DK’s First Year Anniversary in Phoenix
On Monday, March 12, my firm DK Web Consulting completes its first year in operation since opening a second office in Phoenix last spring. Much has happened in the past year, many new contacts have been made and client deals have been struck. I find none of that too surprising since we expanded to Phoenix because of the opportunity we saw to make a difference and provide our Hispanic communications services to the western region of the United States.
So why open a Hispanic marketing agency in Phoenix?
The question I am most often asked when I travel around the country, from those closest to me as well as people I have just met is, “Arizona? Why would we want to open an office in Phoenix of all places?”
I know they are referring to the anti-Latino sentiment here, and the fact that our current governor makes our entire region look like a buffoon-run state, and I will discuss my personal feelings on this towards the end of this post.
I explain to them that these are the reasons DK is proud to have moved to Phoenix, Arizona:
1. Phoenix is a major Hispanic market. With approximately 40% of the city Latino, it makes sense for a marketing agency that focuses on the Hispanic community to locate in a large metropolitan area with this demographic makeup.
2. Phoenix, is not saturated with Hispanic agencies. Unlike many of the other top Hispanic markets such as LA, New York, and Miami, Phoenix is not overloaded with agencies that focus on Hispanic communications. It turns out there recently was a major Hispanic player in Phoenix that folded in the past few years which has left opportunities for smaller growing companies like DK.
3. Phoenix is conveniently located and beautiful. We knew we wanted to have our second location in the western region. The appeal of Phoenix is that it is a very convenient (US Airways and Southwest have hubs here) and cost effective location. And with the scenic mountains and good climate, it is a wonderful city in which to have the annual company picnic :-)
LATISM and the Media
Since starting up in Phoenix, I have become a Director for the newly founded Phoenix chapter of LATISM, or Latinos in Social Media. This group is active in most of the top cities in the U.S. Prior to attending the first LATISM conference held in Chicago, I wrote a blog about what I planned to attend and learn at LATISM ’11. Having the chance to get out there and meet so many other like-minded Hispanic social influencers and bloggers helped to set us up for a big year and to plan our first Tweet-up event for LATISM Phoenix this April.
In December of 2011, I was interviewed on TV with my colleague Joe Ray (another LATISM Phoenix Director). The Latino-themed TV show Horizonte, part of the local PBS programming, invited Joe and I to discuss LATISM and what the movement was all about. We agreed as we are always looking for methods to spread the news of LATISM’s mission to other interested Arizonans.
PBS’s interest proved to me that opening an office here was the right decision as it was evident that there is much interest about learning what Hispanic social media professionals are doing in this community. You can view the 12 minute clip below.
¡Hola Local Clients!
Additionally, in Phoenix more and more companies are listening to the waves of reports coming in about Hispanics high usage of social media and have been interested in how we can help them communicate with the Hispanic audience . I have been fortunate to partner with a local and well established traditional marketing agency, FACIL Marketing, founded by longtime journalist Ruben Hernandez. By teaming up with FACIL, we have formed a powerful unit which allows our clients to reach the Hispanic market through a combination of new media forums as well as traditional marketing methods such as earned media, PSA’s, and media pitches.
We have placed one of our clients, the well known horse racing venue Turf Paradise in North Phoenix,in several of the regional Spanish-language newspapers and radio stations, followed by initiating conversations on Twitter with personalities such as the first Mexican NBA player Horacio Llamas and even actor John Ortiz of the new HBO hit series, Luck.
Other local clients that have become part of our portfolio include the Arizona Latino Arts and Culture Center (ALAC). DK is presently working on a web redesign for the 5 year old non-profit, which is an inspiring staple of Phoenix’s Hispanic artistic community. Watch for the new design to come out in the spring of 2012. I also am proud to have been invited to join the ALAC Marketing Advisory Committee to help promote their awareness both locally and nationally.
How about Sherriff Joe, SB1070, and the overall negative sentiment towards Latinos?
I have seen and felt the negative sentiment towards Hispanics many times in the past year, but not nearly as much as my darker skinned hermanos that don’t carry the same americanizado accent that I do. As I mentioned earlier, people outside of Arizona often ask me why I would want to subject myself to an environment that can be hostile to Latinos. On a personal level, I explain to them that I really see it as a great opportunity to show people that they have misjudged Latinos. I believe that most people who stereotype typically do so out of ignorance and fear. They listen to talk radio, local news broadcasts and even our governor that often skews or purposely misrepresents the truth about illegal immigration, Hispanic crime rates and Latino work ethic among other things. By presenting myself as a professional, well educated Latino that is involved with the community, I feel it works to show people that Latinos are not the bad guys from their nightmares. Latinos are people that work hard, pay their taxes and employ others just like they do.
A perfect example of how many people do not have a full concept of who Latinos are and how they are affected by new anti-Latino legislation was illustrated by a young filmmaker named Alejandra Gama. Ms. Gama created a documentary, “Right to be an American” about the life of a Latino family in Phoenix that is very personally affected by House Bill 2561 and 2562 in Arizona that would deny their children citizenship. When Ms. Gama was asked about how people reacted to the film, she mentioned that many people who see the documentary soften their tone on immigration as they have never previously seen the face of an innocent toddler who is affected by new legislation that would deny them their 14th Ammendment rights. It is a touching film and I encourage everyone to watch the 11 minute video.
To the next 5 years in Phoenix
Overall, DK is proud to be located in Arizona, which many people consider Ground Zero for Hispanic issues. However, things are improving here as more Latinos come of voting age, and become more active in getting out to vote. They are changing the Latino destiny here through the ballot box. And I, proud to be a new homeowner in central Phoenix, am continuing to spread my roots within the city I now call home.