A Brazilian Business Idea For Medellin Cultural Studies Essay

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ABSTRACT

This paper talks about a Brazilian idea of business to be placed in Colombia, specifically in the city of Medellín. In order to be successful this study must have several cultural components which will provide us with a better approximation of what transplanting a business idea interculturally requires.

It is basically a service sector idea, it is a bar lounge called "Praia", an idea that exists in São Paulo that involves several typical Brazilian things such as the famous "Caipirinha" made of "Cachaça", a new concept in fruits called "Açaí na Tigela", a place to listen to good music and to experience a new concept in food "Food by Kilo".

This is to be placed in Medellín and could have a massive impact to the population that seeks new forms of relaxation and entertainment as well as counting with the presence of thousands of foreigners that are now being affluent to this city.

As we know both countries are quite similar for the both being Latin cultures, but there are many small aspects that differentiate the Brazilian culture to the Colombian one. Therefore we were careful and specific when relating both ideas or when bringing an idea such as this from a more international environment to a more narrow minded scenario.

INTRODUCTION

"Culture is a complicated word" as Jon S. Vincent says in his book "Cultures and customs of Brazil", what expresses how difficult it is to express one country´s or even one national or regional culture, nevertheless in this paper the 9 dimensions and approaches to culture by Hofstede, Hall and others will help as a framework to depict a bit of the cultural aspects of each analysed place.

In this paper we shall talk about Colombian and Brazilian cultural background to put them both in comparative perspective to develop the terrain and possibilities for a new Brazilian business idea in Medellín.

We will analyse the profile of adaptation of this idea, based on the two countries cultural dimensional differences by Geert Hofstede. Also, regarding and analysing it with aspects already reviewed in the class during this semester.

We will describe the new concepts to be introduced to the Medellín environment and how it will be accepted or not but its inhabitants and especially by its potential customers.

TARGET COUNTRY CULTURAL BACKGROUND

COLOMBIA

Colombia is a very particular country when we talk about culture because there is not only one culture; there are a lot of cultures inside the same country. Therefore Colombia can be called a Multinational country with various nations within.

We can identify, as Estanislao Zuleta says in its text, three main ones: that of the interior, the countryside, and the coastal regions. And it has become very particular and diverse for a lot of time that, meanwhile in the coastal region slavery was the method; the Antioquian region, where people are called "Paisas", had a patriarchal religious way of life; and in the altiplano region subordination was the way things were done.

Even now, all over the country, we can identify those behaviours that prevail in the roots of society, such as the collectivism in the coast, the Paisa entrepreneurship and the social differences in Bogotá. Those components made Colombia a very interesting case of study when talking about business, even more when the goal is to introduce a foreign business inside a region. Only a few things unify the country: Sports, political elections and beauty pageants. [1] 

But we are going to focus on the Antioquian region for our business idea which is going to be located in Medellín, specifically. According to Geert Hofstede, Latin American countries are quiet similar, in terms of its five dimensions. Colombia is known for being a Country where there is a lot of collectivism within its regions, especially for the values they share and the legacy that was left from Colonization.

Paisas, specifically, are known for its ethnocentrism in a collectivist way, they care for each other and for its region, but there is a sense of curiosity and friendliness that makes them accept the foreign visit of other cultures, even though they don´t make the approach right away. It is a process that takes time, but if introduced correctly Paisas will accept any reasonable business idea there is.

Masculinity is very common nowadays, there is not genre equity achieved yet, and we can see it clearly in jobs where for the same amount of work, the money earned vary. Paisas come from a very conservative and masculine society in which women had only few words to say in choosing crucial things in life. Nevertheless it has changed greatly and women have entered present consumer society with the same or even more strongly than men themselves.

The power distance is high because there are rich people and poor people, and also more important there are this nonsense prejudices left by Spaniards on people´s minds. You better be white and rich if you want to be heard.

In the case of Medellín is a bit different from the rest of the country. As the indigenous population in Medellín was all exterminated and only white Spaniards remained in big working families, power distance is a bit lower in Medellín than in Bogotá, where there were more mestizos being look down upon.

In Medellín and Antioquia the more homogenous way of colonization formed a society where everybody could look at his neighbour as equal. We can see in the commonly accepted and spread use of "Vos" voice which reduces the distance between the excluyent "Usted" and the informal "Tú". Therefore power distance is less than in the other regions.

Finally Uncertainty avoidance is high in Colombia, and also in Medellín, because what has been achieved by hard work is not likely to be left to uncertainty to take it away from us. Therefore insurance and security companies are likely to be found all over and also People always trust everything to their God almighty. Here everything is "If God wants", but anyway the search for free will prevails.

Let´s check Hofstede´s scores for each dimension for the Colombian case.

hofstede_colombia.gif

http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_colombia.shtml

Colombia is very similar to the average of the other Latin American countries.

hofstede_latin_america.gif

http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_colombia.shtml

Colombia being as different internally as it is, shares some of the same values when talking about the aspects seen in class.

Talking about Relationship with nature, apart from indigenous communities that respect the natural environment in which they live, regular Colombians, from any region don´t really care about nature, this can be seen only a few years ago, when before fines and police tickets were introduced, littering the roads was and everyday thing with parents wrongly showing their kids that throwing papers on the road was more convenient that keeping them somewhere until a rubbish bin was found. Plus, it is common, and Colombia is not the exception, that in developing industrializing nations, the rivers of the cities are highly polluted.

Personal space is closer than the American one, but more comfortable than the Indian one, for example. We keep a very warm relationship with our relatives and friends, and we feel comfortable being together.

Regarding time, Colombians are extremely relaxed with time. They don´t respect other people´s time and usually arrive always late. Also, things that should work just in time barely function in this country due to the lack of proper developed infrastructure. They tend to do several things at the time; hence they are Polychronic to certain extent.

Finally, regarding context Colombia could be seen as a High context culture because communicators are assumed a great deal with communality of knowledge and views, so is implicit or communicated in indirect ways.

SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES WITH COLOMBIA

BRAZIL VS COLOMBIA (SÃO PAULO VS MEDELLÍN)

Brazil is considered one of the richest countries in racial diversity. Divided in five main regions which are north, the laid back Northeast, the developing Central-West, the powerful Southeast, and the civilized South, this country reunites a lot of cultures together. Descending from Europeans, Africans, native Indigenous and Asians, and beside the political division, we can say that there are two Brazils, the undeveloped north and the wealthy south. But the economic factor doesn´t affect the unity that the whole country has, mainly because two factors Carnival and Football.

Brazil is also a very interesting case of study because it has a lot of similarities with our country, Colombia. Being a South American country we can identify that its Hofstede indexes don't change much in comparison to Colombia.

The power distance is practically the same in Brazil, first because of its population (which is bigger) and second because of the division of industrialization and economy. It can be seen that an industrial Paulistano is similar to an entrepreneur Paisa, although keeping the scales in order. We can´t compare a city such as São Paulo that has had a huge immigrational affluence that has enriched the city beyond its limits in terms of cultural multiculturalism and diversity, with a city such as Medellín that is still waking up from centuries of isolation and years of violence.

Both cities have suffered from the poor affluence of unskilled labour hand, in São Paulo because they saw a better economical future there and in Medellín because they were running away from the country side violence. It makes Power distance in both cities rank medium to high, between the rich workers and the poor.

In terms of individualism, Brazil appears to be bigger than our country. It phenomenon occurs because of the fast growth developed by Brazil in the recent years that makes the people be more focus on their own stuff, materialistic goals come in first. Anyhow, it remains a fairly high collectivist country similar to what we said about Colombia and specifically the Paulistan and Paisa situation are similar in terms of development and not really caring for its neighbour that much, although not to the extend as in the case in Bogotá, where the only relation with your neighbour is when you hear him flushing the toilet from across the wall.

Brazil is well known as a maternal society, where family is very important. The masculinity index from Brazil compared with ours could change depending of the region of Colombia. In the case of São Paulo it is a bit different to the rest of Brazil, because being an International society; they seek for assertiveness and competitiveness in business. In the case of Medellín, the situation varies towards Masculinity in certain amount. As we said before, here the conservative and Catholic household left Femininity behind.

The index of long term orientation is not available for Colombia, but we can make it very comparable to the Brazilian case, this is because all the estate enterprises have defined a long term objective in order to be competitive in the future.

São Paulo is a High context type of city, because only with a few words people get to assume things. Paulistanos, also, accept and mix with other cultures in a wave of multiculturalism. Medellín in this case has been transformed by the massive amount of foreigners that are coming to the city. Therefore we could say that Medellín is prepared to open any kind of business and that it is High context as well.

Time is Polychronic for the Paulistano because they do several things at the same time. For a Paisa, time has become, the day by day, but it is also mainly Polychronic for the enlargement of traffic and population that it has undergone.

Personal space is very close in a city of 21 million people such as São Paulo. For Medellín nowadays riding on the Metro at peak hour can be a very close personal experience as well.

Finally, as any other developing country big city, São Paulo and Medellín, in different scales, have a Pollution problem due to its high levels of industrialization and number of cars. Paulistanos have worse mobilization problems than Chinese cities. Its Traffic jams are massive and legendary. Although big efforts are made Nature in São Paulo receives only harm from its citizens.

hofstede_brazil.gif

http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_brazil.shtml

BUSINESS IDEA

"PRAIA" LOUNGE

The main idea is to bring to the city of Medellín a new concept of Brazilian chilled out place for food and recreation, music and new ideas, where you can enjoy the Brazilian culture at its best. Based on several main new concepts, such as offering Cocktails of "Caipirinha" with real Cachaça, food by weight or kilo and MPB (Popular Brazilian Music), at the same time we would like to offer a big variety of imported new flavours of famous Brazilian fruits, such as Açaí na Tigela.

Some definitions

Caipirinha: Brazil most traditional cocktail drink, which is world renown for its exotic taste and its secret ingredient "Cachaça". It is the quaint essential bet of our business idea and could impact the consumer´s taste in Medellín. Its recipe is very simple and it consists of:

1 lime

2 ounces of cachaça

Ice cubes

Sugar to taste

caipirinhamangueseco.jpg

http://www.maria-brazil.org/newimages/caipirinhamangueseco.jpg

Cachaça: Is a type of liquor made of sugarcane when fermented. As popular as the aguardiente in Medellín is, Cachaça is known all over Brazil. It is called "Pinga" as well, which will be of high amusement to our Colombian consumers for the sexual connotation of the word in Spanish slang.

cachaca2.jpg

http://www.made-in-england.org/images/cachaca2.jpg

Food by kilo: This is a very common option in Brazil; basically you pay only for what you eat, if you have a big appetite be prepared to pay more. It is a great way for short budgets to be able to try little portions of every plate, such as stroganoff and typical Brazilian regional food. Due to the fact that it is sold by weight regardless of its kind, you get access to all variety of food. The idea could be introduce in Medellín as a big variety buffet.

untitled.bmp

http://marcelokatsuki.folha.blog.uol.com.br/images/kilo-bufe-07.jpg

MPB: Brazilian popular music and the famous Samba and Bossanova will be played in this place. It gives access to new forms of culture that could enrich Medellín selection. Although is not going to be composed of only Brazilian music, this place will play all sorts of regular classic rock and cool music.

mpb_logo.gif

http://slipcue.com/music/brazil/aa_imagesbrazil/aa_styles/mpb_logo.gif

Açaí na Tigela: (Açaí in the bowl) Is the most typical Brazilian dish made of mashed and frozen Amazonian Açaí fruit. It is served with Granola and Banana, basically, and served like a Smoothie. We could offer it as dessert in our Brazilian business place.

acai%20novo%202.jpg

http://www.juicybrazil.com/images/acai%20novo%202.jpg

These articles will be available at our place. And we´ll take care of the importation process and the logistics to make it successful.

As we know, all cultures are different, but the experiment is to transplant one idea from another culture, shape it up according to the similar cultural values that could make a person from the target place identify with the product from the foreign culture.

Due to the necessity of cultural enrichment in the city of Medellín, food, drinks, music and representation of different cultures and ethnicities are beginning to flow in to Medellín. The Parochial days are over and a new type of cultural taste is developing in its citizen. Therefore we see the opportunity of introducing the Brazilian culture into these mountains.

There is an element of added value to this idea and it is the fact that thousands of tourists and visitors are nowadays choosing Medellín as its ideal destination. More connected with frequent flights from Panamá and Quito, Medellín is now on the "Gringo trail", which creates a demand of places to offer international and not only autochthonous spots in the city. [2] 

Based on a business shop located the city of São Paulo, in Brazil, called "Praia", we would like to open a similar place in Medellín. The idea is that the business becomes a place where any person of the world can relax, eat, drink and dance and also listen to good music in a safe and laid back environment.

To begin with, we must talk to the owners of Praia Lounge in São Paulo, to franchise it to Medellín; they will assist us in how to implement the business idea and the concept. We must take into account that several translations and things must be stipulated from the beginning so that our business could be successful and we could introduce the concept of a Brazilian Lounge called Praia.

Analysing the 4 Marketing P´s

For the product we have shown in this paper a large variety of typical Brazilian things that are to be introduced to the Medellín customer´s taste, such as Açaí na Tigela, Caipirinha, Cachaça, Brazilian music and Food by Kilo. We rely on the countries both cultural similarities analysed from the authors.

For the price, we would try to keep it as accessible as possible, at the beginning things must be imported, but later we could find strategies to develop the same products in the Colombian market, perhaps even creating our own line of well distilled Cachaça.

For the place we thought of renting that place on the corner that faces "Parque La Presidenta", very well located near "Parque Lleras" and in a beautiful scenario. This will attract many locals and foreigners that will hear the music and will want to grab a bite inside.

DSCN0471.JPG

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_OqhrLXlWd60/RuX80wGJzDI/AAAAAAAABDc/xuRi5MOF-lY/DSCN0471.JPG

For the Promotion part, we could print banners and brochures and also advertise it all over the radio stations and even on regional TV. Brochures must be taken to the hostels in Medellín for our place to become popular.

Finally, the target customer we are willing to attract is the young customer with its family to eat Açaí na Tigela in the afternoons and on Sundays, but also a more mature crowd of musical appreciation at night along with the foreigners.

CONCLUSIONS

- Colombia is a country that contents several nations within, it is not the same when dealing in business or simply relating to somebody from the coast, or the interior, and even inside the interior, many other sub cultures are found.

- Brazil is a large nation, but could be comprise in the laid back and undeveloped north and the wealthy and developed south, where millions of immigrants enriched its cultural arena. Brazil is an emerging nation on the way to be developed.

- Several similarities and relating ideas can be found in the cities of São Paulo and Medellín, keeping the scales, of course, if Medellín had more space to have received immigration the way São Paulo did and business and industrial work as much as it does, it would be the Colombian Megalopolis. But although its development is fairly vibrant, Medellín suffers still from strict conservatism.

- One should just take a look at Avenida Regional in Medellín and see how it resembles Marginal Pinheiros in São Paulo, and several other industrial developing aspects of the city to compare that Medellín could be called a small sister of São Paulo.

- Our business idea could be successful due to the need of cultural development of a city such as Medellín and the great affluence of foreigners that the city is undergoing right now. This could be the perfect spot to relax and go eating, drinking and dancing if things are well put to success.

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