Bruna Garcia Fonseca
São Paulo – The research “Business and Investment Relations between Brazil and Arab Countries,” commissioned by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, was picked for presentation at Esomar Latin America 2019, a congress on research, data and innovation that took place on Monday (8) in São Paulo. Held by the European Society of Marketing Research, a global association for the industry, the event will run until this Tuesday (9) at the Tivoli Mofarrej Hotel.
Presented by Arab Chamber CEO Tamer Mansour and H2R Pesquisas Avançadas director Alessandra Frisso, the survey looks into the image Brazil enjoys in Arab countries and vice versa. H2R partnered up with Dubai’s Asfour Research Network for the survey, which covered five Arab countries: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Algeria. “We managed to get a sample from across all three Arab regions – North Africa, the Gulf and the Levant,” explained Frisso during the presentation. The survey was taken onsite in English and Arabic. “In Saudi Arabia, for instance, in order to interview women, we had to get women interviewers,” she said.
Frisso said one outstanding aspect of the survey was the fact that Arabs don’t see Brazil as being all about Carnaval. “Carnaval, which is sold off as synonymous with Brazilianness, went all but unmentioned by Arab interviewees, in all likelihood because such a celebration isn’t part of their culture. The things most often associated with Brazil for them was football and coffee,” she noted.
Conversely, whenever Brazilians think about the Arab world, they will mostly think of the fighting in Syria, but also the wealthy emirate of Dubai. “Brazilians are Western-minded. They will largely base themselves on the American and European perspectives, and the news,” said Frisso. According to her, another remarkable aspect of the research was the friendly way in which Arabs and Brazilians regard one another. “They are mutually sympathetic. These are regions that do not reject one another. They are not prejudiced, and they embrace one another,” she argued.
The survey was commissioned by the Arab Chamber for the Brazil-Arab Countries Economic forum held in April last year, with 1338 respondents. Tamer Mansour believes the work was utterly important and provided mileposts for the Arab Chamber’s strategic planning over the next ten years.
“The survey was perfectly in line with our needs going into the forum, and moreover it laid the groundwork for our planning and our communication strategy. It showed that Brazil and the Arab countries sustain a very positive and promising connection,” said Mansour.
Esomar chairman Joaquim Bretcha said the survey was selected in order to bring even more knowledge into an event that specializes in Latin America. “We had a record-high number of submissions. The committee had a hard time with selection. The selected surveys are all great, and the fact that the Arab Chamber’s survey brings a different region into play is always enriching,” he said.
“This type of research accepts the fact that the world is multipolar, and this South-South collaboration between Brazil and the Arab countries is very reflective of the future of culture and trade and the evolution of surveys themselves. We will see more and more of these efforts that steer a bit away from the usual patterns in congresses of this kind,” selection committee coordinator Diego Casaravilla said.
Esomar events creation producer Alfonso Regalado said Brazil was picked to host the event because it boasts the culture, the color, the cuisine, and more importantly a favorable business environment to represent Latin America.
As for the survey on Brazil and Arab countries, Regalado said research covering two regions as different as these is not easy to come by. “The Arab world often gets misinterpreted, and we were fascinated with this project. We found it very interesting that a survey should bridge the gap between these two regions. At this point in time, uniting different parts of the world is a very important thing,” he argued.
Arab Chamber president Rubens Hannun said this is a recognition of the survey’s quality and of the Arab Chamber’s efforts. “The fact of being selected for an event as important as this one says a lot about the quality and relevance of our survey,” he said.
“Esomar is active in 60-plus countries, and it curates and canvasses the survey market. We have a code of ethics and good practices, and the congress is extremely relevant. This has been a major achievement, and the Arab Chamber’s Marketing Department, which helped us through this process, especially (Marketing Coordinator) Juliana Burza, who gave us full support,” said Frisso. H2R is an Arab Chamber member company.
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum