MIAMI: Brand owners in Latin America could benefit from developing strategies that cluster audiences with similar characteristics across different countries, new research suggests.

Prior to its annual conference next week, The Festival of Media Latin America, organised by C Squared, has partnered with Warc to poll 100 senior agency, media owner and advertiser executives operating in the region.

In all, 17.8% of respondents agreed that brand strategies were "very" transferable between markets, while 76.7% thought this was "somewhat" the case and just 5.5% dismissed such a tactic altogether.

Equally, 90.4% of contributors believed neighbouring Spanish-speaking nations at least occasionally shared characteristics that marketers could exploit, and 9.6% stated they "always" did so.

"Sports passion abounds in almost all Latin America markets," the country manager of a research agency said. "Each country [also] has specialist celebrities that a brand can endorse."

In keeping with this viewpoint, 65.8% of the sample asserted that different demographics - such as the affluent and middle class - had more in common with peers in other parts of Latin America than with their countrymen in lower income segments.

"It could even be said that these middle classes have more common with European middles classes than other demographics within their own countries," an account executive at a media agency added.

Approximately 81% of respondents named Brazil as the region's most innovative market for media and marketing, well ahead of Argentina on 53.4% and Colombia on 45.2%.

The Brazilian footwear brand, Havaianas, was also cited as the Latin American brand with the most potential for overseas expansion because of its sound financial backing, respected marketing strategy, cross cultural appeal and innovative products. A case study discussing its flip-flop range is available here.

Havaianas emerged as the favourite regional candidate for growth ahead of Grupo Bimbo, the Mexican bakery goods group, and Natura, the eco-friendly cosmetics manufacturer also from Brazil, and a company discussed in more detail here.

However, foreign groups were seen as the most innovative operators in Latin America today. Coca-Cola, the soft drinks group, was perceived to be the most innovative corporation followed by Unilever, the FMCG manufacturer, and Nike, the sportswear specialist.

These three were all cited ahead of indigenous companies such as Havaianas, the brewers Corona and Quilmes, and Petrobas, the energy group.

Asked to nominate industry sectors with the most potential for growth in terms of both sales and media investment in the region, some 68.5% of respondents chose the technology sector. Retail was a distant second on 37%, followed by cosmetics on 31.5%.

The survey also asked about the biggest barriers to the growth of brands in Latin America. Economic and political instability was cited by 65.8% of respondents, followed by social inequality on 31.5% and regulatory constraints on 30.1%.

Warc will be attending the Festival of Media Latin America, which runs from September 23-25, with reports from the event appearing on the subscription service soon afterwards.

Data sourced from Warc