Sunday, September 4, 2011

Catch the Brazilian Wave

August 30, 2011 | by Marcos Lacerda

Brazil has enjoyed an unusual amount of economic success in the last few years, despite the world's economic situation. The liquidity crisis in 2008-09 barely affected the nation. In fact, the GDP grew 7.5 % in 2010 and is expected to increase by 4% in 2011.

A few years ago, Brazil was the 10th GDP in the world. Now it is the seventh. Ours is a very affluent society, especially in the biggest cities. That is exemplified by the prominence of luxury goods. For example, Brazil is the second-largest market for Montblanc products globally. And São Paulo is the only city in the world to have three Tiffany stores. Brazil also created the second fleet of helicopters and private jets in the world. But this strength can also be seen in terms of income distribution. In the past eight years, almost 30 million people joined the middle class in Brazil.

But the greatest news is that the economy will be driven even further because Brazil is becoming the epicenter of sports in the coming years. The two biggest sporting events in the world will take place here: the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in Rio 2016. But that's not all. We have the Confederations Cup in 2013, plus a series of world championships from different sports modalities which will be part of the games in 2015, as part of the tests of the Olympic facilities.

The most important athletes, the greatest idols, press, authorities and -- most important of all -- FANS will be heading to Brazil and, right after them, great brands and huge investments.

This environment will bring enormous opportunity. Take a look at the global sports industry. It moves $1 trillion a year. How much of that goes to Brazil? Only 3%. Imagine what will happen with the proximity of the forthcoming events -- investments shall increase at an incredibly fast pace. World Cup and Olympics will have a direct impact on the country's economy of an estimated $60 billion, with huge upward projections for the next 20 years.

The country has begun its transformation in anticipation of the upcoming events. Stadiums and arenas are being refurbished. And plans for modernizing our infrastructure, like airports and subways, are finally being approved. The Brazilian business environment is feverish with these opportunities and is creating relationships with confederations, athletes and sponsorship consultancies. It is a brand new world to be explored with a focus on marketing strategy, activations and events.

So how can businesses and brands take advantage of this perfect storm? First, there needs to be a focus on the behavior and consumption drives of sports fans. The new generation of fans interact with sports in both Physical and Digital arenas. This universe is what we call the Phygital world. The ultimate mission for brands should be to direct all efforts and initiatives towards turning sports fans into brand fans. This is the key to marketing success across all of the upcoming sporting events in Brazil.

But, dealing with Brazilian fans can be tricky. 
Here are a few tips:
  • First of all, Brazil is located in Latin America, but has a personality all its own. The country is filled with Portuguese-speaking people that do not identify themselves with Argentines, Colombians or Peruvians. So if you want to be there, you need to think locally. Do not try to simply transplant a good strategy that worked in Mexico or Uruguay; if you do so, you are flirting with disaster.
  • In Brazil, people have a hearty sense of humor. If something bad happens, rest assured, it won't take someone very long to make a joke about it. Therefore, a humorous approach to marketing is half the battle in achieving success in our country.
  • Finally, Brazilians are absolutely passionate about soccer. The National Team yellow t-shirt is considered almost sacred amongst the population. Brazil is the only country to be a five-time world champion, and its citizens are very proud of this achievement. 
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