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A timely reminder of a fundamental PR truth

Research and investment in a communications strategy that recognises multiculturalism is absolutely vital for businesses wanting to access and succeed in the Latin American market.

That was the message from the Deputy Head of Mission for the Embassy of Nicaragua to the UK and Ireland, Ricardo Carioni, who was the guest speaker at this year’s CIPR International Maggie Nally Memorial Lecture, held in London last week.

It should come as no surprise to those engaged in cross border corporate communications (including financial services, my particular area of interest), with a significant and growing number of firms looking to grow business flows with the region.

The Latin American region is a real growth market – the number of High Net Worth Individuals in the region grew 7.5% in 2016, and their wealth grew 8.2% (World Wealth Report), significant jumps on previous years.

However, Ricardo’s message was a timely reminder of the importance of a true understanding of diverse stakeholders and that getting a communications strategy right can make all the difference when it comes to a business venture being successful or not. He pointed to the example of a mining company which failed simply because research to underpin their communications strategy was not carried out properly.

Of course, this is a universal truth for firms looking to engage successfully in new overseas regions - whether Latin America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East or Africa.

Just as Latin America is a mosaic of cultures, diversity in these other geographically diverse markets can prove a real challenge to a communications strategy.

Latin America, for instance, is increasingly defined by industrialisation and greater urbanisation, with rising rates of smart tech adoption (9/10 people in Latin America connect to the internet through mobile devices and the number of Latin Americans buying goods/services online has nearly doubled in the last five years).

At the same time, however, green living is rapidly in the rise in the region, and traditional relationships and a personable approach remain absolutely vital.

There is a real need to listen carefully to the market, do research properly and tailor your approach. A one size fits all approach simply won’t do, and certainly tacking a communications plan at the end of a process is just not good enough.

It sounds simple, but too often cross border efforts can come unstuck simply because not enough focus has been afforded to understanding stakeholders.

Yes, this sort of research takes effort but it’s fundamental to business success. Those firms with international aspirations, whether in Latin America or elsewhere, would do well to remember that.

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