This article was originally published in June 2017 and has been updated.
Brazil, once home to an economic boom, has been in a recession since 2013, and consumers have opted to hold onto their well-earned cash, buying cheaper products and decreasing luxury spending.
Of course, with a population of over 200 million, Brazil will still draw global companies—but with the recession, that consumer base can be tough to crack open, and localization is essential, both for products and business connections.
One of the best ways to understand a country and develop a localization strategy for it is to analyze its cultural dimensions. ULG covered the basics of the six cultural dimensions in full here, and the analysis of a country is based on the national culture study. Taking these into account, let’s take a look on how to create a key localization strategy that focuses on the cultural dimensions of Brazil.
High Power Distance
Brazil has a high power distance, meaning that the society recognizes and respects the differences and inequalities that occur in life, especially in regards to wealth, class, and age. In businesses, hierarchy is critical, and there is typically one boss who has complete responsibility. Their word is law, and any potential disagreements from subordinates are carried out in private to show respect.
With age, the elderly are respected, and children are expected to take care of their elderly parents. In Brazil, caring about family is crucial.
Brazilians care deeply about family, both immediate and extended. Loyalty is expected from everyone in the family, and that loyalty is rewarded with a robust family unit. Taking that into account, Brazil is a collectivist society, where strong, identifiable groups are vital and encouraged.
These family dynamics also can be seen within the workplace. Nepotism is actively encouraged, since bringing in a family member can lead to a dedicated, trustworthy employee. In the business world, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on deep, long-lasting high-context relationships. Typically, friendship and hospitality are highly prized traits within Brazil’s collectivist culture.
Brazilian society has a measured response to what motivates its populace. As a country with intermediate masculinity, Brazil places importance on masculine and feminine aspects of life. Brazil wants to exhibit masculine dimensions through being the best (emphasizing achievement, competition, and success) and feminine dimensions through quality of life (happiness, teamwork, harmony, and empathy).
High Uncertainty Avoidance
With its high uncertainty avoidance dimension, Brazil tries to control its future through numerous rules and laws. Ambiguous situations worry Brazilians, and a legalistic system gives structure to daily life. This high uncertainty avoidance can be seen in many other Latin American countries.
While individually some of these rules and laws aren’t necessarily followed, they allow for an overall structured lifestyle for most Brazilians, and one that focuses on enjoying life through relaxation, celebration, good friendships, and displaying emotion and passion.
Intermediate Long-Term Orientation
When considering the challenges of both the present and future, societies usually have two options: keep to time-honored traditions and set standards within the culture, or pragmatically change their culture to fit the future.
Brazil ranks almost squarely in the middle in this dimension, meaning that the country goes with both approaches in equal amounts. In relation to its high uncertainty avoidance, Brazil can be suspicious of change and will use old methods to answer current predicaments.
However, Brazilian society also understands that the world is constantly evolving with new issues. As a result, Brazil also tries to direct some of its resources to educating the population on these issues. This can be seen in Brazil’s acceptance of the internet, with a total population of nearly 140 million users connected to the digital world. Globally, Brazil comes in 6th in terms of internet users in a country, and social media has quickly become popular, especially with the younger generation.
While recent recessions have certainly dampened Brazil’s impulsive buying tendencies, the Brazilian spirit won’t be quelled in the long run. A high indulgence suggests that Brazilians’ emotional, passionate nature lends itself toward enjoying life. Despite financial strains, Brazilians still believe in living life to the fullest through leisure time, having fun, and splurging occasionally.
Localization Strategy Using the Cultural Dimensions of Brazil
Based off those dimensions, there are several key points that a company must hit upon when creating a localization strategy for Brazil.
Be sure to understand the written and unwritten rules and laws that Brazilians use to govern themselves. These are highly important to Brazilians, and should be at the forefront of your localization efforts.
Recognizing and acknowledging the power distances that revolve around wealth, class, and age will be a critical factor, as will focusing on a collectivist perspective. An individualistic strategy won’t resonate with a Brazilian audience.
With Brazil’s indulgence in leisure and fun activities, your localization efforts will be much more successful if you incorporate these concepts.
Finally, both the masculinity and long-term orientation dimensions are intermediate, which means that when localizing, you could go down either path, but make sure that you’re keeping it middle of the road. Since these dimensions are average, overdoing it in one direction or the other could be off-putting for a Brazilian audience.
By taking the cultural dimensions of Brazil into account, you’ll be able to create a localization strategy that will concentrate on what Brazilians care about, even from a subconscious level.