Rick Caruso, the founder of the Caruso Companies, is betting on the power of “It’s OK to be Latino”

Column: Rick Caruso’s Latino appeal isn’t bought — it’s real. But is it enough to win? The first time Rick Caruso, founder of the Caruso Companies, heard him-speak was in the bar of La…

Rick Caruso, the founder of the Caruso Companies, is betting on the power of “It’s OK to be Latino”

Column: Rick Caruso’s Latino appeal isn’t bought — it’s real. But is it enough to win?

The first time Rick Caruso, founder of the Caruso Companies, heard him-speak was in the bar of La Puerta this summer.

“He told me he didn’t feel that Latinos weren’t going to get past that ‘first impressions’ problem,” Caruso remembers, “and that he would give me 15 minutes to make sure people knew who I was and what I actually had.”

He says there was plenty to know: Caruso Companies is his answer to the first impressions problem, and he’s betting on the power of that marketing idea.

“We’re trying to create a product that people want, and we’re trying to make money doing it,” he says. “And that we know what we have to do to make it happen.”

Caruso is the founder-President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of the Caruso Companies. He’s also a former executive producer of the NBC Latino show “Latina.”

His company is a $45 million venture capital fund focused on developing Latina marketing initiatives, like the Caruso Companies’ “It’s OK to be Latino” campaign. The Caruso Companies is one of the 100 largest Latino funds in the United States, according to Fundación América, and is focused on growing Latino markets beyond the United States.

“It’s OK to be Latino” is one of those big-picture marketing ideas like the “Mission, Vision and Values” that companies like Marisa and Fritzi San Martin have employed for decades to show they’re not just about business.

And while Caruso doesn’t see his success at branding as a path to financial success, it’s clear that his

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