A MOMENT IN BRAZIL: A VIBRANT JOURNEY OF THE SENSES TO INSPIRE MARKETING STRATEGIES
I love to travel! And when I do, I am usually on a mission to find hidden restaurants, charming bars and quaint shopping locations that only locals know about. It’s these unique experiences which not only make the most instagrammable moments and lasting impressions but they also create a stronger connection to the surrounding culture and people.
When I learn more about another culture, my branding and marketing skills broaden and personally, I gain more depth.
Which is why when I found out that a friend of mine, Amy Lehnhoff, was traveling to Brazil for a missionary trip, I was thrilled to get an inside perspective of a place that has been on my travel list for several years!
There is something about the Latin American culture that is undeniably vibrant. So I was curious how do you appeal to those gripped in such a majestic setting?
Thankfully I was able to catch up with Amy after her trip and ask her a few questions which would helped me gain a better understanding of the Brazilian culture and generate inspiration for sensory branding and marketing strategies!
Tell everyone about yourself!
My name is Amy Lehnhoff and I am a small-town girl living in the largest city (by size) in the contiguous U.S. - Jacksonville, Florida. I'm an extrovert and self-proclaimed scholar of classic novels who spends too much time outdoors, at the gym, and with friends to turn a page. My name means "beloved" and my passion is daily growth.
Currently I am an admissions coordinator at University of North Florida. I am passionate about people and policy, endeavoring to make college affordable for Gen Z. I have a B.A. in Business and Communication and a M.A. in Student Personnel Administration.
What made you take this trip to Brazil?
For years now, I have glanced at one particular item on my bucket list: "Visit South America." Sandwiched somewhere between "Take a dance class" and "Be a mom," I knew that one day the timing for this dream would be clear.
Earlier this year, I learned that my church in Jacksonville (Fla.) would be taking a team to Brazil. Three months later, I was on a plane to Rio de Janeiro. Six amazing women and I from Florida joined up with 12 other missionaries from across the country - Indiana, North Carolina, and Vegas - to serve bible-centered partner, Restore Brazil.
What surprised you the most about your time in this city?
Each day the group bus carried us to a new corner of the city. Daily we walked the street in some of the lowest-income neighborhoods, called Favelas. Despite their circumstances, Favela residents exude a particular joy.
For many youth in these areas, childhood ends too soon. It is not rare to see a 14-year-old girl carrying her firstborn or a 12-year-old boy asking for money on the street. Purchasing decisions, then, may be in the hands of a much younger demographic.
In direct contrast, we also passed through the most affluent areas en route to our hostel. The week included visits to churches, ministries, homes, markets and malls.
The natural aesthetic was beyond my imagination. Mountains, ocean, and the world's largest urban forest - you must see it for yourself!
What activities did you find people enjoyed the most?
Considering the cultural element, I found that Brazilians value the collective. They go and do things that boost relationships and build community. Hugs that start in a small church building overflow into the street.
Soccer, volleyball, surfing, beach days, and family time are about savoring the moment with loved ones. A couple dining together does not simply order two glasses of wine, but rather the whole bottle! Why sit at home when you could bask in sea breeze with a friend over coconut water?
Products and interests without a sense of connection, like some video games or large retailers, often phase out.
How would you describe the Brazilian style?
Bright colors and bold shapes are marks of Brazilian charm. Need an example? Consider Brazil's flag. Rather than the sober values of freedom and liberty expressed by our Red, White, and Blue, the design of Brazil's banner suggests growth, wealth, and love. The 2016 Olympics logo is equally unified and playful.
Residents of Rio delight in their city. Art celebrates not only the breathtaking landscape, but also hardship. Favelas, a symbol of daily struggle, are depicted in neon, covering the canvases of local artists. There seems to be no limit on color.
Graffiti, which clothe buildings, walls and other public spaces, endorse heroes, landmarks, country and a range of emotion. Such displays mirror the soul of American Jazz or the lyrics behind our national anthem.
What are the tastes of Brazil?
Dishes and drinks are natural, yet full of flavor. Menus and family meals consist of baked chicken, grilled beef, raw vegetables, beans, rice and pressed fruit juices.
Artificial flavors, added sweeteners and most sauces have no place at the table. Notable exceptions exist: the soft-chocolate brigadeiros and beloved soft drink, Guaraná.
In most cases, additives would not bring about any more fullness to the flavor. Simple, authentic ingredients are the practice. Grocery stores are compact, and offer the necessities for a hearty meal.
Street-food vendors need no endorsement. Passersby are drawn in by the sights a smells of pão de queijo (cheese bread), roasted meats, and the blended-fruit favorite, açaí.
How would you describe the smells of Brazil?
The aroma of Rio depends on where you are standing. Along the beach, you catch the familiar scent of the ocean. Malls surprise you with a splash of floral fragrance. The smell I remember most, however, was that of the favelas. The third-world infrastructure does not allow for disposal of sewage and garbage in the same way as organized cities in the United States.
How did this city make you feel?
The entire time in Rio I was either in awe of the astounding scenery or in shock by the contrasting adverse lifestyles. In many parts of the city, you have a view of both the mountains and coastline. The Tijuca Forest has a wealth of plant and animal life, including birds that I have never before seen.
The first and last full days of our trip we had the opportunity to do some sight-seeing. As one does in Rio, we visited Christ the Redeemer, which overlooks miles of the forest, city, and shore. Then, after five days of leading vacation bible school (VBS) and attending bilingual church services, we drove 90 minutes north for boat ride. This day was my favorite! It felt like a reality TV show; the water was so blue, and was surrounded by green, jungle-like hills.
What is the best way to get your message across to this audience?
To a people who value community, flair, and wholesome fare, it is important to deliver a true, radiant message. Messages, including the gospel, can be sent in any number of ways, but they must be relevant to the person receiving the message.
Perhaps the best example from the trip was the sharing of the good news - via skits and crafts - in color. Children acted out motions for and made bracelets in five shades: Yellow (God, the King over creation), Black (sin, first expressed by Adam and Eve), Red (Christ, His blood that was shed), White (grace, a free gift), and Green (continued growth in prayer and study).
Whether sharing a testimony, introducing a new brand or sending a marketing message, you do not need a flawless resume or five plus years experience to make an impact. Simply smile and speak. If you believe in a message, it has the power to captivate.
Thank you Amy! It seems that bold, colorful, simple and authentic messages are the best way to attract a Brazilian audience.
I am curious, what do you think? Have you traveled to Brazil or other parts of Latin America? Would you offer similar or different advice? Tell me more! I love to hear from my readers, so please share your comments below.
Interested in being interviewed as a guest on my blog? Contact me!