In 1914 the Sao Paulo Tramway Light and Power Company established a PR department and PR had arrived in Brazil. It was largely stifled during the dark days of twentieth century dictatorship, but since the first democratic presidential elections in 1984 the PR industry, and indeed the country, has gone from strength to strength. With 192 million people Brazil is the world’s fifth most populous country. It has the world’s seventh largest economy. After several years of annual GDP growth between 5% and 7% it contracted in 2009, but only by 0.6%, and Brazil has recovered strongly, growing by 7.5% in 2010.
Since then growth has slowed but the economic future appears bright with the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the country and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janieiro. Furthermore, the discovery of huge oil reserves off its coast has led many to predict that Brazil will become one of the world's top oil exporters within a decade.
There is then much work for PR professionals to do. It is a nation that sadly is synonymous with corruption, so clear stakeholder communication is more vital than in many markets. Furthermore, while in many countries PR professionals struggle to persuade spokespeople to engage with the media, Erika Alexandra Balbino, PR Officer for the European Travel Commission in Brazil, reports that in Brazil quite the reserve is true.
“The Brazilian is a communicator by nature,” she says. “This is both a strength and a weakness. We tend to seek creative solutions but can be under-prepared, too ready to offer up information that is less robust or accurate than it should be. This is accentuated by the rush for news which can result in less than truthful or incomplete information.”