Alex Riha, head of international sales at NatMags, spends most of
his time working abroad. In his previous role at The Guardian, he
frequented Buenos Aires, Santiago, Caracas and Mexico City on a regular
basis, launching four editions of Guardian Weekly in partnership with
local English titles.
’People think Latin America is an homogeneous entity but each country is
different,’ says Riha.
’Many pan-regional campaigns for fmcg brands are planned and bought in
Miami, which complicates communication because local customs and social
issues affect consumer attitudes. Consumers in Buenos Aires and Santiago
look to Europe for their inspiration, while in Mexico City and Caracas,
the focus is on the US.
’Doing business can be tedious. Speed and accuracy are not always
priorities. The flipside is there’s a great willingness to develop and
modernise. Technology and the net are opening up possibilities for
’It helps to know the language (Spanish in all countries except Brazil,
where Portuguese is spoken) and, if you love football, you’ll find much
in common with the locals. Vegetarians have a tough time but if you
enjoy meat, fish and great wine, you’ll love it.
’Dancing is very popular in all cities, from tango in Buenos Aires to
salsa in Rio. The scenery is tremendous throughout the continent. If you
get a chance to live there, you won’t regret it.’