For the first time, a four-day conference highlighting Hispanic public relations, social media, marketing, advertising, blogging, filmmaking and entertainment, is coming to Miami next week.
"Hispanicize 2012," touted as a Latin "South by Southwest" -- referring to the annual music, film and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, Texas -- begins Tuesday, at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. The conference is relocating to Miami after taking place in Dallas and Los Angeles its first two years.
"What is cool about Miami is that this is the only place in the country where you can have this event grow into a national cultural phenomenon," said Manny Ruiz, founder and creative director of Hispanicize 2012.
The event, which will include 85 sessions, is expected to attract more than 700 participants, Ruiz said. Registration, which includes admission to all workshops, as well as meals and receptions, costs $695 for general admission, with lower rates for certain categories of attendees.
The conference will focus on Latin trends and trendsetters in the various industries, and will include award presentations and screenings of documentaries from aspiring Latin filmmakers.
This year, the event will also introduce the "Latinovator Awards," which will be presented to five "Latino trailblazers," including producer Emilio Estefan; Cesar Millan from The Dog Whisperer; media and real estate entrepreneur Nely Galan; and Univision journalist Maria Elena Salinas.
No doubt, the Hispanic market in the United States is sizeable and growing. Based on the 2010 Census, there are 50.5 million Hispanics in the country, representing 16.3 percent of the population. And according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, the purchasing power of U.S. Hispanics is expected to rise to $1.5 trillion in 2015, accounting for nearly 11 percent of the nation's buying power.
Corporations such as Target, General Motors and Research in Motion say they are sponsoring Hispanicize to tap into that market.
"In this day and age, if there is a company in the United States that does not have a U.S. Hispanic or multicultural strategy in its business model, it is not taking advantage of the opportunities there," said David M. Anon, Miami-based senior director of marketing for Latin America for BlackBerry, which is a brand of Research in Motion. "For us, Hispanicize represents a way for BlackBerry to be in front of an audience of media and bloggers so we can showcase what we have done with our technology and integrating it with content," he said.
Similarly, Target is sponsoring Hispanicize because of its "commitment to understanding and serving the needs" of Hispanics, said Target spokeswoman Courtney Foster. "This is an excellent opportunity for Target to build relationships with bloggers and media as we continue to seek the right opportunities to share Target news," she said.
And for the second year, General Motors is sponsoring Hispanicize. It will be sending a team to the event, said Jocelyn K. Allen, director for GM's regional, grassroots and diversity communications. "For us," she said, "it's just important that we reach out to consumers in a way that is relevant to them, and go where they are."
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