Why Tropicalization Often Fails in LatAm and What Needs to be Done for Success in Digital Products
Tropicalization is a process by which a company adds local flavor to its product, giving it a more regional feel. Tropicalization is often used in digital products to appeal to local customers and make them more easily adaptable to the market.
But what happens when tropicalization fails? Unfortunately, many companies get it wrong, which leads them to spend money on products that don’t meet their needs or expectations as consumers. In this article, I’ll talk about three main reasons why most tropicalization fails in LatAm and how companies can avoid these mistakes and become more successful in developing tailor-made digital products for Latin America!
There are three main reasons that most tropicalization fails in LatAm.
Companies need to understand their market: It’s not enough to sell your product in a new country; you need to understand the needs of that specific market. For example, if you’re launching a new app in Brazil that doesn’t support Portuguese, people won’t buy it because they can’t use it–even though many people speak English there! This is an example of how companies make assumptions about what local populations want without talking with them first (or at all).
- Companies need to understand those needs: Even if you research your target audience, it may not be enough because cultural differences can make even basic things like communication difficult between companies and consumers. This means there needs to be more than one person involved in decision-making processes explicitly related to tropicalization; instead, multiple stakeholders should collaborate across departments, so everyone understands each other well enough to work together effectively towards a shared agenda.
First, most companies need help understanding the region’s audience drivers and basic needs.
It’s crucial for any company looking to succeed in Latin America (or any market) to understand what makes its customers tick and the market dynamics. An excellent place to start is with local market research–conducting interviews with potential users or customers, surveys and polls, etc.–but understanding local culture also plays an essential role in getting this right.
- In Brazilians’ minds, there’s no such thing as bad weather; if you’re complaining about how hot it is outside, you’re missing out on all of life’s opportunities!
- Argentinians love talking about themselves, but they’ll never tell anyone directly what they want or need; instead, they’ll hint at those things through subtle hints (“Oh my gosh, I’m so busy these days” translates roughly into “I need more help around here!”).
- In another example, a Peruvian business newspaper article says, “Colombians look for the greater good, instead of a personal agenda” when comparing the two countries’ politics. This could mean that when you market to the Peruvian market, the campaign needs to focus more on the YOU and the Colombian market on the WE.
Second, companies often misuse products from other markets in LatAm and do not adapt them to be relevant for the country.
The product should be localized and adapted to the local market. You must take into account the local culture, needs of your customers, and language (languages in LatAm are very diverse).
So, if you are going to have an American English-speaking media buyer translate a word to Spanish and use the same in each ad, you will be making a mistake.
Finally, cultural differences can make it hard for companies to develop a product for the market that is suitable for consumers there.
Image by Adobe stock
For example, in Brazil and Colombia, people value their privacy more than in other countries; they’re less likely to share personal information on social media or download apps with permissions like location tracking. This makes it more challenging for companies like Facebook or Google, who rely heavily on user data as part of their business model–and many tech startups have failed because of this issue alone.
In a personal experiment: We tryed a social media challenge in Colombia for Fandango Latam that definitely would have worked in Peru, but failed in Colombia, because people didn’t want to overshare in social media.
The success of any digital product depends on its ability to meet local needs and adapt well to local customers’ preferences.
To do this, it’s essential that you understand the culture of your target market–and more importantly, get under its skin by understanding what makes them tick. This can be difficult for companies who are used to working in their home markets or have limited knowledge of other cultures outside their own.
If you’re thinking about launching a new app in Latin America but haven’t researched how people behave here yet, there’s no time like now! You need all the information possible if you want that product to succeed here (or at least significantly increase its chances). My recommendation here is to surround yourself with people that understand the market. You need a Latinx leading a Latam initiative to win this region.
The success of any digital product depends on its ability to meet local needs and adapt well to local customers’ preferences. Tropicalization is a great way to do this, but it requires careful planning and execution so that the result will be something people want. The three main reasons that most tropicalization fails in LatAm are because companies fail to understand the region’s audience drivers and basic needs; misuse products from other markets instead of adapting them for the area; or cannot develop a product suitable for consumers there because of cultural differences between countries or regions within them
Originally published on Hackernoon