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ARGENTINA 2017 | Hard-times branding: Building brand value in times of economic turmoil

It’s always a merit for a brand to be considered among the Latin America’s Top 50 brands; and for ever-changing markets such as Latin American ones, making the cut to the top 5 in their local markets is even more commendable.


Regional Head Of Planning, Geometry Global Latina Head Of Planning,

Geometry Global Argentina


Carito was born and raised in Peru, has full Japanese ancestry and work experience in the US, Brazil and Argentina. She also has 18 years of experience in advertising and marketing; agency side and client side; learning and teaching.

A VCU Brandcenter graduate and Fulbright Scholar, Carito starts her career in planning at Ogilvy as a WPP Fellow,  rst in New York and later on in Buenos Aires, working for regional brands such as Sprite—Grand Effie Argentina winner in 2007—and Huggies. In 2008, she packs her stuff and  ies back to Peru to join Ogilvy Lima and lead the regional planning work for Kimberly-Clark LAO adult care business.

Besider her Ogilvy experience, she spent a few years at Circus Grey as Planning Director, winning many Ef es there and helping Circus become the world’s 3rd most effective agency in 2013 (Ef e Index/Warc). She has also spent a couple years client-side, as a Brand Manager at SABMiller for their Bolivia business.

In January 2015, Carito joined Geometry Global as Regional Head of Planning, leading the planning team for the Belcorp regional account and helping enable Geometry Global’s proprietary strategic and creative operating system across all Geometry’s markets in the region.

As of June 2016, Carito is back in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as Head of Planning for Geometry Global Argentina besides her GG Latina position.


Increasing brand value in times of economic turmoil is the ultimate challenge for brands, as the temptation to prioritize price and promotions – losing value in the long run – is strong. Argentinian brands have faced such challenges in the past few years, and with an economy that didn’t recover as expected in 2016 with the change of government, GDP dropping and an in ation rate that exceeds 30%, this has been quite a tough year. Consumption has stalled and brands are faced with the dilemma of becoming more accessible to customers while maintaining their worth.

Brand building strategies shouldn’t differ much in times of prosperity and adversity, except for tactical approaches for speci c situations. After all, our mission as marketers and communications experts is to always understand what is going on with people and remain relevant and meaningful to them. In times of struggle, our job is to stay present. For many categories, especially consumer goods, affordability is key, but the ultimate goal is to maintain relevance, not to just reach our (financial) targets; and recessions often become an opportunity for brands to become stronger and create even more value for their consumers.


An Argentinian brand that consistently makes it into the BrandZTM Top 50 Most Valuable Latin American Brands list is Quilmes, by AB InBev. In 2016, amidst recession and lower consumer spending, they launched “Pacto Porron”, an initiative that encourages use of reusable, individual 340ml bottles. This in turn helps Quilmes reduce their costs and maintain a consumer price of $10 (Argentinian pesos) per individual bottle (called porron). Communication also played its part and was framed as a “pact”: if consumers promise to return the bottles, Quilmes promise to keep the price at 10 pesos throughout 2016. This is highly relevant in a market with 3%-4% monthly in ation and constant price adjustments. As a result, Quilmes presented itself as a brand that stands by their people, makes a commitment and sticks to it.

Brand building challenges in a tight economy also involve restrictions in marketing spend; this means optimizing budgets and therefore, prioritizing marketing tasks and making thoughtful channel choices. This is where brand experience comes into play. It’s not (only) about advertising, but also about creating the right connections, at the right place
and at the right time for our consumers. This implies a thorough mapping of customer and shopper journeys and deep understanding of the mindsets and motivations at every stage of the decision-making process so the brand can act with precision and generate awareness, stimulate conversion or create a speci c behavior change as needed.

In summary, when times are tough, brands have an even greater chance to create value by staying relevant and gaining a deeper understanding of what’s going on with their consumers and shoppers.