Brazil Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public holidays

Introduction

As in the case of many other distant (and not only geographically) countries, Brazil is not a country where you can expect to establish business contacts or implement business cases simply by sending an electronic offer and company presentation to selected companies from the field.

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If you are interested in the Brazilian market, you must expect a certain initial investment, long-term efforts and the need to be physically present on the market often. In terms of differences in cultural behavior patterns, it is always necessary to keep in mind that Brazilians are a nation proud of the size and importance of their country.

Brazil is a country of continental dimensions, a federation that unites 26 states and the Federal District. This brings with it great diversity in the cultural specificity of individual states.

Addressing

It is best to find a local representative.

Cooperation with a local representative is a very widespread form of market penetration, especially for goods that have a larger number of customers. Brazilian companies (especially state-owned) usually require the supplier to have a local representative with whom they then communicate. The working language is then exclusively Portuguese. The request for a local representative appears regularly in the tender conditions, his appointment and authorization to act on behalf of the supplier must be documented in the offer. The activity of a representative familiar with local conditions is very important for supplementing information on the necessary technical equipment, adapting products to Brazilian standards and the homologation process, and explaining a number of legal, commercial and technical requirements of the tenders. Due to the complexity and lack of transparency of the legislation, a local representative is in some cases almost a necessity for the successful completion of customs procedures and the calculation of taxes related to imports, thus the final sales price. In addition, the presence of a quality representative in the territory is one of the prerequisites for obtaining quality information about the market, including maintaining constant contact with customers.

Among the appropriate ways to make initial contacts with the territory, without a doubt, is to visit specialized fairs, of which there are hundreds every year in Brazil, especially in São Paulo, and whose importance often goes beyond the country itself, as it is the largest event of its kind in the whole of the South – or even the Latin American subcontinent. Personal participation enables not only the acquisition of basic information about the market and possible competition, but also very beneficial contact with the local business mentality and customs.

An important part of communication with Brazilian partners (of both sexes) is respect and accurate knowledge of their job classification levels and titles. The advantage of knowing Portuguese has already been mentioned, it is also important to know and respect the differences in address between Brazilian Portuguese and Portuguese. Tagging is less common in Brazil.

Business meeting

Brazilian partners like to negotiate over a business lunch or dinner. For a Czech company starting in BFR, it is important to choose a suitable restaurant, which should have a certain level of prestige.

It is customary to have working lunches and dinners later than here. For example, lunches from 13.00 or 13.30, dinners even after 20.00.

Normal practices apply to meetings in offices.

Brazilians tend to be cordial, and soon the first name is used. It is important not to neglect sufficient “small talk” before the actual meeting.

Brazilians tend to be good business people. But the personal charisma of the partner and the resulting sympathy are very important for them.

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Rushing too directly to the main business meeting can be counterproductive.

Religious barriers practically do not exist. Due to the wide range of skin colors of Brazilians, it is necessary to avoid any hint of racial condescension.

Meetings can be long, especially in the case of a business lunch or dinner. Rushing is not advisable.

Brazilians are cordial and appreciate the same emotions in their partners. However, in the south of the BFR in states with a strong German cultural footprint, a higher level of formality may be appropriate.

Alcohol is commonly consumed during business meetings.

Common European standards apply in clothing. In the warmest regions (Amazonia, Nordeste) clothing can be adapted to Smart Caual level at high temperatures.

It is not appropriate to invite your partner home for the first time. However, after getting to know each other better, they will appreciate such an invitation very much.

Communication

Brazilians tend to be convinced (similarly to businessmen from the Czech Republic) that they know English. In fact, a good knowledge of English is common only in the largest companies and enterprises. Visit Calculatorinc for more information about Brazil culture and traditions.

Therefore, if a foreign person interested in business does not speak Portuguese, then it is advisable to have an interpreter. However, knowledge of Portuguese is a major advantage in negotiations.

Regarding communication taboos, it can be mentioned that it is always advisable to avoid topics related to racism and criticism of the BFR’s environmental and foreign policy.

Personal negotiations are by far the most effective in BFR.

Brazilians are sensitive to the charisma of a foreign partner during negotiations. Neither a “biscuit” approach nor excessive self-confidence lead to good results.

Recommendation

If Czech companies want to establish themselves in Brazil, they must approach the country, its culture and business practices with respect and humility. The diversity and endless variety of Brazil is reflected in all areas, including trade and related services. In Brazil, we can find both very developed areas that can bear a full comparison with the most developed countries in the world, as well as places that give the impression that economic development here has stagnated in times long past. Therefore, Brazil is a country whose market usually needs to be processed on a regional basis, always taking into account the real conditions in a specific location. In addition to price, quality and packaging, the factors that significantly influence the success of the sale include, in particular, personal presence during the initial negotiations and the ability to conduct negotiations in Portuguese (directly or with an interpreter). If it is not possible to act in Portuguese, English is recommended rather than Spanish, however, everything depends on the prior agreement of both parties. Brazilian partners have a need for frequent communication, which should be met. Cultural customs must be maintained even at occasional informal meetings. If there is no intensive contact on the part of foreign companies, Brazilian partners may interpret this as a lack of interest.

Arm yourself with patience and always have a large time reserve for all cases. Take your time and take a lively interest in things that seem unrelated to business. Definitely don’t underestimate them. Brazilian businessmen are serious and distinguish quality. If you speak Portuguese, you have a major advantage. Take care of personal relationships in the long term. Appear pleasant and confident, paying attention to formal cues such as clothing or manner of expression. Negotiations often take place during a joint lunch or dinner. Don’t refuse the invitation! Surprise the host with a little attention, they will appreciate it. An important role is played by the hierarchy within the company – even less important matters are often decided only by a narrow group of management, or the owner. Brazil suffers from a number of problems (corruption, complex inefficient bureaucracy, etc.).

Public Holidays

January 1 – New Year’s March

Carnival (variable date) April

Easter April 21

Tiradentes (National Hero)

May I. Labor Day June

Corpus Christi (variable date)

September 7 – Brazilian Independence Day

October 12 – Our Lady of Aparecida

November 2 – Memorial of the Dead

November 15 – Proclamation of the Republic

24-25 December – Christmas holidays

December 31 – New Year’s Eve

During the carnival (variable date in February/March) it is advisable not to plan any meetings or events around this date. In addition to the official holidays mentioned above, significant days are also celebrated within the individual states of the federation (e.g. the founding of São Paulo, etc.).

Brazil Culture of Business