Brazil has the tenth largest economy by nominal GDP, but they climb the rankings to seventh in regards to purchasing power parity. It is the largest economy in Latin America and the second-largest in the Western hemisphere — larger than both Canada and Mexico.
As you must be aware, next summer Brazil will be hosting the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Wouldn’t it be great if you could enter this exciting and exotic market? In order to do so, this will give you an overview of the Brazilian business culture with a focus on how to localize your business, to be the foundation of your success.
Although there are issues in Brazil's economy, some of the problems stem from shy investors. The Brazilian market is a dynamic economy, though, with plenty of potential. Last year, they hosted the Football World Cup and next year it will be the turn of the Olympics. Those are two behemoth marketing opportunities that should see a noticeable influx in Brazil's economy. Let alone all the festivities such as the famous Brazilian carnival and so on!
Business in Brazil can be quite fun as the country adopts a jovial attitude, one of their notable cultural identities, which is why you should think about the unique culture to successfully localize.
Here are the cultural differences you need to be aware of before moving to the Brazilian market!
1. Brazilian population — Brazil's population is one of the World’s most varied and diverse, being a very youthful. In fact, with a population of about 200 million people, 62% of Brazilians are under 29 years of age. Knowing this particularity, you can implement the right strategy to target a special segment of the population. For instance, the youth market can be quite profitable for you!
2. Brazilian business relationships — In Brazil people are usually affectionate and tactile. Don’t be shocked if they seem friendly while you feel that you barely know them. However, don’t under-dress when going for an event, as it is better to over-dress than to appear casual. Also, Brazilians tend to deal with individuals and not companies. A lot of importance is put on personal contact, so you may need to visit several times before securing a deal.
3. Brazilian consumers’ trend — A general observation is that Brazilian consumers are impulse purchasers. Brazilians don’t use as much e-commerce to purchase products. Moreover, credit and debit cards are not as common with cash being the main form of payment. If you want to export or open a company there, it would be advised to expect a lot of physical money to deal with. Do, however, keep in mind that trends are evolving; for instance, the payment solutions mentioned above are currently growing in popularity.
4. Communication — The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. Learning Portuguese isn’t as difficult for anyone fluent in a European language due to its similarity. If you show that you are willing to learn the language, it will show that you get involved in not only business but also their culture. It is recommended you learn the language to fit within the Brazilian market.
5. Concerning humour — It could be said that when you understand the humour of a nation you understand it entirely, it is like the final piece of a puzzle. Brazilians’ sense of humour is generally focused on making fun of each other just to have a good laugh. Don’t take it seriously if it happens to you! People are usually very comfortable with expressing themselves and their feelings.
Now let’s move on to the tips to localize your company in order to break into the Brazilian market!
1. Localize your Website!
The first step is to translate the content of your website into Brazilian Portuguese which isn’t totally similar to Portuguese spoken in Portugal. They obviously share a lot of similarities, but be aware of transatlantic differences when translating.
In fact, even if many people are fluent in English, your translated website will be more appealing and you’ll be able to reach more cyber-citizens. Also, your website needs a Brazilian URL or domain, because it is essential for you to appear on the first Google pages when people do research.
Some tips: I would advise you to mention your Skype contact details on your Brazilian website. Unlike Amerian businesses that use e-mails and phone numbers, Brazilian companies are more likely to call you on Skype. It is probably due to the size of their country but also the fact that they prefer face-to-face contact.
2. How to advertise?
You need to take into account the aspects of the Brazilian culture to be successful when doing commercials there. It isn’t enough to translate when advertising. A general trend is that funny TV commercials work better than others. Finally, Brazilian advertising agencies are known to be some of the most talented in the world, so it is advised you take advantage of it and make a catchy commercial there.
3. Globalize your products and services.
Implementing market studies and research to adapt your services and products to the Brazilian market is essential to be integrated.
- Concerning services, the best way is to hire native Portuguese speakers to be sure that you deliver services that match your clients’ needs. Also, think about the name of your company: it should appeal to the Brazilian demographic and not be too Anglicised. It is very important so that the customers easily remember you.
- If you sell goods, you should consider the design, the composition, and the packaging of your product. Concerning the design, the best way to localise it is to lead a survey to take into account the local tastes and preferences of the Brazilian market. Regarding the composition of your product, it would be smart to use local materials so that the cost of your products remains affordable. Finally, concerning the packaging, you should change the name of your product so it sounds more Portuguese. You also need to translate the ingredients or the instruction manuals written on the packaging so people are kept informed about what they buy. A famous example of localization is the name of the cheese “The Laughing Cow” that was changed into “A vaca que ri” in Brazil.
In brief, localising isn’t just about being understood, it’s about making clients feel at home. Brazil is a huge market full of opportunities that can be easily captured by the right adventurer. If you understand their culture and localise your offer, everything is gathered to make your business win over this exciting Brazilian market!