Global marketers seeking growth in emerging markets shouldn't underestimate their ambitious local rivals. Take Brazil's Natura. Already the No. 1 cosmetic company in Latin America, Natura is building an international brand around natural, socially responsible and sustainable products.
It follows a successful direct-sales model, working with 1 million consultants in Brazil and another 200,000 in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Chile, but splurged on a concept store in Paris, plus a 50-person-strong research-and-development unit there, to take advantage of the sophisticated French consumer's knowledge of and interest in beauty products. French women's magazine Madame Figaro even rated as a "must have" a Natura exfoliating cream whose active ingredient is Brazilian fruit acai.
"We've always been concerned about using natural ingredients," said Natura VP Jose Vicente Marino. "French consumers are highly aware, and their demands have helped us improve. Before becoming a global brand, we want to reach global quality."
Natura, traded on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange since 2004, posted a 20% increase in revenue to $2.9 billion in 2010. According to Euromonitor, Natura gained market share during the first quarter of 2011 in each of its Latin American markets, including Brazil, where the company has a 24% share in its core business of cosmetic, fragrance and personal-care products.
Ads are done by Sao Paulo agency Taterka, which adapts campaigns for Latin America, where the focus is mostly on the Natura umbrella brand. Within Brazil, it promotes Natura's seven brands.