Want another fundamental truth? Rising numbers of Latin Americans are gaining power to make change, in their own lives and in society. Overlooked groups are demanding equal dignity and respect, and that their voice is heard. Smart brands will support – if not drive – this great empowerment!

Driving this moment

First, growing connectivity is facilitating new forms of individual and collective action, enabling people to fund projects, start businesses, and spark social change in new ways. Take the crowdfunding site Ideame, founded in Argentina in 2011; it’s become a vibrant marketplace for the funding of projects with a social impact, such as this one to provide art education to rural children across Argentina.

Now, that’s combining with an online-fueled gig economy to facilitate more autonomous attitudes to work. And yes, those attitudes are themselves being fueled by the economic downturn that we talked about under transparency. Young, connected citizens don’t want to wait for governments, businesses or NGOs to help them, and the downturn has forced many of them to find new solutions. Credit Suisse recently reported that in Q3 2016:

Unemployment in Brazil was far worse than officially acknowledged: including people who have given up looking for work and the underemployed, it stands at 21%, nearly double the official 12%.

Meanwhile, the region is in the midst of a gradual but clear move towards the empowerment of previously marginalized groups. When it comes to the (F)EMPOWERMENT of women, we’ve talked about this before ;)

And, the move towards identity-based empowerment is spreading. Gay marriage was finally made legal in Colombia in 2016, following on from Brazil and Uruguay in 2013. One powerful sign of the times? When Brazilian president Temer announced a cabinet composed entirely of white men, protestors hit the streets immediately – led by feminist and LGBT groups – to complain about the lack of diversity.

These three threads might seem disparate, but they are united by a common theme: that individuals throughout Latin America are taking power over their own lives, choices, and destinies. So? Brands that help them will thrive.

Innovation examples

Featuring Skol, Telefônica Vivo, Banco de Bogotá and more…

Take Action

Where to start with riding this powerful truth? Here’s a few questions to kickstart your brainstorm:

Which section of society are you (and others) overlooking? How could they benefit from your product or service, expertize, or connections?

What could your customers do for each other, if only someone (you!) connected them on a suitable platform?

How empowering is your internal culture? Are you giving everyone a chance, encouraging risks, and promoting diversity?

The rule to guide all your thinking: when it comes to empowerment, it’s not about you – it’s about what you can do for others!

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