Committing to Inclusion through Multicultural Marketing
Inclusive practices go beyond finances at Unitus Community Credit Union, a Portland, Oregon-based credit union that earned the Juntos Avanzamos designation in 2021. Unitus is leading the way to bring inclusive marketing strategies to the diverse communities it serves, building trust to authentically connect with Hispanic and Latino populations.
Guided by its commitment to serve and empower Hispanic and immigrant communities, Unitus developed a comprehensive multicultural marketing plan to reach this historically underserved population. Unitus went beyond simply creating materials in Spanish; the marketing team partnered with a multicultural agency to transcreate materials, to assure they resonated and accurately reflected the deep cultural connections in the Latino community.
In general, marketing dollars spent to target Hispanic communities are disproportionate. The Hispanic Marketing Council reports only 6% of ad spends are directed toward the Hispanic community, while Hispanics represent 19% of America’s population. Unitus’ commitment to multicultural marketing represents a shift in traditional strategies that have continually underserved Hispanic and Latino communities.
“Don’t let perfection and fear stop progress. Multicultural Marketing is evolving, and it will be muddy,” explained Anthony Veliz, President of Izo Public Relations and Marketing. Unitus consults with Izo on all marketing materials, publications, strategies, and events to continue building a connection with Hispanic and Latino community members.
Unitus’ push to advance inclusion is a shared commitment among all of the credit union’s 300+ employees, including Hispanic members of the Leadership team and Board of Directors. Because of this shared commitment, Unitus was able to dedicate the time, effort, and resources to build its multicultural marketing strategy.
“This didn’t happen overnight,” said Steven Stapp, President and CEO at Unitus. “We were very intentional about how we approached our entry into the Spanish-speaking market. We knew our marketing had to be genuine and accurately represent our commitment to supporting, welcoming, and empowering members of the Hispanic and Latino communities.”
Authenticity is key to a successful multicultural marketing campaign. Unitus has dedicated significant funding and resources in support of local Hispanic businesses, non-profits, organizations, and community groups. Earlier this year, Unitus signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Consulate of Mexico in Portland to provide financial training, education, and resources to the communities the consulate serves. Unitus is a proud partner of the Hispanic Chambers of Portland and Washington County. The credit union also helps fund a local non-profit program that delivers food to farmworkers.
Unitus is committed to being inclusive financial partners with the Spanish-speaking community. The credit union employs bilingual employees in every branch. Unitus also offers culturally relevant financial products and services, including ITIN loans, immigration loans, international money transfers, and multigenerational home loans.
But an organization’s inclusive financial products don’t mean anything if there is no connection with the community. That’s why the multicultural marketing initiative is so critical to advance Unitus’ inclusion efforts.
“We have to build authentic relationships within the Hispanic and immigrant community so they know they can come to us for guidance and support with some of their biggest life decisions,” noted Corlinda Wooden, SVP and Chief Retail Officer at Unitus. “Only after we establish these genuine connections can we start conversations around their financial goals and what products and services we offer to help them achieve these.”
As Unitus continues to remove barriers to meet the needs of Hispanic and Latino community members, the credit union plans to build upon its multicultural marketing strategy.
“This is just the beginning,” said Stapp.