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Three Questions on LANMARQ

Interbrand's Lindsay Beltzer sits down with Gonzalo Brujó, Chairman of Interbrand Latin America & Iberia and author of Lanmarq, La nueva economía de las marcas latinas (the new economy of Latin American brands)

Lanmarq, your newest book, presents an overview of the history and evolution of Latin American and Iberian brands. In what ways has the brand landscape in these countries changed the most in recent years?

At Interbrand, we always try to stay one step ahead in leading brands and branding conversation, and our ability to lead in the Spanish-speaking world is no exception.

Latin America is undergoing fascinating changes. Given the market’s current socioeconomic environment, we project that in the next 10 to 15 years many industries will deregulate, which will enable freer operations in the energy, gas, and water sectors, among others, which will in turn produce greater mergers and acquisitions between companies. Current brands as we know them will disappear and new ones will emerge. The booming economy that could result will, hopefully, encourage solid investments in marketing and communications and pave the way for brands to be created and managed successfully. Mexico alone, for example, has undergone several drastic reforms in all sectors, which will affect their local branding landscape.

Also, as the digital breach in most Latin American countries is slowly decreasing (according to a study defining the Digital Future in Latin America by ComScore, Sept. 2014, there are 176.3 million online users in Latin America), brand digitalization, omnichannelity, and the omnipresence of digital and technological devices has been key in many Latin American markets, enabling brands to express and implement strategies digitally and generate 360º experiences for their local customers. Digital is also making it possible for customers overseas to learn about and access new brands, even when those brands are not yet present in their markets.

Latin America has become an attractive destination for global businesses seeking to grow both their market share and footprint. In your opinion, which leading local, regional, and global brands have most successfully introduced, developed, and grown their brands in Latin America? 

Many brands are leading their sectors in Latin America and have implemented outstanding best practices globally. Lanmarq analyzes more than 1,000 brands, all relevant in their fields. Just to name a few examples, the analysis includes brands like the Peru-based AJE Group, the largest multinational beverage company, with a presence in over 20 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, which, according to Fortune (please include cover page of Fortune attached in the email), could become the next Coca-Cola. Also featured is the holding group of Lan and Tam, which will create a merged airline that will be able to expand its presence in Europe, along with industrial conglomerates such as Brazil’s Odebrecht (one the biggest internationalized Latin American construction corporations) and Votorantim, as well as Mexico’s ICA and Cemex, and Peru’s Graña y Montero.

Various Latin American banks have also successfully developed and grown their brands in Latin America and are slowly but surely becoming international. The most outstanding examples are Itaú, Banorte, Bancolombia and Banco Pacífico.

To highlight a few more standout brands in various sectors:

Pollo Campero, Flor de Caña, Bimbo and Café de Colombia in the beverage and food industries are increasing their influence in the region and across the world. Venezuelan chocolate brand El Rey and Ecuador-based Pacari are also increasing their presence globally, and Mexican beer brand Corona, ranked 93 in Best Global Brands 2014, is one of the biggest beer companies in the world.

In the telecom sector, Claro is strongly competing in the region with Telefónica.

Retailers Falabella y Cencosud will enter the Chilean market for the first time, thanks to its thoughtful expansion strategies. And the popular Brazilian footwear brand, Havaianas, is becoming a huge success internationally.

Argentina’s food manufacturer and coffee chain, Havanna, and online marketplace, Mercado Libre, are also carrying out very interesting work with their respective brands. And Peruvian yarn manufacturer, Grupo Michell, regarded as a pioneer in the Alpaca industry worldwide , is also increasing its offer internationally.

The book’s title, Lanmarq, is a combination of “Latin American Networks” and “marq”—an adaptation of the word “marca,” the Spanish word for brand. The title also evokes the English word “landmark,” a distinguishing feature of a particular landscape or a significant event. In that sense, the book sheds light on Latin American and Iberian brands that have “made their mark” through innovation, growth, and unique brand experiences. Despite differences between regions and individual countries, how can local brands continue to expand their presence and influence beyond their category or home market?

“Glocalisation” is key. Latin American companies will need to maintain the global identities consumers and clients around the world recognize, while also striving to remain relevant to local customers. Adapting offers to local markets will be necessary since customers tend to gravitate toward what is familiar as well as the history and heritage of their preferred brands.

Local brands will need to select the products they are introducing and the market they are entering wisely by carefully analyzing what competitors are doing. They will also need to attract the best talent to manage their brand in order to reinforce their positioning in the market and implement their brand consistently through a solid marketing and communications strategy.

In order to be successful, local Latin American brands will also need to be innovative and define a digital portfolio to differentiate their products and services. The digital world has proved to be crucial, allowing local brands to access a global audience at the click of a mouse, so to speak. Highlighting outstanding local brands, a study carried out by Interbrand Brazil has identified key trends that all brands can replicate and use to grow.

Eventually, however, local Latin American brands need to look at the larger picture and define a regional or even an international expansion strategy that will secure a prosperous future.

LID Editorial has published the new title in both print and e-book formats (available for purchase through iTunes, Google Play, and Blue Bottle Biz) and plans to roll out English and Brazilian Portuguese editions in 2015. 

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