Spotlight: Mexico City

Karen Ovseyevitz, president, Latin America, Porter Novelli, details why traditional media relations is still a crucial strategy for PR pros in the city.

What makes Mexico City great?
Two things that are working exceptionally well are the use of celebrities as brand endorsers and pushing the local cultural boundaries by making brands more irreverent.

International and local celebs have a tremendous influence among the general population, so working with them to tell a brand story is very effective.

How has the PR and communications industry changed in recent years?
The PR industry in Mexico has become more sophisticated. Brand reputation has garnered greater attention from C-level executives across most sectors.

Making brand reputation a top priority within organizations gives communications practitioners the opportunity to play more active roles in executive discussions and allows these PR pros to have greater influence among the decision-makers in companies.

Also, the global economic crisis in 2009 forced the PR sector to innovate, especially around offering clients a wider array of cost-effective services that provide maximum impact.

Are traditional PR tools still important in a digitally savvy place such as Mexico City?
Absolutely, especially traditional media relations and grassroots efforts for PR. Although we live in a hyper-connected world, only 43% of Mexico City’s population are Internet users. This means it is imperative to continue using channels that reach the broader population, making sure those who don’t have access to digital information can still be reached by our clients’ messages. Print, TV, and radio continue to be influential.

How are citizens using social media?
There are three major areas: political and social issues activism, brand engagement, and connecting with friends and family. A key point to consider is that Mexicans are naturally sociable people and citizens like the way that social media allows them to play an active role to voice their opinion about important topics of interest. Mexican users are above the global average for hours consumed on social media.

How easy is it to find PR talent?
Finding talent has always been complex. We’ve found that the majority of local PR talent are professionals of other disciplines who develop their PR skills working in the field or at agencies.

There are no PR-specific majors at colleges, so professionals earn their degrees in broad communications studies, such as journalism and marketing. It is important for companies to take an active role in attracting and retaining talent.

What do PR professionals need to understand about the city to do business successfully?
I always provide three pieces of advice to executives: transportation traffic impacts the way we conduct business locally; storytelling with a local flavor is a must; and social media should not be underestimated.

Mexico City is known for heavy traffic and a three-hour commute is not unheard of. This is a great consideration PR pros must take into account for meetings and events. In terms of language, it’s not enough for communications practitioners to translate messages into Spanish. In order to make pieces stick, they need to resonate culturally with the Chilangos – the city’s residents.  

Finally, it’s important to understand that many of the locals spend a lot of time out in the streets, so word of mouth amplified through social can be a powerful combination.

What is your perfect way to spend a weekend in Mexico City?
Exploring neighborhoods by bicycle, while enjoying local restaurants is always a great experience. You can see the Colonia Roma neighborhood, which boasts great local restaurants and cafés.

Also, a visit is not complete if you don’t visit the Zócalo, Castillo de Chapultepec, and the National Anthropology Museum. If there is time, I suggest visiting Xochimilco, where gondola-like boats, called trajineras, take visitors through canals to experience local food and music.


Check In
1. Mexican Association of PR Professionals

Luis Carracci 120, Mexico City
www.prorp.org.mx

2. Chamber of Commerce
Paseo de la Reforma No. 42,
Col. Centro, Delegación,
Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06040,
Mexico City
www.ccmexico.com.mx

3. El Universal
Bucareli No 8 Colonia Centro
Mexico City
www.eluniversal.com.mx

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