When companies decide to invest in Public Relations in Latin America – especially multinationals – they tend to see and understand the region as a unit, a large region in which all the countries have the same culture, a single language, and a single way of working. This perception is very common, and sometimes very difficult to deconstruct.
Based on our long experience in communication in several countries, we share some key points for brands that are interested in knowing more about the region. The number one tip for doing Public Relations in Latin America is to always keep in mind that each country has its peculiarities. In terms of content, in general, they are usually close and require only a small localization (insertion of relevant local information or examples that apply to that country) and adaptation of the Spanish language to reflect preferences and uses in each country. For example, a content in Spanish used in Argentina will not be exactly the same as the version of Mexico.
The importance of the local language
In the ideal world, no company would open an office in another country without having local employees and spokespeople fluent in the language spoken in the country. However, in the everyday real world, things are not quite like that. Often, businesses have spokespeople who speak only English, or who speak Portuguese and only scratch Spanish, or a third configuration: those who speak Spanish and try some Portuguese.
Especially when spokespeople speak only English, sometimes interview opportunities can be lost with the local press because many journalists know a little of the language but do not have the fluency to conduct an interview. In the case of radio and TV interviews, the issue is even more sensitive, since these media prioritize interviews in the local language. Therefore, it is essential to designate at least one spokesperson fluent in Spanish and another fluent in Portuguese to serve the Latin American press appropriately.
In an era where communication becomes more visual every day, it is imperative that companies make available images to support the content disclosed. Humans are, by nature, very visual beings. 30% of the brain is engaged in the task of processing visual information, while it devotes 8% to touch and 3% to hearing. Reading is a visual task, but we do not understand the texts as quickly as we understand images.
In Latin America, it is essential to provide a visual resource to the press. It can be product images, event images, headshots of the spokespeople, or illustrative arts.
Infographics occupy a prominent place and are warmly welcomed by the media throughout the region. In addition to being consumed by the press, they are valuable materials to be used in corporate social networks, after being published in the press.
Global researches X Local researches
One of the biggest challenges for the communication departments in companies operating in several countries is being able to contemplate all markets in their studies and researches. The cost to include multiple countries ends up being high, and does not fit the budget. And then the brands end up prioritizing those geographies that are more strategic at that time.
However, despite living in an increasingly globalized and connected world, local information and data are still more important than global information. Thus, large surveys applied only in the US and European countries, do not have strong appeal to the Latin American press. As well as studies conducted in only a few Latin American countries will not impact the press of those countries that were not included in it.
Working with a hub team for Public Relations in Latin America
Doing Public Relations in several countries simultaneously requires the project to be coordinated by a single team, in order to simplify the process for the client and optimize their time.
The hub team is responsible for direct contact with the customer interface (directors, managers and heads of communication and marketing), as well as the quality of the service as a whole. This means that emails, calls and messages regarding the planning and execution of the PR campaign in the region are handled and answered by the hub, not by other countries. For the customer, this is a very positive point, since it has a single team capable of updating it on any action, in any country, with agility.
At the other end, the hub is responsible for managing the work with each local team, monitoring the execution of the planned actions, solving team doubts, evaluating local press opportunities before reporting them to the client, reviewing and compiling local reports, transforming it in a single regional report, review and validate media briefings and send them to the client, hold conference calls with the teams, usually weekly or biweekly, to ensure the delivery of the work and keep up-to-date and aligned with each country.