Hispanic Heritage Month Feature: MPA Alum De Jesus Delivers Tasty Message
Note: This article first published in July, 2016. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), we are sharing it again with readers.
No matter how you say it or spell it, barbecue means good eating. As the Director of Multicultural Marketing for the National Pork Board, it’s part of Jose De Jesus’ job to get that message out to people of all nationalities across the country.
“I am responsible for multicultural marketing strategy development and implementation as well as execution of marketing, public relations and social media campaigns in the U.S. for multicultural segments, including Latinos and African Americans,” said De Jesus, who earned his Master of Public Administration degree through Bellevue University in 2009. “This is a very rewarding job because I work on behalf of America’s pork producers. Our charge is pretty simple: to promote an amazing, inspiring and delicious product – pork. Aside from that, marketing is fun in that you are constantly looking for that one idea that can disrupt the market, and the journey to get there makes it extremely rewarding. From the creative brainstorming with our teams to program execution and everything in between, the job is exciting.”
A native of Puerto Rico, De Jesus graduated from Colegio Nuestra Señora del Pilar before earning his bachelor’s degree in Communications at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. He worked as a journalist at the Green Bay Gazette-Press and the Des Moines Register and was the Chief Communications Officer at the American Institute of Business before joining the Des Moines, Iowa-based National Pork Board in September 2013.
A master’s degree had always been on his radar and he took the plunge with Bellevue University in the Fall of 2006.
“I wanted to make sure I was working with a deeper understanding of the business world before deciding what degree to pursue,” he said. “Being able to apply some of my learnings from my career into the Master’s program was one of the things I enjoyed the most. I quickly felt the Master of Public Administration program was the perfect fit for me. I felt all of our professors were well prepared and added significant and real-life point of views to the curriculum.”
While his degree has paid off at the non-profit National Pork Board, De Jesus sees additional benefits as well.
“I’d like to think that it has impacted my career positively, but earning a master’s degree was also a decision I made for personal reasons,” he said. “No matter what happens in life, no one can take away your education. Whether in business or personally, we are constantly learning and striving to get better and that’s how I approached it.”
One of De Jesus’ latest initiatives is the ¡PRENDE EL SABOR! campaign, designed to reach Latino customers in the United States.
“It’s about bringing to life the idea of ‘What would the grill say’ if he or she could describe the grilling experience as a fan of grilling and pork,” De Jesus said. “To build on this fun approach, we added a layer of cultural relevance by creating this “Gloria” persona who has certain traits that Hispanic consumers can relate to such as eating pork at every celebration and wanting to put together the perfect BBQ to entertain family and friends.”
The campaign enlisted popular Mexican actress, comedian, and singer Angélica Vale as the voice behind “Gloria.”
“ ‘Gloria’ gave a voice to the campaign and allowed the National Pork Board to communicate key messages about healthy cuts, recipes, flavor, inspiration and creativity in a fun and unexpected way,” De Jesus said. “We took a multi-channel approach – earned media, digital influencers, social media, digital video content, and digital media – to create awareness of pork in the market and drive consumers to our Spanish-language website, www.PorkTeInspira.com, for relevant seasonal content.”