Tiago Ribeiro, also known as Tito, is a social media and digital transformation expert with experience all over Latin America. For more than 17 years, he has been conducting digital projects for both SMBs and big brands such as Facebook and Johnson & Johnson.
COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation. As a result of the shift to digital, over 90% of organizations have taken some type of digital initiative, Gartner reports.
However, while most organizations have made attempts to transform their technology and processes to meet the needs of their clients, many have failed to revamp their culture which is crucial for company growth.
Data proves this — as much as 62% of agencies cite culture as a major hurdle to digital transformation.
Hence, we got in touch with Tiago Ribeiro, also known as Tito, to learn more about his Renaissance project developed to help SMBs immerse the right technologies but also to drive structural and cultural changes.
Tiago also shares some brand building tips and social media strategies that organizations can leverage to maximize online platforms.
Spotlight: Today you are an expert in digital transformation, strategic planning and social media with more than 17 years of experience. How did you get your foot in the door, enabling you to work with huge clients such as Facebook, Coca-Cola, and L'Oréal?
Tiago Ribeiro: I literally had to push the door. I come from a poor family, from the periphery of a city in Brazil’s countryside. I have had to work since I was young. Then I got the opportunity to work with the creation of digital projects and innovation at a radio station. Digital was coming and the market needed new people.
I had to study a lot and prepare myself much more than privileged people to be able to work in agencies. So, I was very technically qualified to attend to big brands.
I must confess, the most difficult thing was getting a job in an agency. Here in Brazil agencies are very “elitist”. In general, few of those who come from the same social structure as mine can enter the labour market. I was lucky to do it and I had to make a lot of effort to maintain my place.
Today, big clients notice that I can give a different perspective to a project since I have a different life story. They want me to be the leader behind the project because they know I’ll build a multicultural team focused on diversity, capable of delivering the imaginary.
At the beginning of your consultancy career, how did you build your relationship with these global companies, and what's the added value and perspective you provide to these clients?
I had a blog called “Revista Mineira” for more than 10 years. There I talked about the publicity market. The blog was a support medium for many important awards like the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
This made it possible for me to circulate among the world's greatest executives. I always focused on social media, innovation and content, and so I became a reference. Important brands looked for me so that I could give strategic direction for important actions and campaigns.
Having this blog means that I had to do a lot of research, and I knew exactly what the positioning of a brand was in different markets like the United States, Germany, India and China. I think this also contributes to me having a very different and global view and being able to offer creative and innovative ideas.
During the pandemic, you created the Renaissance project, a free-of-charge consultancy to help SMBs embed technologies across their processes to drive fundamental change. What was the driving force behind this decision and how did your valuable advice help businesses stay innovative and survive during these difficult times?
I was back in Brazil during the pandemic and I couldn't find work. I spoke to a lot of people and agencies, but, as I said, the Brazilian publicity and communication market is very restricted.
There aren't many black people or LGBTQIA+ in leadership positions around here. This is the industry’s serious structural problem. Seeing this, I almost got depressed. It was then that I had the idea of freely helping entrepreneurs to keep me occupied and do something useful for society.
Within a few weeks, I had a big demand. Many companies needed to understand and make structural and cultural changes. Digital transformation is much more linked to company culture rather than the use of new technologies. So, I created a methodology to help scale SMBs.
I helped many companies in the Hispanic market, established a lot of consultancies in Spain, Portugal and countries of Latin America as well as for the United States Hispanic market.
How important is having a solid brand personality and what are three things businesses should have to build a successful brand?
I believe that the first is finding a purpose. When a brand (or company) has a solid purpose, it knows where it wants to go. Many companies get lost in everyday life so they're not capable of looking to the future and thinking in scale. Every brand needs to have a person focused on this, on thinking about the future.
The second thing is having a team passionate about what they do. If you only have employees, no matter how capacitated they are, they won't think with their hearts.
For the third thing, I believe that “relationship” is a keyword. A company or a brand that doesn't build relationships always wastes much more money and effort on prospecting clients and retaining them. Making them love the brand is the way to create true communities. Today, that can easily be done through social networks.
Social media presence has become essential in brand building. What are strategies businesses should implement to maximize these online platforms?
It depends a lot on why they use social networks.
In brand building, it's very important for the brand to tell a story, to be real. To maximize the reach in their social networks, it’s indispensable to have a good strategy for paid media.
One of the methodologies I created during these years was a continuous circle for content strategy, where everything begins with the capture of data. The first step is analyzing data on consumers, competition and the market and culturally contextualizing it, linked to the region.
Next would be bringing some important insights for creation to tell a story and create storytelling with all the brand's contact points.
Then it's time for getting out of proprietary networks.
I like to make campaigns where people talk about it in real life and that become part of popular culture. Creating a good activation with influencers. But it's not just about calling "content creators" and paying. Doing this is a waste of money.
It's also necessary to tell a good story. Everything has to be connected. For this to happen it is necessary to have a good leader within the social media team otherwise it's a waste of time and money.
What is the future of social and how Web 3.0 is changing the social world? Can you share the biggest trends you’re seeing in the next few years?
Today social commerce has appeared as a great trend, as well as live commerce.
When a social team needs to have financial results for the company, the conversation changes. The team not only starts to report to marketing, but to the company's CEO. They start becoming part of the company. When this happens, the marketing team can execute projects with bigger investments.
Web 3.0 is the decentralization of information. Imagine a world without Google, Meta, or ByteDance. That's what we'll build in the future, a world created by communities. Today games are a great community that already work with Web 3.0 models.
As for Metaverse, I believe that we'll still evolve a lot. I think that technology isn't ready or accessible today.
Being that you're from Latin America, what advice would you give businesses aiming to target your demographics, and how important is this information in online campaign optimization?
I think this should have happened a long time ago. Peru's consumer differs a lot from an Argentinian one. In the past, a movie would be created and adapted to regional markets.
Today, besides local adaptation in advertising pieces, it’s necessary to bring closer global concepts to small groups and communities. This is very difficult when you don't have a diverse view and team. My main advice is to invest in diversity, talent and in people who have different perspectives to get as close as possible to the real consumer.
You recently gave a lecture for Ogilvy Miami’s team. What’s the biggest takeaway from the talk and how can this help agencies targeting various cultures?
I'd like very much to thank Luciano "Chany" D'Amelio for inviting me. He's a genius. Ogilvy Miami can become the world's biggest multicultural agency under Chany's leadership.
Certainly, this unit of WWP's group has everything to coordinate campaign launches in Latin America and in the Hispanic market. The agency's team proved to be very open to innovation and cultural exchange.
I see that Ogilvy Miami is capable of strategically linking many talents while working remotely. This way they can create countless exchange projects aiming at promoting cultural exchanges within a structure that doesn't train professionals.
But also with aiming to give value to the agency's clients. By having a hub of regional creativity with several local talents, it would be a company's dream to work with this team because the team will certainly offer what no other could.
Thank you for your time, Tiago Ribeiro and best of luck!