Have you ever considered the nuances within cultures that affect the way the people communicate or conduct business?
Understanding these differences while conducting business interculturally, can help you successfully appeal to each preferred style. For starters let’s define high context culture and low context culture.
High context culture is most common in places like China, Spain, Brazil, and so on. These types of cultures tend to use more than just words when communicating. More is communicated in the underlying text and the tone.
Low context cultures on the other hand communicate with the expectation of explicit/ precise statements and don’t like leaving room for interpretation. These cultures include the Western world, the UK, Australia, and the US.
In this article we will be focusing more specifically on the high context culture of many LATAM countries when conducting business there. So keep reading to learn about the ways you can build a successful market entry strategy!
How to Properly Communicate: LATAM Market Entry
Now that you understand the difference between high and low context cultures, you might have some questions, such as:
- “How do I do business in Latin America in a way that compliments the communication style of their people?”
- “What’s the best strategy that will help me in conducting business in Latin America?”
Take note that most LATAM market entry in most countries have a high context business culture so generally, their preferred communication styles would be oral. Typically, they will engage in longer forms of communicating and talk about more than just the basics of what, where, when, and how things are happening.
Where to Begin?
When first entering foreign markets, it could be appealing but not as wise to start out in Latin America’s largest markets, which are Mexico and Brazil.
The competition in Brazil’s market isn’t as fierce as in Mexico, however, Brazil is much more bureaucratic, making their market harder to enter.
Nevertheless, Latin America is the fourth largest market overall so there are ample opportunities waiting for you.
Think about your general objectives, your target customers, your plan to meet your goals, and who will be helping you along the way.
Also, definitely do your research about the market you choose to enter. That means testing out your message in the various languages and analyzing which market has the best response to your business and the likelihood of them adopting your product or service.
Entering a new market takes high investments, so taking these extra steps to develop a market entry framework increases your chances of success.
A big topic area for high context cultures in Latin America deals with communicating in their style, meaning:
- Adapt to their social environments
- Nonverbal communication is important
- Going out for extended lunches or dinners to discuss business in the norm
- Being too forward about conducting business can be seen as offensive
- Many LATAM businesses tend to build lasting relationships and have few trusted partners
Having a partner who is familiar with the foreign market you’re entering can also help you have a smoother process. If not, just take the time to know your playing field and what is and isn’t acceptable.
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