Welcome to Miami!
There aren’t many other US cities I could see myself living in. I was fortunate to land my job here in DC, New York would have been great – in my twenties, Chicago and Boston are too cold for me and although I love the West Coast, it feels very far from the UK. Miami, however, is somewhere I could get used to and yes, I’m writing this on a grey Tuesday in DC so that may have something to do with it.
I was with my fellow EU Press Counsellors in Miami, Florida last week for a whistle stop tour of the media and business environment down in the Sunshine State. Of course the weather was great and yes, I went to the beach at the weekend, but there is so much more to this growing city than meets the ‘weekend hotspot’ eye.
Hosted by the fabulous Christine from the EU Center of Excellence at Florida International University we were treated, among other things, to a talk with the Miami Herald, a meeting with members of the Beacon Council who drive forward Economic development in Miami, some digital media advice for the Knight Foundation, a cup of Cafecito and a Pastelito (Cuban coffee and pastry) from the uber-cool Republica a cross-cultural PR, digital and Ad agency who specifically work with a Hispanic audience, (they have their own Barista!) think Mad Men Latino style, and a lunch with Hispanic Journalists in the Miami area.
Miami is ‘Where Worlds Meet’, home to some 2.5million people of whom more than half are Hispanics or Latinos, of these most have South American or Caribbean heritage, including many from Cuba and Venezuela it’s a majority Spanish speaking city as well as ranking as the greenest and richest city in America.
It is nicknamed ‘the Capital of Latin America’, so it was a natural fit for Univision, the most watched Spanish Language channel in the US, to set up down there. Plus, as they told us, it is cheaper to produce down in Miami than in LA!
I’d been to Miami before and I knew there were a lot of Spanish speakers but this trip really brought home to me just how diverse a city Miami was. Florida, as a state is set to become the third largest populated US State next year, overtaking New York, it is also running a budget surplus so it is a good state to invest in.
I was struck by the huge amount of optimism and can-do attitude, especially at the Beacon Council, I left feeling that there was nothing that Miami couldn’t do and there were many young Entrepreneurs [young pop =?] here willing to do it. It felt very cutting edge, very now.
I was reminded of a quote from Miami Vice back in the 80s:
‘If Miami hasn’t got it, they haven’t invented it yet.’
Miami remains a showcase for all that’s great about America: opportunity and entrepreneurship, with its own cool Latin vibe.
We were fortunate to get a tour of the Univision Studios, where they film their popular morning show ‘Despierta America’ their most watched show, as well as a live evening show called ‘El Gordo y la Flaca’ literally ‘The Fat and the Skinny’.
The Skinny host is none other than Gloria Estefan’s niece and a section of the show is hosted in a Jacuzzi. Couldn’t we all learn something from this?! It reminds me of when the late Paula Yates used to interview people in bed as part of her spot on Channel 4’s ‘The Big Breakfast’.
Miami is also reflective of the US as a whole, the Hispanic population of the US is on the rise and Jose from the Univision Strategic Communications team helped put some figures to this growing group, namely that: 1 in 6 people in the US are Hispanic, they make up 19% of the adult population and are growing by 1 million each year, the fastest growing population in US they will make up 31% of the population by 2060.
They are young; with an average age 0f 28 and they make up 21% of the entire millennial US population. As they are younger they also have more spending power, buying more cars, mobile devices, movie tickets and even grooming products than non-Hispanics.
In case you haven’t realised they are the future leaders, decisions makers, and influential voices of the US. It will be vital to engage with this group if you are seeking brand awareness or a market share in anything- including winning the next election.
This trip came at a very pertinent time for me as we are working on a US Latino/Hispanic outreach strategy here at the British Embassy, which of course incorporates communications and digital outreach. We already have a British Consulate down in Miami working hard to promote the UK in the USA to their Hispanic audience and this strategy will help build on this across the whole country.
My trip really gave me a feel of this community and what’s important to them. This will help me think of ways I can engage with them and show them how the UK/US relationship can benefit them whether through trade, security, education, culture or entertainment.
So, I’ll need to re-learn my Spanish if I ever move to Miami, in fact I should re-learn it anyway and this was a good reminder of why. So thank you Miami and Hasta Luego!