For Marketers, ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Doesn’t Fit in Latin America
The world’s biggest brand marketers are seizing the opportunities that LatAm presents as a booming and emerging digital market, but many of them make the mistake of taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the entire region.
Effectively scaling a brand in LatAm requires — at a minimum — a critical understanding of cultural nuances, a keen awareness of differences by country, knowledge of formality of tone of voice, and comprehension of the intricacies of each country’s legalese and history.
McDonald’s: Showcasing local values
Tip to learn from: Taking a regional approach and then localizing it even further, through content, is a powerful way to be impactful in overseas markets.
McDonald’s serves more than 70 million customers in 119 countries, and a key contributor to the company’s global success is its understanding of each country’s cultural differences and needs. The brand places an importance on locally relevant marketing, menu innovations, service variations and sourced ingredients. For example, the menu in India features Masala Grill Burgers, and in Italy you can order a Mediterranean salad.
Diverse initiatives across the globe, from “It all comes together at Macca’s” in Australia, to the “Just Because” campaign in neighboring New Zealand, showcase the brand’s regional values — and its marketing approach in Latin America is no exception.
McDonald’s “Glad You Came” or #quebuenoqueviniste campaign in Latin America effectively showcased the LatAm consumer’s love and core cultural pastime of entertaining guests in their homes. The campaign emphasized these characteristics — consistent with its corporate values — by putting customers front and center, showcasing real patrons and emphasizing the cultures’ joy of hospitality. The campaign spanned across the region in countries including Colombia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico and Chile and featured real customers from each country in social media content.
— McDonald’s Colombia (@McDonaldsCol) February 19, 2014
— McDonalds Argentina (@McDonalds_Ar) February 13, 2014
Costa Rica :
— McDonald’s CR (@mcdonaldscr) March 10, 2014
Capturing local personalities regionalized the campaign in LatAm and made it resonate on a country-by-country basis. The fact that this campaign was specific to LatAm and no variation of it appeared in the U.S. further underlines its regional specificity.
Coca-Cola: Giving consumers in Argentina (and beyond) what they want
Tip to learn from: Research and deeply understand local customer demand to create locally tailored products, particularly in emerging markets.
Coca-Cola Company owns over 500 brands and is available in over 200 countries worldwide. One of the many factors that’s positioned the brand as a global leader is its ability to act strategically on local consumer demand and market trends.
A 2013 study from the Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange suggested that Argentinians and Chileans crave more eco-friendly products. Out of 24 countries surveyed, Argentineans demonstrated the most concern for the environment, with 70% agreeing that they care about the efforts of brands to help the environment and 52% agreeing that they would pay more for environmentally friendly products. The Chilean and Argentinean market is also ripe for lower-calorie alternatives, based on the regions’ resolve against obesity.
The Coca-Cola brand responded to this consumer demand and local market trend by launching a “natural” and therefore “green” lower-calorie cola, Coca-Cola Life, in November 2013. The beverage contains a mix of sugar and stevia, an extract from the leaves of a shrub indigenous to LatAm, and boasts a 60% reduction in calories. Coca-Cola Life bottles are also 100% recyclable and are comprised of up to 30% plant materials.
Since its launch in July, Coca-Cola Life has seen great response and growth, and its social channels are a great indicator of this: 35,000+ Twitter followers, 604,000 Facebook likes and over 8 million YouTube views at the time of this writing.
PUMA: Understanding Unique Cultural Histories
Tip to learn from: Insight into deep-rooted cultural and historical nuances is key to resonant and relevant marketing in emerging markets.
German sporting apparel and footwear brand PUMA has a global distribution base in over 130 countries. PUMA considers four cornerstones when designing products and presenting the brand: heritage, sport, technological innovation and design, and a focus on bringing distinctive designs and a global outlook to each product range.
This global perspective and focus on country heritage can be seen in many of its campaigns, and notably its ambitious “Ghost of 1950” (“El Fantasma del 50”) campaign in Latin America leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
In this highly successful campaign, PUMA took into account the long-standing sporting rivalry between Brazil and Uruguay as well as the region’s passion for soccer. The countries have been at odds since the last time Brazil hosted the World Cup in 1950, when Uruguay beat Brazil 2-1 in front of a record crowd of 200,000 on its home turf in the final match.
That event marked one of the biggest upsets in sports history, and the memory still haunts Brazilians 64 years later, which is where the “Ghost of 1950” comes in.
As the official sponsor of the Uruguayan team, PUMA pokes fun at Brazil’s storied 1950 loss (in the ad, a ghost in a big blue sheet — the color of Uruguay — terrorizes locals on the beach and on the streets). The campaign has been well received in Uruguay, and elicited a lot of response in Brazil, including a comeback video called, “Ghosts don’t exist,” from Brazilian newspaper Lance!.
The key here is that the PUMA made a huge impact by honing in on its focus on heritage and its understanding of the lay of the land in Latin America to engage consumers and drive word of mouth around their sponsorship of the Uruguayan team in Uruguay and beyond.