Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Business Spanish: Week 10

Image of a computer and tablet with the words Business Spanish Lesson Plans from Annie Abbott
by Ann Abbott

This week we have moved on to Chapter 9 in Éxito comercial: Marketing I. This is especially pertinent to our class because of the marketing projects that students are working on for La Línea and Spanish Advising. Here's what we'll do.

Lunes: Lectura comercial

This is a long, detailed reading. My goal with students is to pull out just a few main concepts and then illustrate them with examples.

1. Warm up. I began by asking students: Tell me one concept or one piece of information that stood out to you in this reading. We listened to a few of their answers. (I'm always impressed by what they take away from the course; these readings are not easy!)

2. Conversar sin parar. I like to start most of my classes by putting students into pairs, giving them a topic (or no topic!), setting the timer on my iPhone and telling them to hablar cinco minutos sin parar. It is a good way for them to get to know each other, use their Spanish and prepare for the speaking they will do in the rest in the class. But more importantly, I remind them often that in business situations you must be able to make small talk with people who you sometimes have never spoken to before. So getting back to today's lesson: students had to first identify the last few purchases they had made, and then they had to talk to each other about the marketing that had gone into their decisions to make that purchase. There were a lot of food purchases--and a lot of those were based on promotions and discounts.

3. Social marketing. I pulled this term out of the reading and focused on it for a bit. First we defined what it is: associating your brand with a certain social/cultural cause. For example, Yoplait's connection with breast cancer awareness creates a positive image for their target market. (Everybody eats yogurt; everybody supports finding a cure for breast cancer.) Then I explained that you have to find a cause that resonates with your target audience. So for example, if your target audience is immigrants, then you can probably safely associate your brand with political causes about comprehensive immigration reform. They likely support that cause. But many people do not. That's why it's so important to know your target audience inside and out. Then we looked at this example of social marketing from Goya Foods and analyzed it: how does it reflect the values of Goya's target market?

4. Localization. I then asked students to compare the Goya Foods Facebook page with Goya Puerto Rico's page. What are some of the very specific ways in which the two pages are both the same and different. OJO: make sure that students understand that it's not just a matter of Spanish versus English; it's the *kind* of Spanish that is used. And of course there are many other differences that go beyond language.

5. Packaging. I wanted to really emphasize to students that marketing is much more than just the ads and Facebook pages that you create. So zoomed in on packaging as a marketing tool. 

For our first example we looked at soap. These two photos show the same product: soap. They're selling soap. But what are they really selling? What kind of experience? What kind of values? What kind of self image?

Then we moved to another example of packaging so important that it has become an icon, a piece of art much like Andy Warhol's focus on Campbell's Soup cans: Café Bustelo.
I asked students to raise their hand if they have an account on Instagram. To those students I told them to open their app and to search for #CafeBustelo. To the other students (only a few) I told them to go to and search for Cafe Bustelo. I gave them several minutes to look, click, explore. Then we analyzed how the packaging was used in their marketing. Here are a few things that stood out: their packaging is so striking that they have created other merchandise around it; the colors of yellow and red are tightly associated with their product; after people have consumed the product, they keep and reuse the packaging (to store paint brushes, tools, pencils, etc.); it is part of a lifestyle. What else could you and your students come up with?

6. Bilingual social media marketing. We didn't have time in class to look at Café Bustelo's Facebook page, but it is a wonderful example of truly bilingual Facebook marketing. If you have time, explore it and think about how you and your students could analyze and emulate their work.

Miércoles: Lectura cultural

Again, we are working on Chapter 9 of Éxito comercial. Since we ended the previous class with an analysis of Café Bustelo, I will begin this class with a commercial from Café Bustelo. In fact, during the class we will watch a series of commercials for coffee with the sole intent of analyzing the very specific cultural components of each one. My hope is that students walk away from the lesson today with a very clear idea that one does not market to "Latinos" or "Latin Americans." Instead, you market to a very specific segment of that market, and that you must know that segment very well in order to speak to them effectively.

Here is a link to the series of commercials I use with the students. And by the way, I use that photo of me in  our kitchen in Italy in this way: I ask them what this photo has to do with coffee. They recognize the coffee mug immediately (it's very American anyway). But very few students even "see" the cafetera on the stove. It doesn't register to them because many of them have never seen it before.

And here are a few extra resources about coffee and cultural differences that I have recently encountered:

Viernes: Taller de asesoría

The team of students working with La Línea will meet with them at the Y. Unfortunately, I will be out of town on Friday for a CIC meeting in Chicago. I will put one student in charge of our Spanish Advising team and expect them to still meet up in our classroom and create/edit/critique their Facebook posts for next week. And by the way, I'm so happy with the videos that they are creating about Spanish courses. They gain more reach and receive way more views than other posts.

Other posts

Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 5
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

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