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What Global Marketers Can Expect from Brazil in 2015
This is my favorite time of year in Rio de Janeiro.
When I worked there we used to joke that the year doesn’t actually start until after Carnaval — the Brazilian version of Mardi Gras, usually in late February. It’s summertime in the Cidade Maravilhosa — the Wonderful City as Rio is called, and it sure is fun.
In January, the Samba schools are practicing for their Carnaval debut and every weekend their practices take the form of street parties called blocos. It’s outrageously hot so the best place to be is the beach. Business slows down and offices empty out as city dwellers escape for summer holidays.
The thermometer reads 12℉ in New York City right now, why did I ever leave Rio?
Clearly business doesn’t really stop, it just slows down some. And Rio de Janeiro isn’t representative of the entirety of the world’s sixth largest country, but it is a good reminder to global marketers that Brazil doesn’t always run on the same schedule as the U.S., the UK, or much of the rest of the world.
In an effort to dive into marketing in other geographic markets, we just published The Global Marketer’s Guide to Brazil available for download here.
We’ll admit it’s hard to capture an entire country in a single whitepaper, but there are definitely things that global marketers need to be thinking about.
Last month, Brazil’s leading business magazine, Exame outlined the five trends to watch in digital marketing in 2015. The trends don’t seem too far from what we’re predicting in the U.S., but most of trends do have a different context. The context for each trend is as important as the trend itself for global marketers to understand, because the paths these trends will take to fruition aren’t necessarily the same paths we’ll see in the U.S. or in Western Europe. Adoption of technology is happening at accelerated rates, but things like failing infrastructure, painfully high logistics costs, heavy bureaucracy, and burdensome taxes on corporations and individuals are giving way to innovations differently.
Here are four of Exame’s trends for digital marketing in Brazil, explained for a global marketer:
Data Driven Market
Companies are transforming data to actionable information and integrating analytics into business strategy.
Mobile, real-time, individualized data is coming at brands in Brazil faster than much of the rest of the world. As of 2013, about 100 million people were online in Brazil. The country was Facebook’s second largest market with about 65 million users. Today that number has grown significantly, hitting growth rates of 200% or more in monthly average usage per user in 2012. It is the largest market outside of the U.S. for YouTube, and is ranked in the top five markets for Twitter. Orkut, once far more popular than Facebook in Brazil, is still alive, but only recently fading into the background.
Rapid digital adoption goes beyond just social networks. Smartphone penetration grew 43% in the last year alone and mobile app use grew by 76% from 2013 to 2014 according to Yahoo’s Flurry. Apps for shopping were the most used in the the last year, increasing 174% in the last year alone.
The Internet of Things
IoT has created huge opportunity for brands to create more value to their individual customers.
The IoT is happening and happening faster than we can really predict, but in Brazil it’s happening in conjunction with the rise of mobile-enabled services through smartphones. Before connected homes take hold, mobile apps to make life easier are going to blow up all over Brazil. The use of mobile apps increased 115% in 2013 alone.
Cumbersome bureaucracy might hinder growth in some ways, it might also be the reason why Brazilians are adopting homegrown apps so quickly. Jeitinho is what Brazilians would call life-hacks. Literally meaning, “a little way,” jeitinho is about finding ways to make everything work, even if it’s a little outside the rules. The bureaucracy has made Brazilians accustomed to finding ways around middlemen, sometimes legally and sometimes not. But with the rise of digital and mobile services, jeitinho is moving from sometimes unfair shortcuts to legitimate improvements and efficiencies for the system.
Some of the most downloaded apps do exactly that. Muambator, an app that is supposed to help users find packages lost in the mail, and EasyTaxi, an app that solicits taxis which is no easy task by phone in Brazil, are two mobile apps that are breaking the paradigm and allowing users to access services more efficiently, by cutting out middlemen. Once the services are in place, they are quickly adopted and widely used.
Advertising is rapidly changing in Brazil as well. Programmatic media buying began to take hold in the first half of 2014 and will likely grow tremendously in 2015
Advertising budgets are changing, but in Brazil advertisers still have one of the world largest and most captive audiences through television. TV still accounts for upwards of 70% of ad spending in Brazil, Soccer matches and novelas (soap operas), garner the same kind of nationwide attention that only the likes of the Super Bowl can get in the the U.S. The buzz around these television events is online now too. 38% of Facebook users reported checking Facebook “all of the time” or “most of the time” while watching TV, according to a ComScore report, co-authored by Facebook. Coordinating social campaigns with TV advertising is especially important in Brazil.
YouTube is a growing influence for marketers as well. Some Brazilian stars have risen to fame through YouTube. Brands are seeing the opportunity as well. The comedy troupe, Portas dos Fundos — the Backdoors, became popular because of videos shamelessly making fun of bad customer service experiences at well-known brands. One company, Spoleto — a chain of fast food restaurants, found themselves at the butt of the Portas dos Fundos jokes and seized the opportunity. They actually paid Portas dos Fundos to create several sequels. Other companies, like Fiat, have jumped at the chance to be featured on the YouTube channel.
Brands will use better data and technology to deliver more relevant content, at the right time to better targeted users.
The rise of mobile access to social media platforms had had a huge impact on how brands can individualize messages. The opportunity in Brazil is enormous. Part of what makes social networks so successful in Brazil is that they fit so naturally with the very social Latin culture of the country.
“It’s common for someone to start talking to you in the elevator or in a restaurant just to start a conversation,” says Alexandre Hohagen, Vice President of Latin America at Facebook.
Social media just offers another channel for that social sharing.
Twitter says it sees increased activity during soccer matches and novelas. Knowing what people are talking about, where they are talking, and when they are talking becomes hugely valuable to brands. Brands everywhere need to start listening for those reactions and take action with authenticity and relevance.
All these trends fit into a larger global picture, but Brazil’s culture and history offer massive opportunities for global marketers. “These trends are part of a larger movement across Latin America. The region has so much potential for growth in digital and is rapidly adopting” says Guilherme Curi, strategic design consultant and former strategy director at Naked Communications Brazil. “It’s something in the Brazilian culture that make people want to adopt digital and mobile technology at the fastest rates anywhere in the world. Sharing, connecting, shopping, and bragging is what we love to do, and mobile just makes it easier”
For even more context, check out our Global Marketer’s Guide to Brazil.