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CHILE 2017 | Three turning points in Chile

In order to understand the context of today’s brands’ movement in Chile, I will begin by establishing the underlying principle of my essential argument: brands are in themselves pop culture, becoming active agents in the generation of commercial, social and symbolic wealth. The de nition of current Chilean culture and how brands are articulated in that context becomes a necessary analysis if we want to insert products and services signi cantly and truly into the national market.


Vicente Valjalo.png


CEO, J. Walter Thompson Chile


Vicente holds a degree in Advertising and Psychology, a Masters in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as a PhD (ABD) in Philosophy from the European Graduate School.


He started his career in advertising

as an intern at J. Walter Thompson

Chile in 1980 then followed a period of academic growth overseas specializing in Psychology and Psychoanalysis. Back from London, Vicente worked as an Account Planner at APL Lintas and other agencies.


The natural flow of culture, together with the permanent movements that define it, are the most important source of trends for anyone willing and able to listen.

Here we define three territories where the brands face the challenge of moving and growing. They are not the only three elements, but those most strongly apparent.                    

1. Multicultural context

Chile today is not the country it used to be. An emerging feature in our culture that will cause the largest change in the medium and long term is the addition of a significant number of foreigners and their habits to our daily life.

In Chile, there is a tradition of colonies and an important history of immigration – just looking at the South of Chile or the city of Antofagasta brings a view of the myriad colonies settled in the last century. Today we see that, as a result of economic improvements, there is a second round of immigrants from Peru, Haiti, Colombia and other neighboring countries. These immigrants are settling in our country and generating the expansion of our environment, where multiculturalism becomes a central feature of our cultural reality.

This means that successful brands will need to study not only these new groups of customers, their habits and integration patterns, but also assess the impact of their penetration into the national life and culture in general. Thus, the analysis of the changes brought by this new reality in our subjectivity is critical for brands to become a fundamental part of that subjectivity.            

2. Digitalized reality
A second force that will strongly change our daily lives is digitization. Government data reveals 13.1million Internet users and that 80% of navigation is via smartphones; Chile is becoming digital and heavily mobile. Thus, we will see changes in the way we work, in how we relate and, clearly, in access to information.


This change will push brands to integrate communication strategies and formulas for evaluation, that consider not only indicators of memorability and scope, but strong engagement measures and indexes of real business conversion. Likewise, brands must complement traditional measurements with new ways of assessing that take into account this new communication structure present in the digital age.


3. A new social contract

Finally, the third force in Chile is the need to establish a new social contract between people and institutions. Lack of transparency and honesty has created audiences that adhere less and less to traditional sources of power. The shortcomings that corporations have shown in the clarity and certainty they give to the public – both in Chile and in the world – make public opinion suspicious of them as valid and reliable sources of information.

Thus, there is a new structure, “opinion leaders”, present through blogs and websites where traditional power has no influence. This new sphere of opinion generation is fundamental when creating brand adherence. The challenge lies in innovation in the creation of new structures of relationship with audiences. This “new contract” must strengthen honesty, transparency, and the symmetry between brand and audience.

An attitude that is not true and that does not consider - as fundamental axis – respect and appreciation for customers, is not viable. Seeing customers as human beings to whom the company relates, and on whom its survival depends, is crucial to the company’s sustainability. The “new contract” between customers and companies wants everybody to get the same benefit from the relationship.