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Spotlight on Brazil: Five Effective Public Relations Tips for Entering the Brazilian Market

Entering new markets. however much you prepare, almost always involves surprises.

The excitement and adrenaline of the challenge can cloud logic and judgement. It’s the old profit dilemma that such expansion creates. The desire to control outcomes, manage expenses and ensure profits can create unnecessary obstacles and hamper innovation and creativity.

One of the most commonly used ways to try to avoid these pitfalls is use your own prior public relations experience. It’s the “if it worked at home, it will work here” syndrome. Unfortunately, it’s a naive simplification which has a high cost to both executives and companies. It is the belief that the skill and ability to create sophisticated public relations strategies which work in one market will achieve the same results in other markets.

With over twenty years providing effective PR to foreign firms in Brazil, I have seen this happen with alarming frequency. Although on the surface, the structures and relationships of press and of PR services appear to fairly similar around the world, how they work in practice is quite different.

For example, in some countries sending small gifts to reporters value – like a mug with your corporate logo – is regarded as a nice gesture. In others, it can be viewed with contempt or even suspicion. And in some countries the lack of a gift of real value is regarded with contempt.

Here are five tips for effective public relations outreach in Brazil:

You’ve invested a lot of time and energy in selecting a public relations agency in country, now listen to their advice. Whether positive or negative, the advice you are receiving will help further your business. Second guessing based on the “it’s not what we do here” syndrome will not help you. Their goal is to get you widespread coverage for your brand. Trust them.

You know that awesome press release product launch that you are using in the US? Well throw it away. At least in Brazil. Releases full of adjectives and quotes from the CEO are viewed with disdain by Brazilian journalists. The text format used in Brazil is more direct and objective. And qualitative information in the text must be verifiable: if you say that your service is "a leader in the Japanese market", you should have verifiable data to prove it.

Provide numerical and statistical data to help Brazilian journalists understand the position of your company in the market. Brazilian journalists are sensitive to billing information, investment values, growth and other similar data showing the positioning of your company and its potential. This holds true even for releases where you are simply talking about a new venture.

Even if you think your business is important, and is well known in other markets, do not assume that Brazilian journalists are familiar with it. Unless you work for an established global brand like Apple or Boeing, people tend to value their own internal references and domestic market brands rather than foreign brands. You will need to approach your public relations efforts, particularly for a new product or venture, by informing and educating first.

Learn to listen. Nowadays it is hard to get the attention of a reporter or editor in Brazil. If you have the opportunity to give a long interview, at a luncheon for example, use more of your time to understand what the journalist would like to have on hand to write an article about your company, products or investments. The exercise of listening in these situations is as important as what you would like to convey to the journalist. Listenening and understanding the journalist’s needs can be the difference between coverage or no coverage.

Lastly, try to stay away from gifts. They risk being are misperceived and if any media outlet offers editorial advantage in exchange for paid advertising space, consult your public relations agency. As in the US, this is unusual with most media outlets in Brazil.


Mauricio is a Journalist with more than 20 years of professional expertise. Founder of PR agencies as Preview Comunicações and Allameda.com, he has also worked for some of the most important and influential Brazilian media groups as Folha de S. Paulo and Jornal do Brasil newspapers.


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