5 Benefits of Bilingualism in Advertising and Business
Last month the Census Bureau released the more significant portion of the results from last year’s census count. Despite many obstacles and shortcomings during last year’s polling (Looking at you COVID-19), these results paint the picture of an America that is much more racially and culturally diverse than a decade ago.
In addition to a diverse domestic population, the rapid growth of communications technologies has made long distances shrink to the size of a DM. Before, a brand’s target audience was confined to a geographic area. Now, brands and consumers can find each other across borders as long as they speak the same language.
These facts alone should be proof that bilingual employees are an asset to businesses of all kinds, but below, we share a few other benefits. For this blog, we’ll concentrate on Spanish-English bilinguals.
It Expands Your Reach and Potential Market
Let’s start with the apparent benefit; when you speak more than one language, you can reach more than one portion of the population. It’s that simple.
Particularly in a country so culturally diverse as the U.S. and with such a fast-growing Hispanic population, you can assume that having Spanish-speaking bilingual staff will multiply your audience and expand your reach.
There is a popular misconception that Spanish language campaigns are becoming obsolete as the English-speaking Hispanic population has exploded in recent years. However, it is incorrect to assume that the number of Spanish-only speakers has decreased and that English-speaking Hispanics consume less Spanish media. A study done by Facebook IQ found that most Hispanics, regardless of language preference, believe brands should advertise to them in both English and Spanish, and ads targeting them in Spanish increase their intent to purchase.
It Strengthens Personal Connections
In advertising, we understand that trust and a long-standing relationship are the foundations to mutually beneficial outcomes.
While many Hispanics and other diverse groups are fluent in English, when a brand or business reaches them in their mother tongue, they feel comfortable connecting with that brand to a higher degree of trust than they would in a second language. The study discussed previously also found that half of Hispanics believe that brands that advertise in Spanish value their community and culture. That appreciation appears to be reciprocated.
Bilinguals Might Be Better at Multitasking
A study on bilingual children found that they performed better and faster at tasks than their monolingual counterparts. This difference is linked to code-switching, or the mental alertness necessary to switch between languages within the same context or conversation.
Code-switching is associated with a better-developed executive control system, or a form of brain functioning responsible for multitasking, attention, and memory. Being able to juggle several projects and clients is a valuable skill in the advertising industry.
Bilingualism Promotes Creativity and Better Problem Solving
Advertising and similar industries are considered creative fields that value out-of-the-box thinking and finding creative solutions to problems.
Bilinguals may have an advantage over monolinguals when it comes to creative thinking. Learning multiple languages requires a person to understand that the same idea can be expressed in different ways. The same principle applies to bilinguals’ problem-solving process; they find creative pathways to arriving at a solution.
It Improves Social Media Reach
We’ve discussed how having bilingual employees and campaigns instantly expands your audience. A similar effect occurs in social media for both reach and engagement.
A brand that puts content in more than one language can attract visitors who speak other languages by meeting their language preferences within their social media streams, timelines, or dashboards. Content in more languages results in your brand’s posts and updates appearing on multiple mediums and channels. These additional sources of visibility result in a larger audience for your messaging, increasing your reach and engagement metrics for organic and paid social media campaigns.
It is the Future
With an ever-increasing global market and bigger and better communication technologies at our disposal, a brand’s target audience is no longer confined to territory but interests. In the end, a proper understanding of their audience’s language will become the distinguishing factor between brands with similar content and products.