Following a fast recent expansion, the Latin American public relations industry faces the double challenge of filling a growing need for internal communications within companies in the context of the economic slowdown and relying more on digital tools.
“Internal communication is at the moment one of the areas which is emerging with the most strength in Latin America,” Alex Bonet, director of the Peru branch of Spain-based public relations company Atrevia, said during a recent telephone interview with Latin Business Daily.
In Peru, for example, “there is an ongoing economic slowdown and this is influencing company results so there will be an adjustment in spending, mergers, and all this will require strategies of internal communication about the changes,” Bonet said.
In addition to Peru, Atrevia opened offices in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Puerto Rico all within the last decade, but the current goal is to consolidate the company's presence in Latin America.
Bonet said that Atrevia's history has shown that it's important that companies communicate in "an orderly and coordinated way" with their employees so that they are satisfied and, therefore, more productive.
“What we have lived in Spain and Europe, we are now seeing in Latin America´s current transformation,” he said.
The other challenge for Atrevia is related to fast digital media development.
“The other big change has to do with the new generation," Bonet said. "Young people are starting to consume, travel, go to restaurants and at the same time [they are] consuming communication media, which is no longer traditional media," Bonet said. "This is an opportunity because as companies we can talk directly to the client."
But talking to clients takes some specialized skills.
“The communication will have to be totally segmented and specialized because the consumer will become more and more selective when he consumes information," Bonet said. "While this is a challenge, it also makes communication much more efficient as it is now with a group [that] shares the same interest,” he added.
Unlike Spain, companies in some Latin American countries still need to realize the importance of communicating directly with the client through digital means. In Spain, a communication strategy that does not include digital tools is not complete, he said.
Generally speaking, Latin American companies will face the challenge of “becoming more professional, organized and to carry out actions by segments," Bonet said.
Like in Europe, each country in Latin America has its specific way to work, carry out business and communicate, he said. In Latin America, there is still the need for some companies “to become aware of the solvency of digital tools” such as social media.