Brazil opens its arms in welcome for Global Alliance Annual Meeting
ABERJE is hosting this year’s Global Alliance Annual General Meeting on April 26/27.
Paulo Nassar, president and managing director of Aberje and a professor at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, gives us a glimpse into the creative, challenging and friendly world of Brazilian practitioners.
What are the main issues for public relations and communication professionals in Brazil?
The main issues are those that involve a new social context, affected by environmental, social and economic issues. Current discussions address digital Communication issues such as relationships in social media, employee engagement, transparent relationships with stakeholders; and the practitioners who work in Brazilian corporations that are going global need to understand other cultures in order to establish communication policies to be applied elsewhere.
What impact has the global economic situation had in Brazil? How have ABERJE members responded to this?
The impact of the global economic situation is a paradox in Brazil because currently we are seeing a lot of investments from the public and private sectors. While we see foreign corporations increasing their plants and new companies starting business here, we have Brazilian corporations acquiring or merging with companies in other countries. So it is a time with a lot of work to be done and our members are responding well because they are helping those corporations reach their goals through communication.
You have a wide range of courses and professional development opportunities for members available through ABERJE. What would you say were the main areas for professional development?
Employee communication and engagement, community relations and sustainability, digital communication, public affairs and crisis communication.
What would you consider to be the three top challenges faced by public relations and communication professionals? How would you compare this with other countries?
The top three challenges faced by public relations and communication professionals in Brazil are:
how to communicate and disseminate sustainability policies and practices inside the corporation – to its employees, suppliers, partners and externally - to clients, customers, society, etc. without being perceived as doing “green washing”.
The second would be how to communicate with employees, press and investors during a merger or acquisition. This is always a tense and complicated situation with communication professionals working to short time frames, with limited information and substantial and simultaneous pressures from stakeholders.
Finally, many public relations and communication professionals are also taking care of public affairs, and need to establish relationships with government representatives.
Of the three challenges above, the first two are similar to other parts of the word, but the third one is harder in Brazil because there is no law to regulate lobbying, such as in the US and European Union.
What would be the unique identifier of a Brazilian practitioner - is there an approach, cultural or otherwise, that you wouldn't encounter elsewhere?
It is hard for me to think of a unique identifier of a Brazilian practitioner that you wouldn’t encounter elsewhere because I don´t deeply know the entire world! I can say that Brazilian practitioners are very creative, they know each culture is different and therefore requires an individual approach. They are also open minded, flexible, respectful and friendly.
You held a successful symposium in London late in 2011. Can you tell us why you undertook this event, what transpired and what were the main outcomes?
The purpose of the Brazilian Corporate Communications Day was to offer a unique insight into Brazilian communication and business, to share best practice and develop international relations between practitioners from both countries. We had five presentations, three from Brazilian global corporations, Petrobras, Itau Brank and Tam Brazilian Airlines, and two global corporations that operate in Brazil, HSBC Bank and Iveco. The main outcome was the opening of a dialogue and relationship among professionals who share similar challenges, who can work together and help one another.
ABERJE is particularly active when it comes to reaching out around the world to other professionals and their associations - what motivates your association in this regard? Do you have a message for those coming to Brazil for the AGM?
We are motivated to improve the Brazilian image internationally, build relationships, exchange experiences and encourage dialogue among public relations and communication professionals from Brazil and their peers elsewhere.
As the Brazilian corporations are going global, public relations and communication professionals from those corporations need to do the same.
To other professionals around the world, we would like to invite you to come to the GA AGM that will be held in Sao Paulo late April. You will have the chance to get to know public relations and communication practitioners from the leading companies in Brazil, share your thoughts and experiences with them and discover a country full of opportunities.
Paulo Nassar is President and Managing Director of Aberje – Brazilian Association for Business Communication & Professor PhD. at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Find out more about ABERJE on their website