Reflections on Reputation in LATAM from ESOMAR 2018

I recently had the privilege to be keynote speaker at the ESOMAR Latin American Conference in Buenos Aires. As you may already know, The European Society for Opinion and Market Research (ESOMAR) is the gold standard of research best practices and insight mfeatured image ESOMARining, and is strongly associated with ethical codes of conduct when it comes to surveying techniques.

The Market Intelligence Festival for Latin American (MAIN FEST LATAM) was an especially inspiring event in which to participate. Beyond the new learning, intellectual curiosity, and positive energy that was part of the event activities, I was especially taken by the level of strategic smarts of the other presentations – all of which were of high quality. As I was reflecting upon what I was exposed to as a participant and based on what I absorbed, saw, and heard, the following suddenly dawned on me: put simply, nearly all roads from insight lead to reputation.

Or thought about another way, whether a company is looking to enhance its brand through purpose, by effectively engaging its employees, or by working to deeply inspire and motivate its core customers, it all adds up to the same thing. Learning about how to more effectively manage brands, businesses, or even countries, and taking appropriate actions based on that insight is the means to the end of enhancing reputation.

But what was also apparent from the MAIN FEST LATAM, is that there is no one solution fits all approach for enhancing reputation in the region. Indeed, quite the contrary is true. Given the diversity of apparent culture, heritage, and indigenous complexity that exists on a country-by-country level, corporate and integrated marketing communicators would be making a major mistake if they tried to execute one strategy in LATAM.

Our very own RepTrak® data is, in part, the proof of the inadequacies of a universal LATAM strategy. In looking at what’s important in driving reputation in the rest of the world vs. LATAM, two things become immediately apparent.

First off, the weight of importance in reputation among LATAM varies significantly versus the rest of the world. And secondly, among the LATAM countries (when we compare Mexico versus Brazil as an example), there are differences in the driver weights of reputation.

Differences in Weight of Importance: Rest of World vs. LATAM

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As part of my ESOMAR keynote presentation, I went much more deeply into explaining some of these unique differences and for your interest, included a short video of my entire dialogue below. But as much as I was able to identify some key differences, I also tried to identify some key themes that are pertinent for home country-based- vs. multi-national-companies relative to the opportunity to enhance reputation.

How Companies Can Win in LATAM – Key Lessons Learned

Given the headwinds and macro-economic forces at large companies can look to develop strategies around four key themes to enhance reputation.

  1. Establishing trust is key to building a strong reputation – with counterforces of mistrust in play, companies that engender trust can reputationally outperform the competition to garner more support
  2. Need to take a market-by-market approach to reputation strategy – act local, think local, while leveraging global best practices in reputation managements
  3. Creating national pride can be a differentiator especially in a World Cup year, building a sense of patriotism and societal influence can yield home country advantage
  4. Be a champion of Corporate Social Responsibility – companies who can authentically communicate and activate upon social and environmental responsibility will ultimately win

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