. 

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I live here. There are not enough restaurants like these. I’m going to go ahead and open my restaurant without doing any research behind. If truly the demand of the rest of the particular type of restaurant. This is just an example. 

So building the relationship with not only on the financial aspect, with leaders within the banking industry on some other organizations that there tons here in the United States that can help you guide you in having the right plan, finding the right investors or right bank that loan humanity ways. It is an SBA loan, a more direct loan from the bank is crucial. 

So I always tell people number one: find out what type of organizations are out there, where you’re living that can help them guide you on their terms in putting a plan together, and create your own group of people leaders in the industry. It could be somebody that also owns a restaurant or always another type of business, but they are close to you, and you can basically pick their brain and how they did how they became successful. 

And then at the end of the day, you had to go after and fulfill your dreams. Sometimes, people have an idea, but they don’t know where to start, or they have some limitations on the point of view that they’re listening to somebody else and not doing it. Then they have the could’ve should’ve. So I always tell people that a successful entrepreneur is the person that risks their own money for freedom on exchanging their freedom for money 

“So I always tell people that a successful entrepreneur is the person that risks their own money for freedom on exchanging their freedom for money” 

…and that’s huge. So you had to make a lot of sacrifices. You’re gonna make a lot of mistakes. You’re gonna go through failure. But failure is a great thing. Failure is a step closer to greatness. It will give you a profound understanding of what you have done wrong and how you can get better stronger. 

So follow your dreams and take a look at what are the opportunities out there. And there’s a lot of resources. It’s just you need to be proactive. Unfortunately, with even a very reactive society, as right now, we’re going through Covid19 here in the United States. There’s a lot of companies that they’re not advertising right now, which I think is a big mistake. But you got to be proactive, you have to be out there and nowadays technologies are free tools to give you this free opportunity to be exposed to millions of people. 

Who else you might be exposed to a potential investor that you sharing this story will be willing to help you make that dream come true. 

Sumitha

Yeah, that’s wonderful advice. 

And, you know, with the current situation, the Coronavirus, how do you think businesses are going to thrive? I mean, how can we keep up the sales and make our customers understand that a service is essential for them. All businesses are cutting down their costs? To essential services. How do you make them understand that services  are essential? 

Hernan

Well, of course, there’s going to be certain sectors, like right now, for example, you know, hotels. I know he wants to go to a hotel right now. So it’s gonna be a process to take that fear away from people to, you know, start traveling around, taking airplanes and taking vacations. However, these tons of other sectors that I always tell people, you know in every challenge that life throws at you there is a seed of equivalent benefit. 

“I always tell people, you know in every challenge that life throws at you there is a seed of equivalent benefit.” 

That’s what Napoleon Hill said. So the worst thing that you can do is just sitting and wait. So You have to take these as a unique opportunity. I understand it’s not business as usual, but this is a unique pause that will enable you to review strategies, put growth plans in places and learn more about the communities you serve and get ready for the comeback. I strongly believe that comeback will be strong, and now, more than ever is important and it’s imperative for brands. 

The worst thing that you can do if you are, let’s say, your brand that sells OTC products or consumer products. The worst thing you can do isn’t saying anything, on the contrary, you have to be proactive. You have to show your support to the consumers you serve because you’re there in the bad times. So when the good times come, they will remember you. 

Bentley, for example, the car company. So they shift the message on instead of selling cars to where the cars are gonna take you. So to bring that peace of mind, that relaxation of different parts around the world that you can be driving that Bently during Coronavirus, they also have done a great job, so they communicate on social media and digital. They have also then donated more than 20,000 seat covers and steering wheels for people in the medical industry. 

So they’re still communicating, it is just they shift the tone and manner of the message and that will pay big data instrumentally when all this goes away. So I always tell, You have to be out there even in these crises. There’s always an opportunity, and you have to show your compassion. You have to personalize your brand right now, and you really have to show your consumers you care about. It’s just not about the money. It’s about building these brand engagement experiences and support that they were there in the bad times for you and will be there in the good times as well. 

Sumitha

Yeah, that’s very important. And that’s a wonderful answer. I mean, compassion. And you interlinked that with personalization, and that is so amazing. 

So, coming to our next question. So with the rise in the millennial workforce, we have the gig economy gaining momentum. How do you think this is going to fit in the organizational set that we have right now? 

Henan

Well, that really is gonna be a challenge for a lot of corporations on understanding that the millennials are a very different generation. The bottom line is that I said before, It’s not about you as an organization, It’s about you as consumers. So having millennials, which is what’s driving the growth moving forward will be a key insight to have. I’m retaining your organization. That’s why to be a successful leader, you have to be humble and you have to be willing to listen. 

“That’s why to be a successful leader, you have to be humble and you have to be willing to listen.” 

So personal opinion the way I do business, and I conduct myself. Every person that I need. I always feel that I have some sense in there. So for me, it’s not about age. For me it is about points of view about knowledge because it’s not just because I’m older, I know more. I don’t know everything, life in every day you learn something new, but millennials have started changing everything here in the United States. As a matter of fact, why the United States now, after this instance will show that it is very culturally diverse. 

The growth will come from two sectors. Number one is minorities and number two is millennials. When you take a look at minorities, it is estimated between 2010 and 2021. 80% of U. S. Population growth will be attributed to minorities. Hispanics will represent 51.7% of that growth. When you take a look at millennials, it is estimated that around 75 million millennials living in the U.S. 42% of the 75 million are multicultural, 25% Is U.S Hispanic. More than half of the U. S Hispanic population is to be in the Millennium Group. 

So now it’s the age of 27 years old compared with the general market, that is 39. So millennials are  shifting, are changing. So for a corporation, understanding what they’re driven by is crucial. That’s why when it comes to market research on data, if you’re a brand, you need to know exactly who you’re dealing with, how to keep that millennial engaged, influential marketing is very, very, very important. 

So I’m seeing the change. That’s why every time I have the opportunity to talk with the next generations, for me it is very, very exciting because they are the ones we’re going to shift this mindset of the old World of thinking is just one way is The general market to more embracing other groups because we’re not general market anymore. As of fact by 2045, The census is already projecting that white will be minorities in the minority population here in the United States. So the time to act is now, now more than ever. So that would be my two cents. 

“So the time to act is now, now more than ever. So that would be my two cents.” 

Sumitha

That’s a great answer. And I think when you mentioned about different generations working together. There’s that fine balance of enough wisdom and the energy that needs to work together and produce results. And all your numbers and statistics give us more insights on how you can relate all this to culturally relevant strategies and make them work. So that was an amazing answer. 

And coming to our final question. If there are any important soundbites that you would like to leave our audience with?

Hernan

I would like to leave my audience, to pay close attention to how the market is shifting on molding because of technology because of multicultural marketing. Pay attention and understand what your consumers are looking for. As a business owner or whether you’re a chief marketing officer or a CEO of a company, doing the same thing that you have done for generations or decades or years. Doesn’t mean it is right. 

You might be making or maybe you were making a lot of money before COVID-19. But as the market’s changing, is evolving, it is driven by diversity, inclusion, minorities. It is very, very important to understand that the way of doing business in the past that was just reaching to the general market mainstream is now becoming obsolete.

“It is very, very important to understand that the way of doing business in the past that was just reaching to the general market mainstream is now becoming obsolete.”

And at the end of the day, we jeopardize that way of thinking, their coming growth of the brand, revenue sales, and market share. So you have to lead by example, you have to become a leader in your industry. And I remember one time what John Maxwell said that a leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. 

So you have to take the lead in your company and in your industry. Forget about what your competitors have to win. Sometimes they meet with executives, All my competition has no reach into Hispanics or African American. Why should l? Well, the answer is very simple. They didn’t think about it, or they don’t know how to engage with them yet. So you gotta be there first. 

You’re gonna own that piece of the pie because, at the end of the day, you’re not only talking to the community you serve. You are ensuring sustainable growth in the years to come because the demographics shifting and involving the market wasn’t the same 5 to 10 years ago, and it’s not gonna be the same 5 to 10 years from now. 

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So understanding how the market is shifting and involving, it’s gonna be crucial for your business success. That’s why I always tell clients it’s not about spending more money because something that I know I don’t have marketing money to reach to his banks. I’m gonna go asking you for more money. What I’m asking you is to reevaluate and restructure your marketing budget on those areas of growth. 

And if you don’t know how? Find help. There’s a lot of people out there like me, or other agencies that can help you guide you in having the right strategy that truly resonates with you to these audiences, influential audiences. 

Sumitha

That’s wonderful. And I really like how you gave our audience a whole new perspective and you were talking with emotions from your heart and culturally relevant strategies which are very rational also. So that was an amazing experience. And thank you, Hernan. We are so happy that we interviewed you.

And this was an enriching experience for me personally. And I’m sure it is going to be for our audience also. Thank you so much for being here with us and sharing your thoughts. Have a safe and healthy time ahead of you. 

Hernan

Thank you. You too.