As part of a series of blogs that gets under the skin of the communications industry in different regions, Helen Holland, Founder of the Global PR Network and Chameleon, interviews Pedro Cadina, Founder and President of our Latin American partner, VIANEWS.

HH – Pedro, what is the most important thing a company from another country needs to know, to be successful in PR in Latin America?

PC – Well first of all people need to remember that Latin America is a very big place and there are lots of countries that make up the area. They speak different languages, have different areas of expertise and some of them are on different time zones. So the main thing is that you treat each country separately, know the audience and use the right channels to speak to them – that’s the same the world over.

In the technology field, the main hubs are Brazil, Mexico and Chile. I am based in Brazil, which although is going through it’s own challenges right now, it is a great country and is an exciting and constantly changing place to work in.

HH – How has external communications in Brazil changed over the last few years? What are the most important trends?

PC – Every year, VIANEWS sends out a questionnaire to agencies in South America. Some of the key trends include:

  1. PR and communications is growing in the region, with the Olympics and the World Cup it is seen as an exciting area for brands. The technology sector is also expanding
  2. Social media is a growing sector, we have been late to the trend as social media has been incredibly important for many years in other countries, but in Brazil and across Latin America, this is a key growth area
  3. Events, especially around Rio are increasing. In some parts of Latin America you have to invite the commercial director along to an event if you also want a journalist to come. It is quite different from other countries, but because of this, if you have the space, events are still well attended
  4. Media relations is becoming more challenging, this is something that is happening the world over. Journalists are increasingly interested in bylines, but this is quite a change for us and getting the balance between client content and wider thought leadership is something we are constantly having to consult our client on.

HH – In London and Europe we have areas of key tech activity, like Silicon Roundabout, Silicon Alley in Israel etc. Where are the hotspots for you?

PC – The key focus is software here. Lots of companies are buying software from Brazil. In the wider Latin American region, there are four key cities – Florianópolis, Recife, Campinas and Sao Paulo in Brazil. We also have Santiago de Chile, in Chile. Chile is becoming increasingly active in the software space.

HH – How has digital changed your work as an agency?

PC – As I said earlier, social is becoming increasingly important for us. The number one platform in Brazil is Facebook, but this is only really for your personal life and it isn’t a place for business conversations. Twitter isn’t that important in Brazil. LinkedIn is key from a B2B perspective. For the youth audience, it’s all about Whatsapp, Snapchat and Instagram, if it isn’t visual, they aren’t interested. Periscope isn’t big in Brazil yet, but video is increasingly important, so I am looking forward to seeing what happens with that.

Blogs and portals are the other incredibly important area. Humorous blogs are the biggest area but after that blogs on sport, football and fashion.

We have to be constantly monitoring and consulting on which is the best platform to engage with our client’s audiences. Given the focus on visuals we are creating more images and videos, this doesn’t mean infographics, this means exciting and engaging content.

HH – Why is it worth investing in PR in Brazil?

PC – There is a lot happening in Brazil, the World Cup and the Olympics means it is an exciting time and there is a great opportunity for brands here at the moment.

With Latin America and Brazil being so diverse, it is important that a brand really knows the area and understands the trends. Some people come to us and say they have “global” content, there is no such thing. Only by producing content and communications tailored for the area will you have real success.

We have a BBQ every other month and everyone is welcome, so if you find yourself in São Paulo and would like to drop by on a Friday for a chat, please feel free.

About Pedro: Founder president of VIANEWS and communications expert, Peter Cadina has developed public relations policies in Latin America for brands like Gallup, Epson, Heidelberg, Capgemini, Bank ABC Brazil, GE, Brazil Energiesdo Bandeirante Energy, NEC and Monster.

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