LATIN AMERICA UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR 2019

Although Latin America has gone through a period of slow economic growth in recent years, profit-making activity is projected to recover in the main markets in 2019, according to the latest report published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the region is expected to grow by 2.6%…

…Together with this positive macroeconomic overview, auspicious factors are added such as the advance of the Internet in Latin America, the improvement of connectivity (particularly in the mobile mode) and the growth of electronic commerce, which have transformed Latin America into an attractive and dynamic commercial area.

However, when we speak of Latin America, we are actually referring to the 26 countries of the American continent located south of the United States, which have a rich cultural diversity. Based on the foregoing, it is difficult to talk about Latin America as a unit, so we must consider the following aspects if we are interested in developing new businesses in the region:

LATAM, a great region (but with different countries)

We, Latinos share many similarities such as language (with the exception of Brazil, we all speak Spanish), values, humor, passion for soccer, among other things. But when it comes to doing business in Latin America, it is essential to understand that each market is different. For this reason, it is a mistake to believe that what is a good idea in Argentina is also good in Chile, or what works in Mexico also applies in Colombia. Each country must be analyzed individually and must have a personalized strategy despite the similarities with its neighbors.

Likewise, the meaning of the expressions can vary drastically from one country to another, so the “tropicalization” of the company’s message is essential to correctly and effectively communicate the value of the brand.

Tailor-made activities

As with language, implementing a communication strategy adapted to each market is essential to ensure the success of each activity. This implies knowing the peculiarities of the local press and the tastes and preferences of the journalists of each country so as to organize successful activities. For example, Mexican journalists tend to attend press conferences or events, since they preferdoing all their coverage in person and build a close relationship with their source.

Instead, Argentine journalists favor exclusive interviews (ideally by phone or face-to-face near the newsroom) that include local cases or trends.

Latin storytelling

Another issue that we have to consider in the implementation of a successful press strategy is storytelling, or the art of telling a story. Storytelling must be adapted to each market considering the characteristics of the audience we are aiming at, in order to be able to connect with it and thus reach the company’s target audiences.

In this regard, it is essential to adapt the story content to each country, taking into account the features that draw a people togethere and that have to do with their idiosyncrasy, such as history, beliefs, cultural traditions, food, sense of humor, values, namely solidarity, respect, etc.

An effective storytelling contemplates the creation of profiles of the target audience, defining which channels are the most suitable for each country and what type of content will generate the greatest impact and leave deep impressions on the audiences.

“Evangelization” as a premise

May be a brand has a great background and is recognized worldwide, but we have to consider that when entering a new market, we have to start practically from scratch.

Consequently, in PR´s strategic planning we must consider the work of “evangelization” of the brand, which consists in disclosing the company values that have led it to gain target recognition. Or, if it is a brand that is just being launched on the market, it may be necessary to work on the key messages and positioning axes so that it can make a difference from its competition and stay in the consumer´s mind.

As discussed in this review, making the decision to enter the Latin American market implies embarking on a great adventure, which requires an in-depth understanding of the diverse realities of Latin America to ensure good results and successful press management.