Planning to expand in Latin America? These are the top communication challenges for brands
Is your business thriving more than expected? That's great news! Are you planning to go international and expand beyond your current location? That's a big step. Taking your business to another region doesn't mean copying and pasting what you have in another place. It requires significant knowledge of the culture, audience, preferences, competition, social trends, legislations, and much more! Once you know everything about your new location, you'll be able to create a more precise and relevant strategy so you won't be navigating in unknown waters.
We know this may look challenging, but you're not alone. Many companies face the same situation when expanding their businesses, and if you're coming to Latin America, this blog is for you. Keep reading to discover the primary communication challenges (language, consumption preferences, advertising, and targetting) for brands coming to Latam, find data you'd like to know, and get ready for your big move!
Investors from non-Spanish speaker countries can pose a problem with a language barrier in Latin America. However, for those who do not speak Spanish as a second language but want to enter one of the region's markets, the good news is that the English level is high in several countries. Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Chile are Latin American countries with the best English skills according to the Education First English Proficiency Index 2021.
Even though some Latin American countries are able to speak English fluently, there's a challenge: communication diversity. Not everyone says the same. Culturally the meanings of some words, concepts, or ideas change throughout the continent and even from city to city in the same country. For brands, the ability to communicate counts since the language has substantial variants that can bring you closer to a target audience. Plus, customers tend to be more receptive to those companies that show proximity, so pay attention to what you say and how you say it.
If this is not your first time entering a new market, you may be already familiar with this term. Tropicalization means adapting ideas according to the place where they'll be applied. This includes far more than just adjusting a product or service to the location you're getting into. When doing tropicalization, you should consider elements of the local culture such as language, beliefs, social values, and habits of the specific target audience. So, make sure to research well and taking into consideration all the insights in local context before launching your campaigns.
According to Nogah, adapting an idea or campaign according to the place where it will be implemented implies a series of communicative factors. In order to achieve growth and accomplish objectives it’s necessary to ensure the following steps:
- Identify the market and profile of each consumer.
- Get to know the consumer's buying habits.
- Do not discriminate against races, religions, or sexual preferences.
- Maintain a simple language and an intuitive structure.
If all these elements are structured properly, you will be able to adapt the communication to each region or country and manage to communicate the same message regardless of where your brand is present. Besides this advice, you could also check what's already been done on this topic. Brands like Starbucks, Absolute Vodka, and CEMEX are great examples of how to do tropicalization. Check their brand history in different regions and get inspired!
Like every country speaks in its own way, it happens the same with content consumption According to the report "Changes in the digital consumer, 2022" by Comscore, a study that collects data on online visitors and the time spent in different categories, differences between countries are very easy to spot. Some of the highlights from the report are:
- Multi-platform consumption: Despite the multi-platform trend in the US, exclusive mobile consumption still predominates in LATAM countries, except for Argentina. In Argentina, 55% of the digital audience cosumer content on both their mobile devices and computer.
- Search engines: The websites with the most unique visitors are Google sites (over 63 million), Facebook (over 58 million), and Microsoft sites (over 44 million) in Brasil, México and Argentina.
- Social media: Latin Americans spend more time online on social media and communicating with others on a mobile device than on a computer. Argentina, Brasil, and Chile are the top three countries with the highest number of posts and interactions, and their favorite channels to share content are Instagram (68%), Facebook (26%), and Twitter (6%).
- Podcasts and streaming services: In Latin America, 9 out of 10 people have used a streaming or subscription service in the last month and spends at least 3 hours a week listening to them.
- Video consumption: Argentina is the country with Internet users most hooked on videos, but Brazil leads in the number of videos consumed, followed by Mexico and Peru.
In terms of traditional media, Statista reports that 57% of people worldwide still trust traditional media over search engines. Even though traditional media keeps being in force when we take a closer look at Latin America the landscape changes.
According to the Report Media consumption in Latin America 2021, due to the pandemic, traditional media such as television, radio, and the press have been significantly affected, with television being the medium with the best percentage of consumption and written media being the least consulted.
An average of 93% of Latin Americans watch the news on television at least once a week and Brazil and Perú are the most active TV viewers. On the other hand, when it comes to press in 2021 22% of Latin Americans said that they did not get their news from the written media. An 80% increase compared to 2020.
The same report also portraited the Latin American landscape in advertising, mainly digital. Since the pandemic, rules have changed in marketing, content creation, e-commerce, and ads aren't the exceptions. Which countries are the highest investors in advertising? How do Latin Americans consume ads? Do they still consume traditional media? All of the answers are here, so take notes:
- According to Comscore, the countries with the most advertising investment in 2021 were Colombia, Peru, and Chile. While for those with more impressions, Mexico appears first, followed by Colombia and Peru.
- The entertainment and services sectors are the ones that offer the best advertising opportunities, especially in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina.
- For branded content in social media, the average for countries like Brazil and Mexico is around 5% as the concept is still relevantly in an early stage. This present an opportunity for plenty of growth for the entire region.
- Pre-roll and mid-roll ads on streaming services are considered annoying, and ads over 3-5 minutes are considered "too long."
As far as traditional media, it may seem over, but it's not. Magna Global data reveals that in 2021 advertising revenues from traditional advertising formats such as TV, radio, print and cinema grew by $21 billion (9% more than in 2020). The global ad sales of TV reached $168 million in 2021, while radio outperformed television with an even stronger performance.
So, if your brand is planning an advertising strategy, do your research and evaluate including all the channels that are relevant to your audience.
Before starting business relations in Latin America or establishing your company, you should ask yourself at least some of these questions: Is my target audience located in Latin American countries? Does my company express the values they believe in? Do I offer payment methods they use? Is my business visible in the channels they use the most? And the list goes on and on. Otherwise, you may have a perfect brand ready to run at the wrong place.
Knowing the audience in Latam will help you be sharp and practical in addressing your business strategy. It can be a single region, but each country behaves, speaks, and consumes differently. In big countries such as Colombia and Brazil, campaigns may vary depending on city and climate. To ensure you're entering in the right location, keep yourself updated with news, data, and studies. Also consider conducting product market-fit desk research. But we're here to give you a hand. According to Forbes Magazine, consumers in Latam are more curious and prepared than ever before. So before turning the engines of your business on, here are some facts about the Latin American audience you should know:
1. Younger audiences want to share experiences through social media every day, therefore, having the chance of standing out in the content that people generate on networks can make your brand more attractive.
2. Reviews and opinions of third parties are one of the most important references and can make a buyer approach or move away from a product.
3. Nano Influencers like friends and family are trusted most by 84% of consumers.
4. Companies that express their values or support social causes attract audiences with common causes and interests. This brings the company and the public closer by being part of a positve change and giving more visibility to both the cause and the company.
5. Customized products or services are the new favorites to consumers. A 2021 Mckinsey & Company report showed that 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 66% get frustrated if they don’t. Plus, companies that practice personalization generate 40% more revenue than its peers who don’t. Customizing products and service will allow your band to provide a never-to-be-forgotten costume experience, fit more accurately in the market and promote effective digital marketing strategies.
Room4 Media, your creative partner in Latam
Expanding your business will always be a great sign of growth but wouldn't it be better to have a local partner to guide you through the process? Doing all the work alone off-shore can be extremely tiring and full of uncertainties. Choosing the ideal ally to help you land in new regions will be crucial to success. Our Room4 Latam team is here to help you start this journey.
We are a creative agency for daring brands. We have more than 8 years experience creating innovative strategies with the best local talent and knowledge of the Latin American audience. How do we do it? We team up with your company: First, we run an audit to review the current communication strategies of your brand. Then, you tell us your goals and expectations to conquer the Latin American audience. Once we get this, we'll build a custom strategy to impact the region with relevant and localized marketing campaigns.