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Global Practices

The Challenges of Globalization for Brazilian Brands

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The Trust Barometer special supplement on emerging countries accurately delves into the major aspects influencing the development of Brazil-based companies within the global market.

Historically and generally speaking, the Made in Brazil label is usually not a contributing factor in the country’s competitiveness within the international scenario. A recognized exporter of commodities, its trade balance is scarcely based on high-value added products and services.

According to the study, Brazil is ahead of the other emerging countries in terms of confidence regarding designation of origin. However it is still very far away from the developed countries. The reasons are clear.

First, there is a strong connection between prosperous Brazilian brands and the government. When considering the low level of developed market trust in Brazilian government officials, this public-private connection does a disservice to local brands.

Brazilian companies face another important challenge: the conquest of awareness. Low brand awareness is undoubtedly a barrier to building large-scale trust, and that can limit potential for generating new revenue in an economic scenario of narrow perspectives and strong competition.

The companies, however, lead the way in terms of international knowledge of Brazilian CEOs: the president of Petrobras*, Graça Foster, is top of mind both among developing and developed countries. High-level executives at Brazilian companies carry the arduous task of being ambassadors of their brands, since they are credible spokespeople for 76 percent of the public in developed countries. These high level executive are joined by employees – who are also essential in their roles as builders of corporate culture – and academics and experts – who are third-parties and therefore more credible.

Building trust in Brazil has operational and behavioral barriers. Quality, privacy and workers’ rights are some of the tangible issues that can diminish trust for the country’s brands. This is a result of several competitive barriers, which include high taxes, structural deficit and insufficiently trained labor, among other problems.

For brands, it is necessary to go beyond business transactions. Empowered citizens want a major transformation, that requires a change of behavior.

In a world where leadership is in crisis, the path for Brazilian brands lies in incorporating three dimensions:

  1. Identity: without awareness of purpose, values, attributes and positioning, it is not possible to be different, genuine and mobilizing.
  2. Attitudes: talk is not enough. A platform of daily actions that deliver on the brand promise is required.
  3. Engagement: based on inspiration and action, it is possible to establish relevant connections with stakeholders, both internally and externally, and online and offline.

The scenario is increasingly clear. There is no other way for Brazilian brands but to act.

*Edelman Client

Rodolfo Araújo is knowledge, innovation and research director in the São Paulo office.

Image by L.C.Nøttaasen.
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