A Particular Multiverse (The Expression of the Peruvian Identity)
By Claudio Ortiz
Managing Director of Millward Brown Peru
Nowadays, the huge economic growth that Peru has experienced during the last 15 years is not really the subject of debate. Nor is the re-appearance of a middle class, (which almost disappeared during the last part of the twentieth century), much of a talking point these days. However, here we examine a number of other, more recent developments – economic, behavioral and sociological – that are currently impacting upon brands in Peru.
The successful 'defense' of some local companies
There are many examples of local companies that have managed to maintain a strong position in the local market (despite the presence of some global giants), and are also becoming global themselves. This raises the question of why the 'giants' themselves have not been as successful in this market as in the rest of the countries of this region. The answer is that the Peruvian product breaks through by being supported by local consumers (loyal to the local product) and by globalization; it has its own models, which are now becoming successful abroad.
Besides the three strips, (the Coast, the Andes and the Jungle) huge differences are to be seen in the consumption habits among the various cities of this country (together with a certain homogeneity within each of them). Thus, you could conclude that for many categories, the leading actor in one city could be simply irrelevant in a nearby city.
The conducting of continual brand surveys in nearly 20 different cities may be a key to success for companies which do not think of Latin America as a country (with Buenos Aires or Mexico City as its capital) or of Peru as an 'extension' of Lima.
The speed of changes in behavior and the importance of 'word of mouth'
Even in the past, you would see sudden changes in the market share of some categories where the main driver was a word of- mouth rumor: "It's not good anymore" or "It seems they changed its flavor" are phrases that could generate significant behaviorial changes that were very hard to reverse. This, in a market that is adapting rapidly to digital processes and virtual social networks, is an increasingly important factor.
The millennials in Peru
Because the economic resurgence happened when today's youngsters were just babies, the generation gap appears to be even greater. For the first time, Peru faces a transversal generational phenomenon. Young people with a 'millennial' attitude have grown up in a society that, despite still being poor, has grown continuously – and this has happened in a context where parents raise their kids trying to forget the past. The effects of this social revolution are just beginning to be seen.
The new source of economic growth in Peru
Although the local economy is not growing as quickly as in the previous decade, it remains healthy. A couple of years ago, this growth started to be noticeable in the provinces. Now it is the turn of Arequipa, Huancayo, Trujillo and Piura (among others) and it is clear that consumers in these cities are quite different in regard to their behaviors, values and, a lot of the time, their choice of brands.
What should brands do to engage with such a diverse consumer? What should they do in this era of evolution, as we face the challenge of the digitalization of brand communications? These perhaps are the key questions marketing will have to answer in order to keep brands growing in this society.