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Brand Relevance: Key to Implementing Winning Strategies

For all strategies, the greater challenge in Latin America is to build a brand strategy. The cycles of economic expansion and contraction in the region have clearly changed the consumer market landscape. In their search for value, Latin American consumers are scrutinizing every decision made in the marketplace. The shortening and intensity of economic cycles in recent years have created greater uncertainty.

As reviewed in Chapter 5, firms have to invest in offering consumer value that is relevant to the Latin consumer situation. Consumer relevance in these markets, however, is a challenging task. The region is a mosaic of cultures and languages, and its population is at different stages of transformation. In large countries such as Brazil and Mexico, different parts of the country are markets on their own. The rich and emerging Latin market in the United States can be tapped in many different ways. For some Mexican companies, such as Mexico's Gruma, the U.S. Latino market is an extension of its home base. For others, such as Telecom Argentina, the strategy may be one of capturing the telecommunications flows between the United States and the Southern Cone.

Building a brand architecture for Latin markets requires meeting the economic, trust, belonging, and comfort values that consumers demand. The brand strategy for integrators also requires breaking out of the vicious cycle of commoditization and continuous price discounts through migration to the middle market and aiming at the largest market segment. Specialists by nature will aim at either the high or low end of the market. Given that the fundamental architecture is effective, the brand strategy can be localized to the mosaic of market situations that characterizes Latin markets. In some categories, such as telecommunication or energy services, the localization will be minimum. In other categories, such as consumer goods, high localization across the region and within the country will be necessary.

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