Understanding Nuance Brazil

Brazil is the largest country in South America, both in size and economy. The country’s GDP ranks 9th in the world according to purchasing power parity, and Brazilian culture has become a popular export alongside its material goods. Commercially, Brazil’s relationship with the United States continues to grow; in 2011, about 15% of Brazilian imports came from the US, and Brazil is one of the top ten US trading partners worldwide. This paper will explore Brazil’s unique business culture and etiquette - and give you helpful tips for doing business in Brazil.

Background Facts

Thanks to internationally focused news segments, Brazilians are quite knowledgeable about events in the US and are also well informed about world affairs and geography. When working in Brazil, it may benefit you to be able to match this knowledge with your own Brazilian knowhow. The country has 26 states and one federal district, and the government is a federal republic. Brazil's capital is Brasilia, but one of the country's most influential economic and cultural centers is the city of Sao Paolo, which is also a major hub for international business. Brazil’s major industries include agriculture, manufacturing, services and entertainment.

Build a Business in Brazil

To establish a solid economic foothold in Brazil, it is necessary to understand that business and  relationships are inextricably linked. Family and friendships are an essential part of Brazilian  culture; indeed, it is nearly impossible to gain and maintain a presence there without first fostering a connection with a Brazilian partner. When seeking a partner, it is imperative to prove that your prospective business plans will benefit not only you, but your Brazilian counterparts and their economy as well. Determination in your ventures is also of utmost importance. Even if you fail once or twice, your persistence will demonstrate to potential Brazilian partners and customers that you are committed to their country.

Foster Relationships, Make Good Impressions

When meeting a potential business partner for the first time, it is customary to use formal titles and names to show respect. Business cards are regularly exchanged and a handshake can be used in greetings and goodbyes. In business situations, you should always maintain a level of conservatism in your style of dress. Brazilian professionals can be quite fashion-conscious, especially in larger cities like Sao Paolo. Finally, it’s important to be aware of communication styles. Brazilians tend to converse at a much closer distance than Americans, who like to maintain a certain amount of personal space. Talk is often indirect, with animated gesturing and even slight physical contact between speaker and listener.

Adjust Your Concept of Time

There is an underlying aspect of Brazilian culture that is not readily apparent, but exceedingly important - the concept of time. The process of relationship building is more involved than in the United States, where partnerships can be formed based on business interactions alone. In Brazil, you need to get to know your business partners on a level deeper than what is required for economic exchange.
For example, it is normal to begin meetings in Brazil with small talk, where such topics as family, sports, or international affairs are discussed at length. “Getting down to business” right from the start is considered bad etiquette. Don’t be surprised if your meetings or dinners begin late and continue longer than you may expect, and decision-making also requires time as proposals make their way through a company’s bureaucracy. In Brazilian business, an expectation of speed will only leave you frustrated. Instead, adopt a flexible outlook on scheduling and planning. Your business interactions will proceed much more smoothly.

Hierarchies and Management Styles

Compared to the corporate culture in the United States, Brazil’s business structure is very hierarchical. When working with a Brazilian company, or managing Brazilian employees, it is important to accept this difference in style. Try to discern the chain of command in the organization, and always respect seniority. Workplace relationships and loyalties are also significant driving forces in corporate politics, and their effect on production should not be underestimated.
Managers are expected to cultivate relationships with their subordinates based on trust. Brazilian employees generally look to their superiors for precise directions and clearly defined roles. Knowledge of your responsibilities and those of others will keep you from overstepping your bounds. Also remember that communication styles are more subtle in Brazil and context should always be taken into account. Do your best to avoid direct confrontation or criticism, as this will hurt your relationships.

Learn More

The people of Brazil are friendly and open, with a strong sense of pride in their country. Establishing relationships takes time, but the loyalties that develop are usually fruitful and long-lasting. If you are interested in learning more about doing business in Brazil, give us a call at 1-800-756-1101, or visit our website at www.echointernational.com.

 

Download PDF

  • Inside Portuguese : Two Very Distinct Varieties

    Portuguese: Why One Size (Translation) Doesn't Fit All   While it would be hard to find a high school in the United States where Spanish is not taught, the number of American schools that teach Portuguese is rather small. In 2009, one survey reported that only 70 high schools in the entire country offered classes in Portuguese - in a country with something over 30,000 secondary schools. Why is this an odd situation?

    Read More...

  • Inside India Part 2: English in India

    "Indians speak English": What this really means Most foreign business people know that English is the one language that you need to do business in India. What they may not know is how widely spoken English is in that country. And, until they start actually talking to Indians, they may not realize that they have created their own national dialect of English. In a speech given in Oxford in 2005, India's prime minister Manmohan Singh made some comments on the subject of English and its use in his country. "In indigenizing English, as so many people have done in so many nations across the world, we have made the language our own," he stated. "Today, English in India is seen as just another Indian language." But before considering Dr. Singh's statement, we have to deconstruct this frequent claim that "Indians speak English". Most Indians don't. To continue reading click here:Inside India Part 2: English in India

    Read More...

  • Inside India Part 1 - A Mosaic of Languages

    In recent decades, India’s economy has surged to the point where it is one of the world’s largest. This has attracted the interest of entrepreneurs wishing to take advantage of its vast market and resources in human capital. One of the selling points for business people is that “Indians speak English”. But how true is that statement? In fact, India is one of the most linguistically complicated places on earth, with a population of 1.2 billion, 22 officially recognized languages, and a 2011 Indian census recognizing a remarkable 1635 “mother tongues”.  Learn more about the languages of India and what it’s like to “be on the ground” in India by clicking
    Inside India Part1 A Mosaic of Languages

    Read More...

  • Inside Latin American Spanish Part 2

    Divided By a Common Language Part 2: Differences within Latin America - In our last article, we looked at the differences that exist between the kind of Spanish spoken in Spain and that spoken in Latin America. Those are not, however, the only significant differences. In fact, the term “Latin American Spanish” can be somewhat misleading since it implies that there is one standard version of Spanish used throughout Latin American, which is definitely not the case. Latin America covers a huge area stretching from San Diego to Antarctica, so it’s no surprise that the language is not uniform. Learn why it is important to get your message right and how you can achieve this by reading more.

    Read More...

  • Inside Latin American Spanish Part 1

    Divided by a Common Language, Part 1: Spain vs. Latin America The Irish-born playwright, activist, and wit George Bernard Shaw once described the United States and Great Britain as “two countries divided by a common language.” It’s not a surprise that distance, history and culture often combine to create differences even within languages. Spanish provides us with a case in point. It’s no secret that Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world - in fact, it comes second only to Chinese as a native language, and is used by over 400 million people in more than twenty different countries across four continents. However, like English, there is no single or unified Spanish language that everyone in the Spanish-speaking world speaks. Instead, there is a whole range of regional variations that share the same European Spanish language roots but which have evolved differently over time. One of these variants is Latin American Spanish.

    Read More...

  • Inside Russia

    Through Russia on Skis: An Olympic Guide to the Country’s Geography
    This year's Winter Olympics are being held in Sochi, a Russian resort on the Black Sea, which is known for its balmy, sub-tropical climate. It may come as a surprise that a notoriously cold country like Russia has such resorts; it may be an even greater suprise that Olympic winder events can be held there. In the Olympic spirit, let's strap on our skis and take a breif tour of Russia's geography - from its highest point to its lowest. 

    Read More...

  • International Marketing Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

    Naming a new product is not easy at the best of times. Even within your home market, you need to consider whether the proposed product name has any other meanings or particular associations that you may not have initially thought of.

    Read More...

  • Interpreter vs Translator

    Although translation and interpretation services are closely associated linguistic fields, the skill sets necessary to complete a project are quite different. It is rather uncommon for even an industry veteran to be able to deliver both types of services flawlessly at a professional level. In short, these services are rarely performed by the same person.

    Read More...

  • Understanding Nuance Brazil

    Brazil is the largest country in South America, both in size and economy. The country’s GDP ranks 9th in the world according to purchasing power parity, and Brazilian culture has become a popular export alongside its material goods. Commercially, Brazil’s relationship with the United States continues to grow; in 2011, about 15% of Brazilian imports came from the US, and Brazil is one of the top ten US trading partners worldwide. This paper will explore Brazil’s unique business culture and etiquette - and give you helpful tips for doing business in Brazil.

    Read More...

  • Website Localization

    If you sell to customers whose primary language is not English, you will gain significant ROI by adapting your site to the languages, cultures and conventions of the regions in which you do business.

    Read More...

  • Effectively Engaging an Interpreter

    Echo International highly recommends using professional services for your interpreting needs, as it reduces risk and gives you a greater assurance of quality. 

    Read More...

  • Inside The Chinese Language

    Over the past decade, China’s economy has expanded at an average of 10.3 percent per year,1 increasing its worldwide cultural and commercial influence. An understanding of the basics of the Chinese language can be useful when visiting the country and when doing business there. In this issue of Echo Insider, we will give you information about the language, both spoken and written, and investigate some of the benefits involved in learning about Chinese.

    Read More...

  • Understanding Nuance China

    China is one of the key players in today’s global economy, but international organizations are often unaware of the unique challenges of conducting business there. While the Chinese have adopted some Western practices, their business style retains many native cultural influences, impacting everything from establishing a business presence to exchanging business cards. In order to build a successful commercial partnership with the Chinese, it’s necessary to understand and respect these nuances. This paper will educate international executives and their employees about China’s unique business practices as well as its history, geography, and economy.

    Read More...

© ECHO INTERNATIONAL THREE GATEWAY CENTER, FLOOR 14 WEST, PITTSBURGH, PA 15222
p 1.412.261.1101