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VOL. 127 | NO. 162 | Monday, August 20, 2012

PR Firm Helps Companies Tap Into Hispanic Business

By Aisling Maki

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The Memphis metropolitan area has no shortage of public relations and marketing firms, but Dominique Anderson Public Relations helps companies, organizations and government entities tap into the region’s growing but underserved Latino market.

Dominique Anderson is a Bilingual Public Relations Specialist.  Her specialties include multicultural/Hispanic PR & marketing, crisis communications, special events, social media, and lifestyle management for celebrity and VIP clients. (Photo: Lance Murphey)

The U.S. is currently in the midst of a Hispanic population boom, and that population is increasingly becoming a major power player in the new economy.

According to census data, more than half the country’s population growth between 2000 and 2010 resulted from an increase in the Hispanic population, which grew 43 percent over the last decade.

Many businesses seek to expand their markets to accommodate that shift, and Dominique Anderson Public Relations was formed to help them develop culturally appropriate strategies to reach that target market.

The boutique firm’s services include public relations, marketing, advertising, social media, crisis communications and special events planning.

“In the Hispanic market, families, media personalities and celebrities are going to be your top influencers,” said Anderson, a bilingual English-Spanish speaker of partial Puerto Rican heritage. “If you’re looking to get into the millennial Hispanic market, you find people who influence that market and connect your brand with that influencer. We create strategic sponsorships and partnerships, in addition to events and social media to make the brand recognizable in their community using those influencers.”

Anderson has about 15 years of experience working in public relations and marketing. Her previous firm, Vida PR & Marketing Group, which she founded in 2004, focused on lifestyle and entertainment.

But after birth of her first child in 2007, Anderson realized that her fast-paced lifestyle, which included being physically present in nightclubs, didn’t mesh well with motherhood.

Anderson, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Tennessee-Martin and a Master of Education in Secondary Spanish Education from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, worked for nine years as a Spanish teacher for Memphis City Schools.

She began to realize her knowledge of Spanish language and Latino culture was a much-needed asset in Memphis.

“People knew that I had a background in Spanish and worked in the Spanish-speaking community here, but I resisted being labeled as the Spanish firm for some odd reason,” she said. “I decided to work in the Spanish-speaking market, in addition to the mainstream and multicultural markets.”

So in 2010, Anderson rebranded her business as Dominique Anderson Public Relations, maintaining Vida as a division of that full-service firm, which is now housed inside Emerge Memphis at 516 Tennessee St.

Anderson ended up moving her business into Emerge Memphis, a small-business incubator that offers physical space, camaraderie and mentorship for emerging entrepreneurs, after she attended WordPress Camp there.

She said she receives a steady stream of calls from organizations seeking to connect with Latino consumers.

“Most people want to know how to communicate without being offensive, or to find bi-lingual workers to work for their business … different companies have come to me to ask how they can start the conversation,” Anderson said.

Her PR firm isn’t Anderson’s foray into entrepreneurship. Since 2007, she has co-owned MoneyCo Hispano, formerly Mas Dinero Taxes, which serves a 98 percent Hispanic customer base. She’s a Certifying Acceptance Agent with the IRS and work closely with clients.

“There are a lot of less-than-reputable tax companies and I hear a lot of bad stories,” she said. “We’ve positioned ourselves to do really clean, solid work.”

She also works part-time in real estate, showing houses to prospective Latino buyers.

“On a typical day, I could have a real estate meeting, have to show three houses, then go to my tax office,” Anderson said. “Then I come down here to Emerge and put my PR brain on. Most of my day is spent on the phone making connections.”

Despite the many hats Anderson wears, she said PR work is her true passion.

“I love the type of PR I do, which is connecting people to really cool ideas to grow brands,” she said. “It excites me … PR is my baby, and being in Emerge helps me to focus on it and grow it a little differently.”

Although she frequently collaborates with other PR professionals and contractors in cities from Memphis and Nashville to Atlanta and Miami, Anderson is currently the sole employee of Dominique Anderson Public Relations.

She said that over the next few years, she hopes the company will move into a larger space, hire employees and encompass several departments to focus on areas such as social media and special events planning.

Anderson said that in addition to the Latino community, she’s also focusing on the African-American market and the LGBT market, which she calls an “emerging, big-dollar, quiet market.”

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