Last updated: 5 December 2014
WhatsApp has quickly become a phenomenon in Brazil, not only because of its ever growing user base in the country but for the innovative ways businesses are using the application. In this article we will look at the ways that Brazilian businesses are using WhatsApp.
WhatsApp in Brazil
The recent increase in sales of smartphones and other mobile devices in Brazil led to a massive and rapid adoption of messaging apps for communication. WhatsApp, one of the most downloaded apps in the world, has substantial growth rates in Brazil, and recent reports suggest that close to 70% of smartphone users in the country are actively communicating through the application.
Functions like group creation, audio, picture and video sharing, combined with the ease of use and low to nonexistent barrier of entry made the software deeply appealing not only for Brazilian mobile devices users but for companies and public institutions who see it as a simple, personal and fast way to reach their public.
Cases of entrepreneurs, local police, firefighter departments, political candidates during the latest elections and even the adoption by the country’s national football team all serve as examples of the power and reach of WhatsApp as a widespread means of communication in Brazil.
Examples of WhatsApp use by Brazilian Businesses
Brazilian businesses have adopted WhatsApp for means that range from an alternative internal and public communications tool to pioneering efforts that improve their communications strategy.
One of the most interesting uses for WhatsApp by Brazilian companies is the personalization of publicity campaigns for consumers. By enabling direct and two-way interactions with their audience, these campaigns promote higher engagement and innovative methods to deliver their message. Some examples are:
- Brazilian chocolate maker Lacta and advertising agency W3haus created a marketing campaign for their Sonho de Valsa brand of bonbons during Valentine’s Day in 2013, where users could ask for suggestions of places to go or receive customized gifts, like photo montages or wallpapers, to present to their loved ones through WhatsApp
- In early 2014, consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble promoted their Head and Shoulders line of shampoo through short, shareable WhatsApp videos of Brazilian soccer coach Joel Santana saying humorous phrases associated with their brand and carrying the product
- Another of Unilever’s product portfolio, the Hellmann’s brand of mayonnaise was promoted through a WhatsApp campaign in May 2014 where users could ask for suggestions and support for recipes using their product
- Bookstore PanaPaná, in association with orphanage NGO Casa da criança Santo Amaro and advertising agency Mood launched a campaign in May 2014 where grown up book customers could read bedtime stories out loud and send the audio to children at the NGO through WhatsApp
- Advertising agency Fbiz and Pernord Richard Brasil, maker of Chivas Regal brand of whiskey, promoted their popular drink through a WhatsApp campaign in June 2014 where users could have a virtual barman send flirtatious messages by handing them a name and phone number
Marketing, Sales and Customer Support
Brazilian commerce has begun to use WhatsApp as a way to offer personalized contact with customers, whether through individual product suggestions or serving as a channel to receive purchase feedback and offer customer support.
A recent report by the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service, Sebrae, indicates that 18% of e-commerce companies in the country have started to use WhatsApp to offer customer support. The online retailer of muscle development supplements Centralfit offers the app as a way for customers to verify the correct dosage and clarify any doubts about the application of their products.
There are also cases of small and micro businesses who started to use WhatsApp as a sales and product promotion platform, with positive results. Store owners reported that the closer relationships with customers led to an increase in sales and higher engagement with their public. Additionally, real estate brokers, such as São Paulo based Lopes, started to use the app to reach customers and provide pictures and other detailed information about their products.
WhatsApp is also being used as a powerful tool for internal communications in Brazilian companies. The ability to create messaging groups, similar to the popular method of creating email groups but with the simplicity and agility of the mobile app, has made it an appealing option for communication between company owners and employees.
CEOs of companies such as the startup Easy Taxi and digital media producer Safari have reported that WhatsApp increased the speed in which messages were communicated and that the app has become indispensable for their communications strategy.
Many Brazilian newspapers have started to use WhatsApp as a channel to receive contributions from their readers. Images, audios and videos sent through the app have also been used in published newspapers, TV and Internet.
A list of newspapers that opened news reception through WhatsApp include:
- Folha de São Paulo
- Jornal da Record News
- O Dia
- Jornal de Brasília
- Correio Braziliense
- Diário de Pernambuco
- Diário Catarinense
Delivery and Services
There are also cases of businesses in Brazil which started using WhatsApp as an alternative way to contact and book deliveries and services. Most of these are minor enterprises who use the app as a pioneering method to reach customers. These are, for example:
- Pizza, snacks and beverage deliveries
- Taxi Cabs
- Car repairs
- Dance classes