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Beyond the Labels: A Deeper Understanding of Diverse Identities in the Pursuit of Genuine Brand Connections

September 14, 2021
By Isabel Abislaiman

We adopt labels at an early age. It’s part of how we discover patterns, learn naming and grouping, and generally what guides our communication and understanding with everything around us, from objects and events to feelings and people. 

When it comes to how we describe and define who we are – complex, multi-dimensional beings – our deep and rich personal identities can pose a challenge in terms of how we navigate a world filled with labels that don’t always fit. 

We can’t live life entirely without labels – we depend on them as a source of knowledge, to inform, to categorize, to simplify and sometimes even to rationalize understanding and decisions.  But it’s also true that when we use labels to describe human beings, or a group of people presumed to be the same, we can lose sight of how commonalities and differences co-exist to shape people and different points of view. That deeper understanding is an essential part of personal growth and reflection, but also of meaningful and authentic connections between people, and between companies, their employees and their customers.

When it comes to Hispanics and Latinos living in the U.S., we’re talking about a population of more than 60 million who encompass cultures and heritage from more than 20 different countries across South America, Central America, the Caribbean and other Spanish cultures. Whether we use the label Hispanic, Latino, Latina, Latine or Latinx, there’s no single world capable of precisely and completely capturing the range of identities and lived experiences within these communities.

Further confounding the categorization are the other dimensions of identity that shape who we are, from race to socioeconomics and diverse cultural influences. They impact everything from how we’re raised to the experiences we have, how we self-identify, how others see us and how we think others see us. 

U.S. Hispanics and Latinos can be of any race; not all U.S. Hispanics and Latinos speak Spanish; and no, Hispanic and Latino are not actually synonymous terms. And so, we come back to that singular truth: we are not all the same. The complexity is clear but so is the path for leaning into it to foster deeper understanding and genuine relationships. 

In this third installment of the True MOSAIC Racial Reckoning series, Life Beyond the Labels: The Role of Intent and Inclusion in Authentic Brand Connectionswe’ve leveraged the expertise and lived experiences of our FH Hispania, TRUE Global Intelligence and True MOSAIC practices to explore what it means to be intentionally inclusive in our search for cultural relevance and meaningful connection. 

Here are three reasons we felt it was important for us to bring these perspectives together and what we hope you’ll take away from reading the report and the insights that informed it:

  • Connections don’t happen by accident. The first step is to be intentional about investing in your desired impact or outcome. If the goal is to reach a specific audience, invest the resources needed to understand not just who they are and how they behave but why. What is it about the way they see and experience the world that shapes the decisions they make?
  • Centering inclusion in intelligence and information gathering brings depth and dimension. This prompts us to ask more, and different, questions – from those that aim to determine where someone is from and what language they speak to those that examine experiences and feelings. 
  • Being intentionally inclusive fuels and inspires curiosity, critical thinking, imagination and the pursuit of deeper understanding. If we challenge ourselves to look beyond the labels, to search for inclusive answers and to believe in the power of perspectives, we are empowered – in the process – to be more inclusive and to create genuine connections.