When I moved to Latin America over 10 years ago, I was told that my great grandfather (British) had travelled to Brazil from the UK over a hundred years before; it was my grandmother’s way of telling me that I was not the only one in my family to be attracted to South America and the great opportunities it held.
People and organizations are informed by the experiences of the people, companies and products that came before. We can’t help it. We walk with our ancestors every day in the conscious and subconscious choices we make and the languages we speak.
As a consultant, I have the opportunity to work with many different organizations and “walk with them” as they enter or expand their presence in Latin America.
One of the most important things I have learnt is to understand, at the outset, what ties the business to Latin America or the geographical markets they are entering. Even if the organization has no direct experience in the region, what is it in their DNA that makes them “Latin American” — able to be understood, respected, and sought out, by Latin Americans? I’m not talking about trying to transform companies into something they are not but rather looking for “relatable” stories that can be shared and enjoyed by future stakeholders.
I have seen companies with no local partners do very well — if and when they are able to tell a compelling story about their connection to Latin America or the country, city, community they are interacting with.
If you are interested in Latin America – or entering a new market – what stories do you have that tie you to that market?
Let me close this post on a personal note. Above, you will see a photo of my sister, Dr. Leah Clark and me in Pakistan in 2005. We are just outside Peshawar on the border with Afghanistan in the North West Frontier Province; where my father was born just before Partition in 1947. Below you will see a video by Google that has been shared widely in 2013.
When I talk about walking with our ancestors, I talk about finding out what makes us, them, the world “tick” so that we can create more valuable collaborative experiences.