Archives For Sao Paulo

We’ve been invited back to South America, to bring some w2fm thinking to a series of ‘insight and messaging’ training sessions, and it got us thinking about the importance of being relevant to your audience.

Insights are everywhere: if you know where to look.

It’s one thing to talk about relevance, but how do you work out exactly what relevance is? How will you know when you’ve found it? And what language will it be in?

As usual, we didn’t waste any time trying to come up with the answers ourselves – we just asked all of the really smart marketing, planning, creative and strategic people we knew how they go about discovering relevance.

There's a lot of good intel in the sales department - but how do marketers extract it?

Although the channels and techniques and methods varied (online listening posts; eavesdropping at conferences; buying a front-line sales guy a cup of coffee), all roads kept coming back to the audience, and a devastatingly simple process:

Step 1: Find them

Step 2: Listen


So we’ve collected the wisdom and put it in a framework that allows us to continue the ‘magpie approach’ of adding new twigs of information and ideas as we find them, continually building up a collection of tools and approaches to discovering relevance.

The result is The Relevance Engine and we unveiled the idea at a 2-day session in Sao Paulo, which revealed a whole bunch more “twigs” from the get-go. There was a feeling that our friends in Brasil already had access to a lot of customer insight and were ready to start combining their sources. We hit upon the idea of having a “hunch” and using the engine to collect the data to either support the hunch with facts, or find an entirely new customer insight.

I had a hunch this was lunch. I was wrong.

We’d also like it to be noted that the Paulistas are amongst the world’s most generous hosts – catering wise. It’s so much easier to facilitate a workshop wen everyone is fed and watered, so a huge thankyou goes out to the Brasil team on this score.

Already, we can see that rather than try to continually ‘develop’ and ‘refine’ The Relevance Engine as we go along, it seems more natural to allow local teams to ‘tune’ it to their local needs. Unsurprisingly, The Relevance Engine works best when it is allowed to become more relevant to the audience that is using it.

We have a couple more stops at Buenos Aires and Mexico City over the coming days, so we’ll write a little more about the engine plays out in these markets but, in the meantime, I’d like to ask you to help with some virtual performance tuning too:

“What’s your fail-safe method for discovering what is truly relevant to your audience?”

We’d been talking about a visit to the Latin-American markets for a while, but the final decision to go was extremely last-minute, timed to coincide with a few other meetings and get-togethers in various cities.

First stop was the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, which really has to be the ultimate urban mash-up: ornate European architecture, a vibrant street-art scene, developing-economy sprawl to the outskirts, the world’s highest density of old Puegots, and some of the most passionate approaches to driving I’ve ever witnessed. It’s no accident (pun intended) that this is the country that gave us Juan Manuel Fangio.


The team @ Buenos Aires choose to intersect "kids" and "celery"


The team at Ogilvy Buenos Aires did a superb job hosting and the local IBM clients really came to the party for a very lively workshop. Interestingly, there was a real willingness to use the session to cut to the heart of some of the process questions around briefing (and brief-writing), which is really important when you want to put collaboration into practice. The team were quick to grasp the importance of local insights and we moved quickly to discussions of where to find them & how to cultivate them – there was also plenty of interest in using The Bomb Squad as way to get more of the stakeholders and influencers involved in the messaging, up front.

Mexico City was the next stop, but I really can’t tell you much about this high-altitude city of over 21 million people – we spent a grand total of 13 hours in the country. Several of those hours, however, were spent with the IBM marketing team, learning about this high-growth market that is starting to detach from the US and become a major high-tech manufacturing player. Its these kind of markets – the ones in a period of change, emerging from the shadows of more powerful economies – that really do need insight-driven marketing. A global brand can only take you so far, particularly when your competitors have also recognised the growth potential of the local market.


There's always a need to tune in to local thinking.


I had been warned that the spirit of competition was alive and well amongst the people of Latin and South America, and the Mexico City edition of w2fm bore the maxim out. The game of “Features to Benefits” generated some real debate, and we even managed to squeeze in a quick game of “What’s My Motivation In This Scene?” that revealed some surprising local drivers in the server market. Again, this is the stuff that you simply can’t find in global guidance decks. We had time for a very quick sampling of the local fare before heading off to catch yet another plane.

We had a pretty big turn out for w2fm in Sao Paulo – probably as large as the crowd in Beijing – which can sometimes be a challenge in terms of generating interaction and participation. It’s a fact of human nature that it is easier to “hitch a ride” with a larger group. But the natural expressiveness and love of communication that my Brazilian friends had assured me were national traits won out and, pretty quickly, we got rolling. ┬áSome of the tools and games naturally ┬álend themselves to a bit of friendly competition, revealing why Brazilians are world champs in so many sports – they really put everything into it.


Proving that 2 heads are indeed better.


Collaboration is something that seems to come naturally in this part of the world – it’s a very inclusive culture. Perhaps the most striking thing about this high-velocity tour of South America was the just-below-the-surface tension between the raw creativity and innovation that defines so many growth markets, and the hierarchichal, process-driven nature of so many multinational organisations.

The companies that can loosen their processes enough to let local innovation shivne – and then encourage a culture of lateral, country-to-country sharing – will find real value in emerging and growth markets, beyond the obvious attraction of selling to new markets.

I did get to visit one more city, unintentionally, on my way home: Santiago looks beautiful, in a dramatic, just beneath-the-Andes kind of way, but is very hard to recommend as a half-day trip for the international visitor.

We spent way too much time in airports and on planes, but we also spent time with so many great new friends at some fabulous places, so don’t cry for me Argentina. One of the highlights of the downtime was this organised tour of Buenos Aires Street art:


In BA, you don't need permission to paint your own house like this, apparently


A film production company, near palermo Hollywood.

On the wall of a power station - the artists were invited by the power company.

graffitimundo runs informative, relaxed walking tours twice a week