Business in Latin America – A Dive into a Diverse World

Claudia Daré

“We Latin Americans take more chances. We’re less academic in our outlook and possess even fewer inhibitions – about anything! We’re inventors – and playful, even. People notice this. I think Europeans, for example, have realised that, in many, respects our continent is fairly ‘untainted’ in this sense, and that we have a lot to say to the World. In fact, we’re teeming with new and surprising knowhow.” – Gabriel Garcia Marques, one of Latin America’s most notable writers.

Each country in Latin America is a dive into a large and diverse world. So how can we begin to decipher such an extensive continent, that despite sharing the same language, Spanish, across the majority of its land mass, has so much cultural, economic and social diversity?

Communicating on a global scale means understanding the languages and local cultures enough to transcend their borders. Latin America has 21 countries – two principal languages – and a plethora of local idiosyncrasies.

Effective communication strategies

One of the mistakes many companies make when planning communication projects for Latin America PR is to think that what works in one country works in another. But information and trends spread quickly and somewhat uncontrollably in our globalised world, and campaigns are accepted – or questioned – almost immediately.

Not considering unique perspectives may sound crazy, but experience with the Latin market has shown that it is not uncommon. One of the most effective communication strategies when you have a target audience, be it a country or a community, is talking to your audience in a specific, direct way in a language they know and understand – their own vocabulary included.

Staying up-to-date with the daily news, the latest local movements, and the concerns and anxieties of a place can be the answer to getting across effectively. Relevant local information about trending topics can be used as a hook for your product, brand or solution and will make a huge impact in communicating with your audience.

Despite the local differences, there are also similarities across Latin America. Personal relationships carry weight, and foreign products are newsworthy. Stories that engage people and create identification are crucial for receiving attention and strengthening a brand’s standing.

Taking this into account, the importance of a native team qualified to tailor information, localise vocabulary and content, and build the best local strategy cannot be underestimated. At LatAm Intersect PR, this is our basis for supporting our clients in reaching each country in our Latin American hub. The approach is used across the board, be it campaigns, events, announcements or simple press releases. Only professionals with an experienced local eye and cultural coexistence can successfully move between worlds and obtain the best results with confidence.

How the media works across Latin America

It is crucial to appreciate the way that media works over here. Media is concentrated in the hands of few, with traditional families owning the majority of outlets. Large groups often have various channels under their control, including newspapers, radio and television stations. In Colombia, for instance, the production of information is in the hands of eight groups with national coverage and high levels of reception. In effect, they are large economic conglomerates.

In many Latin American countries, radio is still the primary source of information and is still growing. Taking advantage of this is vital. In Peru, there were 5,684 radio and TV stations in 2016. At the beginning of 2018, this number had jumped to 6,943. In Argentina’s capital region, more than 6 million people tune in to a radio station every day, according to the Brazilian Institute of Statistics (Ibope). News coming from radio is replicated on TV then echoed on the internet. Understanding this cycle and how information travels empowers us to better seize opportunities and tell our stories.

An online necessity

Social media now presents a huge window of opportunity, with a regional reach of over 90%, according to household surveys carried out by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The digital alternative has cleared a path for independent press, small groups and a new, booming and specialised blog scene, ranging from topics as diverse as technology and food. It’s a rich field to work in with a wealth of opportunities and possibilities. Mexico has the highest online reach in the region with 98,2%, and its connected population is only second to Brazil, which, in turn, is the fourth largest internet market in the world. Brazil also has a user base of over 139 million and around 66% penetration, according to Internet Labs Stats.

Knowledge of the region and the intelligence used in developing strategy sets a good, effective communications plan apart from those that don’t reach their targets. Having the necessary support from people who understand these regional movements makes all the difference in communicating about brands and products with relevance and authenticity.

Learn more about our services and intelligence for your business in Latin America.

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