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How the New Animated Smash, 'CoCo,' Got It Right, in Its Outreach to Latino Audiences




Another weekend, and another box office victory for Disney Pixar’s CoCo, the animated smash hit, which has earned over $108 million since its pre-Thanksgiving release. The film has drawn praise from critics and moviegoers alike, and has struck a particular chord, emotionally, with the U.S. Latino demographic market segment.

Related: Marketing to Hispanics: Why It’s Not Just About Speaking Spanish

For those unfamiliar with the film, Coco is the story of Miguel, a 12-year-old boy in Mexico looking to connect with his ancestors on el Día de Muertos, or Day of The Dead, the Mexican holiday where the dead are remembered, honored and celebrated by friends and family members. As the film depicts, this often involves the building of an altar, or ofrenda, to which family members add photos and the favorite foods, drinks and possessions of the deceased.

CoCo should be required viewing for any marketer looking to engage the U.S. Latino market as authentically, tastefully and creatively as the film does: Aside from the music, food/drink and vibrant colors Coco beautifully illustrates, it masterfully pulls back the curtain on the Latino family dynamics behind that culture’s collective family decision-making process, as well as on how elders and ancestors are cared for, remembered and revered, plus Latin culture’s symbolic emphasis on the spiritual.

Even the power of an abuelita’s chancla (a grandmother’s sandal, used to lightly spank a misbehaving child) is lightheartedly incorporated as an inside joke in the film — an authentic nod to Latino viewers who can relate.

Are Latinos in your customer base? Below are five important lessons Coco can offer you and other marketers looking to engage the United States’ 52 million Latino consumers:

Multigenerational storytelling

Whether yours is an influencer campaign targeting millennials on social media, or an earned media effort reaching baby boomers, it may be one of the many marketing/PR efforts today that are developed and executed with a specific demographic in mind.

CoCo, in fact, reaches and tells the story of an entire multigenerational household, creatively developing characters, motivations and back stories across many ages, from 12-year-old Miguel, to the wheelchair-bound great-grandmother. Content that performs well within the Latino demographic is often that which can be shared, understood and related to by an entire household.

Similarly, Coca-Cola succeeded in multigenerational storytelling with its Mother’s Day Inseparable campaign. That video begins with a Latina singing a lullaby to her daughter, with whom she later shares a Coke when the girl arrives home from school.

Related: 3 Reasons Why a Latino Family’s Tiny Cheese Business Became a Giant

The daughter then grows up and sings the same lullaby to the baby inside her own womb, gazed upon by her mother, about to be an abuela, herself. This signifies the passing of a cultural tradition between mother and daughter. The video concludes with the abuela and her grandson some years later, bonding over a bottle of Coca-Cola, completing and continuing the family tradition.

Learn from your mistakes.

The journey of the film’s success cannot be told without revisiting an earlier incident that sparked tremendous backlash against the entertainment giant. Disney’s initial attempt at the animated depiction of the Day of the Dead included an actual trademark application for the Mexican holiday back in 2013. This drew the ire of many, who accused Disney of cultural appropriation. Within two weeks, Disney withdrew its trademark filing, released an official statement and went back to the drawing board.

Disney is not the first, and certainly will not be the last brand, to commit an unfortunate PR/marketing blunder involving cultural appropriation. However, everyone can learn from how it attempted to course-correct the project’s itinerary. How Disney handled and reacted to the backlash — going beyond the usual corporate statement or creation of a diversity and inclusion position to manage public perception — set the company apart from other brands making cultural mistakes. Think: Pepsi, with its Kendall Jenner ad, and Dove’s seemingly never-ending series of race and beauty ad controversies.

Beyond collaboration

Instead, Disney extended an invitation to animators, actors and cultural experts of Latino descent to not just have a voice and a seat at the table, but also a final say and input as co-creators. Results of that cross-cultural collaborative effort were evident in every aspect of Coco, including its language/accent pronunciation, cultural observances and family dynamic.

Putting together a team with multicultural insights and experiences that can inform, shape and guide the creative process minimizes the consequences of not having the budget to incorporate multicultural insights up-front, or a team to address backlash during the final stage ad/marketing/PR campaign. The latter point, in fact, is too late to to address concerns regarding cultural appropriation.

Tap into customs and traditions, not stereotypes.

Thanks to the authentic input and insights in its development, CoCo authentically incorporated many Mexican customs and traditions without playing to the lowest common denominator or, worse, committing cultural appropriation. Yes, there were mariachi bands, sombreros, tacos and tequila prevalent throughout the film. But everything served a purpose and contributed toward the film’s broader cultural context.

One digital content platform that gets this right is mitú, which produces and distributes digital content geared toward Latino millennials. From creating memorable characters, such as an “abuela,” to stand-up monologues about growing up in a Latino household, mitú’s ability to blend humor with cultural intelligence has enabled it to reach and engage with a large audience in a short period of time.

Language matters.

Finally, there’s the language issue: Even as Coco was made available in a full-Spanish version in select U.S. cinemas and across Mexico, the filmmakers struck a healthy balance between English and Spanish-language dialogue. This helped avoid any alienation of English-speaking viewers, yet retained a sense of authenticity for native Spanish speakers. Additionally, the script’s word choice wasn’t limited to basic dictionary Spanish, but used colloquial terms and mannerisms many Latino households use affectionately.

Nearly three out of four U.S. Latino residents speak Spanish at home, while 68 percent speak English proficiently, according to Pew research data. Additionally, English-dominant, Latino millennials looking to strengthen their cultural connections are consuming content in both languages.

So, whether you’re developing social copy for a Latino-inspired food recipe, or drafting call-to-action language and key messaging on a healthcare campaign aimed at Latino boomers, it’s important, for developing a successful multicultural campaign, to understand the impact that authentic language selection and incorporation has on content performance. 

Netflix acknowledged this trend and took an early lead in providing quality, original streaming content in English, Spanish and English/Spanish. Not only can the company’s Latino subscribers add popular Netflix originals such as Daredevil, Punisher and Master of None to their queue, but they also can enjoy bilingual and Spanish-language (i.e., not dubbed) original content such as NarcosIngobernable and Club de Cuervos, Netflix’s first foray into original Spanish-language programming.

By no means does CoCo serve as the definitive manual for reaching and engaging the U.S. Latino market, of course. A deeper sociocultural dive would almost certainly highlight missed opportunities and oversimplified characterizations throughout the film’s 109-minute run time. Additionally, the 52 million Latinos living in the United States come from or have generational and ancestral links to 33 countries throughout Latin America, each with its own cultural customs, family traditions and language dialects and nuances. So, there may very well arise more detailed objections to parts of the film. 

Related: 6 Reasons Corporate America Misses Out on Trillions of Hispanic Dollars

However, marketers would be well served to incorporate the key lessons described here into their own future account planning and activation purposes. ¿Verdad? If not, they risk falling victim to that proverbial chancla.

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Steve Jobs Shares the Secrets to Successful Team Leadership in This Throwback Video




Though Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died six years ago, his outsized influence is certainly still felt. A recently surfaced video interview with the late CEO — which based on his haircut seems to place him in the mid-1980s — shows him sharing his views about best practices for hiring and what makes a great manager.

Up front, he says that the greatest employees are the ones who have the ability to manage themselves. But they can only do that if the leadership at the top is clear about what they want. “What leadership [is] having a vision, being able to articulate that so the people around you can understand it and getting a consensus on a common vision,” Jobs says.

Related: Steve Jobs Systematically Cultivated His Creativity. You Can Too.

Jobs goes on to explain that one of the most important jobs of someone in his position is recruiting new employees. He notes that he isn’t necessarily looking for someone who is an industry veteran, but rather someone who understands where technology is and where it could go in the future. He also recalls a moment when as the company was growing, that he and others executives thought they needed “professional managers,” but that ultimately turned out to not be the case.   

“We went out and hired a bunch of professional management [and] it didn’t work at all. Most of them were bozos,” Jobs says with his characteristic brutal candor. “They knew how to manage, but they didn’t know how to do anything. If you’re a great person, why do you want to work for somebody that you can’t learn anything from?”

Related: What the Creation of Apple’s iPhone Teaches Us About Innovation

Ultimately, he notes that the best team leaders are the ones that aren’t angling for power for power’s sake. “They are the great individual contributors who never, ever want to be a manager,” Jobs says. “But decide they have to be a manager because no one else is going to be able to do as good a job as them.”

Do you agree with Jobs’s assessment? Let us know in the comments and check out the full video below.

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How to Keep Introverted Employees From Quietly Leaving Your Company — in Droves




The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has been around for decades. Employers use it to uncover job candidates’ personality strengths and place them in the right role. MBTI results also help identify natural leaders and great communicators.

Related: Introversion Is Not A Weakness, So Why Are You Treating It Like One?

Yet, there’s little talk about how people’s results impact their satisfaction once they’re in a job. When leaders ignore employees’ happiness, it’s hard to keep productive talent around.

Interestingly, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based publisher of the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, CCP, Inc., conducted new research that dove into how personality impacts workplace well-being. It looked at five aspects of well-being: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishments.

After surveying 3,113 participants, the company, in a September report, revealed that introverts have lower well-being in all of these areas. This isn’t all that surprising: An introvert is less likely to speak up about what’s negatively impacting him or her.

It is shocking, however, that employers aren’t being more proactive. If leaders don’t find a way to improve the workplace happiness of introverts, those people will leave and take all their unique skills with them.

Want to avoid that happening to you? Here are some ideas to help connect with the introverts in your office and better understand their wellness-related needs in the workplace:

Be a chameleon.

Many leaders make the mistake of managing everyone the same way and assuming the results will equate across the board. But there’s a huge flaw in that logic: Every person, in fact, perceives and processes guidance differently. Some need more help in certain situations; some need less. So, it’s up to leaders to customize their approach.

Leaders ignoring the needs of their introverts can hurt their overall workplace well-being. The reason: Introverted employees will feel less engaged and have a harder time reaching their goals. This may then lead to feelings of isolation and disappointment, negatively impacting these workers’ mental health.

Related: 6 Truths on Why Introverts Make Great Leaders

When managers recognize introverts’ differences, on the other hand, they can help those employees succeed, and feel more accomplished. For example, as New York-based co-founder of the digital agency Ready Set Rocket, Aaron Harvey, pointed out, introverts have trouble speaking in front of people. “If someone struggles in brainstorming sessions, simply stop by their desk in advance and ask them to be prepared with a few ideas around a specific topic,” Harvey advised in an email. “This can help them feel confident, joining a conversation that organically leads to real-time ideation.”

Consider other situations when introverts might feel that they are out of their element. For instance, consider ways in which shy employees might meet new people.

Talking with new clients, after all, probably makes them nervous. So, reduce their stress by having an extrovert they’re comfortable with tag along. Having a familiar face present will help get them through the situation.

Scrimmage employees’ skill sets.

Extroverts’ strengths are obvious. They’re good communicators, enjoy building relationships and freely share their ideas — all skills that contribute to their well-being. These traits make it easier for them to create a support system at work and to speak up about what skills they have to offer.

Introverts’ skills are more hidden, so leaders don’t always see what they bring to the table. Since introverts are less likely to communicate what responsibilities they’d like to take on, they’re left feeling unfulfilled.

Skills-assessment tools, like the MBTI, are a great solution. They reveal natural strengths and help managers assign introverts more meaningful work.

After realizing your introverts’ skills, give them more opportunities to use them. Assign tasks and projects that allow them to maximize their strengths. Fully and effectively contributing to the team will improve their feelings of meaning and accomplishment.

Arlington, Va.-based Greg Wester, senior vice president of marketing and business development at the mobile content discovery platform Mobile Posse, likes to mix it up with his employees. To help everyone on the team develop his or her skills, Wester told me, the company poses team challenges that mix introverts and extroverts.

“We’ve found that people are super competitive about winning,” he said by email. “The different types of exercises give people a variety of ways to participate, get involved and hopefully boost their well-being.”

Currently, Mobile Posses’ employees are working as teams to create themed videos. Each team has eight cross-functional, cross-personality employees. They’re all challenged to use their individual skills to create a video representing their perspective on a company core value or vision.

This approach to skill-building, Wester said, helps introverts connect with the entire team and gives them more confidence about their value in the organization.

Keep kindred spirits together.

While it’s good to have both types of personalities working together, introverts may become stressed if they’re paired only with extroverts.

For instance, imagine walking into a room where everyone is talking loudly and the words don’t make sense. The situation is overwhelming. This is how introverts feel when they’re surrounded by extroverts. It’s as though no one is speaking their language, and they feel isolated as a result.

What’s more, iIntroverts and extroverts communicate differently. To maintain well-being, introverts need to find like-minded people they can connect with and recharge their energy with.

Rick Gibbs, a performance specialist at the Kingwood, Tex.-based HR services company Insperity, pointed out that following personality assessments, introverts can find people who are like them and make healthy connections. “The process itself can help improve communication, build teams, and expand office friendships,” Gibbs said in an email. “More introverted employees will be able to identify others with similar communications styles.”

Related: How Thinking Like an Introvert Can Help You Get Ahead in Business

So think about conducting personality testing at your workplace. Then, hold a meeting where everyone can discuss his or her results. This will show introverts that they are not alone. They’ll be able to communicate better and deepen their relationships — and with them their personal well-being — at work.

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Hard Work? It's Not All It's Cracked up to Be. It May Even Be Irrelevant. Here's Why.




From a young age, we’re raised to believe that we can accomplish pretty much anything so long as we work hard enough to achieve it. And, for the most part, that makes sense, at least intuitively. If you study for three hours while your roommate studies for one, you’ll probably do better on the test. If you spend 50 hours at work every week while your peer spends 30, you’ll stand a better chance of getting a raise or a promotion.

This idea follows us at every stage of our lives, and it echoes a cornerstone belief of Western culture: As long as you work hard, you’re going to be successful. But there’s a problem with this philosophy: Hard work isn’t always enough.

The Netflix approach

This idea is hard to accept at first, if you’re a hard worker who invests major time and effort to get what you want in life. Perhaps then, it’s best to introduce the alternative notion, using a corporate example.

Netflix (yes, the company responsible for those late-night television binges) has found success in part because it abolished the idea of hard work being the sole determining factor in an employee’s progression within the company.

Netflix formally introduced this idea in a 2009 slide deck explaining the company’s culture, but the idea dates back to 2001. Since her departure from Netflix, the company’s former chief talent officer, Patty McCord, has been on podcasts and spoken in interviews about the rather different work ethic Neflix evolved.

After experiencing financial trouble in 2001, the company made a bold move to lay off a third of its employees — not based on how long they’d worked there or how hard they’d worked, but solely on what they contribute, and how they impact the company’s bottom line. This infuriated some long-time, hard-working employees, but those who remained ended up getting more done because they didn’t have to correct others’ mistakes, or work around unnecessary teammates.

Even after that initial layoff, Netflix paid almost no attention to employees’ hard work. It allowed unlimited vacation time and flexible hours, focusing on results and innovation instead of the number of hours worked or the effort spent. This system resulted in the letting go of many employees who’d worked hard and performed well. But it also resulted in the better performance of the company (and, in many ways, in less stress for the remaining employees).

The problems with hard work

The Netflix example may seem harsh, especially if you’ve based your career around working hard. What if you too were fired after a decade of putting in long hours and genuinely trying your best?

Still, there are three main problems with hard work that an alternative culture or approach could correct:

“Hard work” doesn’t equal “results.” First off, hard work doesn’t necessarily correlate with results. For example, it doesn’t matter if you put 100 hours in to the design of your landing page; if your site doesn’t convert,you may as well have spent one hour.

Hard work isn’t efficient work. Next, consider that hard work isn’t necessarily efficient work. If it takes the person next to you three hours to complete a task that you could have completed in an hour, that extra hard work may have actually cost the company unnecessary time and money.

Hard work doesn’t encourage innovation. Finally, focusing on hard work doesn’t encourage innovation or novelty. Instead, it encourages repetition and persistence. Those factors can be good, but you also need some drive to try new tactics, incorporate new ideas and learn new things in your life.

What to focus on Instead

None of this is meant to imply that hard work isn’t valuable — only that your hard work should be reserved for when it counts the most. So, as an individual (whether you’re a professional or an entrepreneur), what should you be focusing on instead?

Efficiency. Focus on your efficiency. Instead of spending more hours, emphasize doing more with the hours you already have. For example, you could automate certain processes, delegate work beneath your paygrade or find new strategies to accomplish more within a set time frame. You can also work on eliminating redundancies in your workflow, or on abandoning tasks, meetings, and projects that eat up your time unnecessarily.

Results. Focus on results, prioritizing the work that seems to yield the highest return on your time investment. What’s really going to help you succeed? Reduce or eliminate anything that doesn’t fall in line with that vision, and don’t be afraid to make cuts.

Improvement. Focus on improving yourself and your surroundings. Instead of working hard on level one, spend some effort trying to get to level two. Invest in yourself, learning new skills and gaining new experiences, and invest in your environment by training your employees and making sure you have the best tools available for the job.

Hard work is incredibly valuable, but we shouldn’t keep thinking of it as the most important factor for success. Instead, we should see it as one of many factors that can help us, but won’t, in itself, necessarily save our businesses.

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