Latin America 2012 Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of the RW Connect blog for ESOMAR’s Latin America 2012 conference here in Mexico City!

Once again we’re treated first thing to a quick wake up session, today we’re revisited by the Incan’s for a traditional sacrifice ritual. A great way to start day two and a very haunting performance by the two dancers. 

Let the Brazilian Sun Shine In
In the first thread of the day 2, The Eco-Innovation, Fabian Echegaray of Market Analysis in Brazil kicked us off with a case study in solar energy. After a brief overview of the challenges and opportunities of solar energy in the Brazilian market, he went on to talk about the perceptions of alternative power and the brief involving the creation of a new seal or certification mark for solar standards. They carried out studies with consumers and business leaders to gauge perceptions of alternative energy and tackle some of their clients assumptions of awareness in the minds of the consumer. They found a polarity of options and awareness from consumers and business managers, with awareness of energies that aren’t even common in Brazil, but they did find some conceptual confusion and a number of myths surrounding alternative energy. Once they had the background information on consumers perception they researched perceptions of the 1st draft of the seal and combining that with the initial research were able to tackle cognitive concerns surrounding the seal aesthetics and tech awareness, in the original design respondents did recognise solar panels in the design as they thought they were a different shape, they were able to successfully redesign the certification for the market .

Sustainable Brazil
As we heard yesterday there has been an huge increase in the middle class in Brazil in recent years, Mario Mattos of GfK Brazil was here to talk about this new demographic’s perceptions of sustainability. He started with an overview of the current middle class in Brazil and the cause of their recent rise. The middle class will make up 60% of brazil society in 2018 and the impact of this demographic growth can be seen in increases in sales of luxury items such as scotch whisky  and increases in tourism. Throughout the 80s growth was low and inflation high, it was known as a lost decade. Plans were put in place and this tackling of inflation coupled with the rise of democracy created a new paradigm in Brazilian society and created the building blocks for the new middle class. Mario went on to outline the research project carried out in 2010 with 800 respondents looking into the perceptions of sustainability in the middle class. They found that between 2006 and 2012 there was a reversion of conscious sustainability practices, a regression in awareness. Digger deeper they found that the consumers with less awareness had, among other factors, lower education levels and “lower cultural levels”. They found that the new demographic were in a position they had never been before, they had become consumers where previously had been outside of it. Because of this they cared less and felt less guilt about their purchasing behaviour. Putting forward a plan Mario said they need to translate these terms to make them more accessible for lower educated demographics and develop action triggering behaviours.

Sharing the Well-Being and Being Well
In the final session of the Eco-Innovation thread, guest speaker Cecilia Riviello talked to us about how businesses can incorporate sustainability and social responsibility. Cecilia started by telling us about herself, her personal details about her life and her family. It was to illustrate the need to value people as people, life is chain of relations, everything is cause and effect and because of this the way companies behave in terms of the environment and treatment of people has a wider knock-on effect in society. Cecilia’s company, Natura Cosmetics, is a role model of economic viability coupled with social responsibility and environmental consciousness. Natura has proceeded to grow and expand but at the same time offers opportunities for artisan producers in rural Latin American regions an avenue to sell products, not particularly associated with cosmetics, while allowing 100% of those revenues to go back to the community. Not only that, they promote, through their own products, the values of self knowledge, honesty and truth, rather than selling dreams or “lies” that are common in the cosmetics industry. Cecilia’s main point was that these initiatives and policies run through every descion made by the company, it cannot be an isolated part of the business taken care by one department, the entire organisation needs to work to the same principles for true value.

When Tomorrow becomes today
After the break we turned to the future for the Digital Innovations thread. First up was long time exhibitor and first time speaker Daniel Cunill of Cint in Spain. He was here to give us an overview of new methods currently enjoying an unstoppable rise in Europe and the US. The triggers for these new approaches, Daniel said, are time and price, along side global access and increased representativeness . The importance of these new methods cannot be ignored with the increasing security risks, a difficult to reach high class and lower response rates more common with traditional methods due t a reduction in landlines and do not call lists. The new methods Daniel wanted to tackle were online, mobile and DIY services. Because online is such a broad part of the industry Daniel used coloured cards to gauge the knowledge in the audience and although many were familiar with online panels, less where with river sampling, Daniel went on to explain that in RS samples were taken from websites with certain profiles, such as social media sites. The benefits of such methods are the lower cost, the ability to get to hard to reach targets and use of automated tools. The negative side being the difficulty in controlling timings and the lack of existing regulations and standards. Moving on, we came next to Mobile research, we were provided a brief overview of the method which has the benefits of a better panelist experience, geo location, immediate feedback and high response rates. Of course the difficulties in the LatAm region stems of smartphone penetration, particularly in rural areas. Daniel finished by saying that the industry is changing, enabling researchers to access wider segments of the population and the new methods will evolve to improve quality, but there will always be room for traditional methods

Digital Boots in Latin America
Up next was Alexandro Herrera of TNS Mexico who was here to talk to us about the digital world and the boost it can give the region. He started with the usual state of play, looking at the digital industry outside and inside the region. LATAM currently have a 43% internet penetration rate, higher than most markets except the US and Europe. But the question is, how do we take advantage of this? Firstly we need to understand the peculiarities of the Latin American market, it is an expressive region, Latin Americans want to talk and say what comes to their mind all the time, it’s a region driven but emotions and the internet provide a perfect place for LatAm consumers to express their feelings, things written online can be more honest, it offers an illusion of anonymity even if when it’s not. Alexandro went on to say that in a recent report smartphone penetration will be 60% by 2016, a huge growth and massive opportunity particularly considering that mobile is currently the main device for accessing social media (69% compared to 55% on the PC). Latinos need to take social networks seriously, on average Mexicans and Colombians have more relationships with brands on social media than those in the US and Japan and they also write far more about brands than consumer sin the US and Japan.

Augmenting Brands with Real Time Data
Philip McNaugthon with Face kicked off part two of the Digital Innovation thread this afternoon. He was here to talk to us about social media research. Firstly Philip wanted to explain that social media research is not an answer is it’s own right, but a tool to get an answer. He wanted to talk about how to combine questioning and listening, traditional and modern methods to come up with valuable insights, social media researc is best used when integrated with other data and methods. Phil thinks we need to build more craft into the processes. He then proceeded to present a case study carried out with Reckitt Benckiser in Brazil. RB had come up with 4 insights that they wanted to validate, sharpen and prioritise. Face started with a traditional F2F survey, they received goo results but felt they had limitations with the survey, it was artificial with a limited sample and limited depth. Face wanted to know whether the insights played out organically in the really world, could social media augment and validate the learning on a mass scale. Using a data tool they pulled content from a number of Brazilian blogs, forums, videos and social networks. The big challenge was, if you can’t ask a specific question, how can we find a specific answer, how do you filter the data? By creating broad search terms they produced a data set of 5000 pieces of content to match the 4 insights. This allowed Face to drill down into the data and provided context and qual insights on a mass scale with not questions. By matching social insights with quant data they were able to create a 360 degree perspective. Philip ended by saying that, they were lucky they are an agency with a client prepared to take risks, no one had any idea whether it was going to work or not and if companies in LatAM don’t try these things and experiment they are going to be left behind.

Multi-Language, Multi-Continent B2B Community Panel 
Eddie Accomondo of Texas Instruments and Scott Miller of Vision Critical wanted to introduce us to their international network of community panels, used to engage design engineers across the globe. Community panels are perfect for design engineers, because of a finite population, 100% online penetration, highly educated and social media savvy. He went on to outline the “social contract” they agree with all users of the panels, they promise that all studies and surveys are less than 15 minutes, less than 2 invites a month and studies will only be relevant to interests and backgrounds. He then went on to stress the importance of language, good translation is key, the better communications the better the data. It’s an industry where understanding the details is very important. Soctt took over at this point to guide us through some requirements for setting up community panels. He told us that these panels enable companies to do things they normally wouldn’t to have 3 or 4 day turn around times for studies and find problems that even the client didn’t know existed, but it’s important you have a champion client side as it is disruptive, but can bring insights into parts of the company that wouldn’t normally use research. Things must be planned properly, if you don’t you’ll spend years trying to fix the solution you built and make sure you have the budget, if you fail you’ll have silence for 3 years before you can do it again.

Should Latin America fall in love with mobile research?  
In the final session of the Digital Innovation thread Amando Mora of Ipsos Mexico and Fabio Martins of Ipsos UK  started with a data visualisation illustrating the huge impact social media and mobile phones have on on our lives and how it connects us with brands.  In the future almost every consumer will carry a research device for 19 hours day, providing feedback at the exact time of their experience. There is no doubt it will over shadow all other internet devices. LATAM will experience similar penetration in less time. Currently across the world there are more people with mobile subscriptions than safe drinking water. So the potential is huge but we need to change the way we think about surveys on a mobile, we need to ask questions less questions more frequently. But luckily mobile is always with us and provide location and users are more likely to take a survey. According to research 97% of people who took a survey enjoyed it. No one spends more than 5 minuets on their phone doing a single activity so how can we expect people to spend more than 5 minutes on a survey. Fabio went on to provide a number of case studies all illustrating the power of mobile to provide insights at point of experience, we can do away with recall. We now have the ability to create diary’s that have real time feedback with geo-location, adding context and details around everyday experiences. But we need to be careful, if we invade the respondents phones we will do no one any favours.

Magical Mexico
Gabriela Espinosa was our final speaker of the conference who was going to speak to us on the use of research in promotion of tourism in Mexico. Tourism is one of the most important and dynamic economic sectors in the world today. In Mexico tourism accounts for man than 8% of Mexico’s GDP and more than 9% of direct and indirect employment. But the competition is huge at the moment so the marketing strategy needs to be perfect. Since 2005 the Mexico Tourist Board (MTB) had been investing in research to try and measure advertising impact across 12 countries world wide. MTB were using separate suppliers across 1 and 2 year contracts with a number of methodologies including CATI and F2F surveys. But there were issues, only looking at ad tracking, they were developing internal methodologies and the data they received from their suppliers was not transferable across markets and sectors. The MTB needed a more flexible methodology, for ad-hoc analysis, benchmarks and guidelines, data needed to be available in every office but most of all they needed expertise, they needed the experience and tools internally as well as externally. So they contracted one of the best experts in the county and across 8 months and 2 years of preparatory work they created guidelines and tools and developed methods that were able to strengthen operations, the ability of transversal analysis, information is available for all offices 24/7 and studies available with a maximum 3 week delay. It was a great learning experience for the MTB. Gabriela went on to details the learnings for the client and supplier:


  • Know your limitations
  • The more we learn about the tools the more profitable will be the investment
  • Be ambitious on getting results
  • Take advantage of supplier resources
  • Focus on ROI
  • Invest in change


  • Be prepared to teach the clients their limitations
  • Get involved with clients business, learn from them as well
  • Involve the client in process the value of the product increases for everyone

And most importantly for both client and supplier, build a knowledge alliance across both sides as it can benefit everyone.


And that’s Latin America 2012, all that’s left is for ESOMAR Director General to announce the winners of this years awards:

Best Paper Nomination – Social Media Experiences, Andres Lopez, Firelfly Millward Brown

Best Presentation Award – Digital Boost Latin America, Alexandro Herrera, TNS, Mexico

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