10 innovations pushing customer expectations even higher in South & Central America!


The innovation bonanza can be hard to get to grips with...

New products, services and campaigns are launched across the region every day. Some thrive, acquire millions of customers, spawn imitators and achieve fame. And some don’t. But what does it all mean for you? And what should your next innovation be?

Today's innovations shape tomorrow's customer expectations.

That's why we're about to look at 10 of them ;)

Regular readers will know the secret at the heart of trend-driven innovation: for actionable foresight on what consumers will want next, stop watching customers and start watching innovations. That means new products, services, marketing campaigns, startups and business models.

Why? Because game-changing innovations are reshaping the expectations of customers all over South & Central America. And new customer expectations spread: across markets, industries, demographics and more. Eventually they’ll spread all the way to your door!

In this Briefing, we’ve collected ten innovations from across the region that are already changing what customers across expect from brands and businesses.

Your job? Be relentless about asking: what do these emerging expectations mean for me? How can I innovate to meet them?

And yes, we’ll be sharing some thoughts of our own on that ;)


Before we dive in, a quick THANK YOU to the South & Central America-based members of our global spotting network, tw:in. These switched-on spotters send us the local examples and insights from their markets – from Buenos Aires to Brasília to Bogotá – which we share with you. Not a member of tw:in yet? Join the community and start sharing what YOU see!


10 expectation-raising innovations that should be on YOUR radar.



Platform offers secure platform for whistleblowers in Peru

In TRANSPARENCY TRIUMPH, we talked about how many Latin American consumers are demanding a more transparent, accountable society. So what is your brand doing to help make that a reality?

Launched in March 2016, Perúleaks is an independent platform that provides a safe space for citizens to anonymously report crimes and corruption to local journalists. Information is encrypted, stored on secure servers and sent to the relevant partner organization, which ensures the leak is accurate and of public interest prior to publishing. Perúleaks is part of the Associated Whistleblowing Press (AWP), a Belgium-based nonprofit that combats corruption.



Ride-sharing app connects countries via cross-border service

Consumer expectations around ultra-convenience and seamless service (see END OF WAITING for more on that) have literally crossed borders!

From March 2016, residents of San Diego can arrange trips to Tijuana via UberPASSPORT. The ride-sharing app’s service allows users to arrange trips from California to Tijuana – drivers were previously obliged to drop passengers at the border. The cross-border feature costs an additional USD 20 and is only available in Uber X vehicles, with passengers reminded to bring all of the required documentation.


El Hatillo district

Empty police cars make city streets safer

Way back 2014, in our BITTER TRUTHS Briefing, we talked about how consumers would welcome brands that shine a light on uncomfortable realities. How to take that one step further in 2016? Highlight the problem and help inspire a solution.

Q2 2016 saw the El Hatillo district of Caracas launch The Invisible Police, a social experiment aiming to raise awareness about the importance of having more police on the streets.  The district deployed out-of-service police cars in some of the city’s most dangerous areas. The cars were empty, but were intended to restore a sense of safety to the city’s inhabitants. El Hatillo has less than 157 serving police; it says 400 are needed. In the wake of the campaign, police recruitment rose by 30%.



Political news organization promotes digital activism

Yes, South and Central America’s CIVICSUMERS want to protest and initiate meaningful social change. But in 2016 they are also PLAYSUMERS searching for (subversive) fun! This innovation delivers both. Your move?

In May 2016, Ecuador-based news site 4Pelagotos launched a tongue-in-cheek website called the MashiMachine. A word play on Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s Twitter handle (@MashiRafael), the site allows users to type in any phrase and it will produce an original video using clips from the President’s speeches to recreate the sentence.


Mexico City Government

Mexico City crowdsources proposals for its next constitution

Of course, if you let CIVICSUMERS participate in what you do, they are less likely to satirize you on social media. And when people see that even local government is doing just that, won’t they expect your brand to do the same?

In March 2016, Mexico City’s local government launched a campaign to crowdsource ideas for its constitution. Citizens were invited to submit proposals via an online platform and a petition. Those without internet access could submit ideas at one of 300 mobile kiosks around the city. Citizens could vote for their favorite proposals, and individuals whose projects received more than 10,000 signatures were given the opportunity to present their ideas to a government panel for consideration.


The NotCompany

Artificial intelligence helps develop animal-free food products

Consumers know that AI technologies are becoming more powerful and accessible. As a result, they expect brands to deploy some BENEFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: that means using AI to deliver meaningful value and make lives better. Here’s a food play; what does your BI play look like?

Chilean food technology company NotCo uses artificial intelligence to create animal-free products such as meats, cheeses and milk. The startup’s AI, Giuseppe, combines an understanding of food at a molecular level, human perception of taste and availability of natural resources in order to help formulate new plant-based food products. Products are set to be available in Chilean supermarkets during Q3 2016.



Service offers one-to-one lessons on using smartphones

Yes, times are tough across much of the region. But there are still plenty of VIRGIN CONSUMERS who are getting hold of a certain product, or using a certain service, for the first time. And they’ll reward brands that offer them support, advice and instruction.

Brazil-based Twizer offers a free service that teaches consumers how to make the most of apps and weave smartphones into their daily lives. The app recommendation platform offers staffed kiosks in public places, which provide face-to-face instructions on apps and smart devices. A free Twizer mobile app also delivers tailored tips and recommended apps. After a successful pilot project, plans to open kiosks in the São Paulo Metro system were revealed in June 2016.



Biscuit brand unveils anti-bullying campaign

South & Central America’s brands are expected to have an opinion and take action on the issues of the moment. And if even cookie brands can initiate BRAND STANDS, then can’t you?

For the International Anti-Bullying Day in May 2016, Bagley created special cookies to raise awareness of the issue. The Argentinian cookie brand’s Sonrisas (meaning ‘Smiles’) were baked into sad faces, instead of happy ones. Posters and limited-edition packaging for Sonrisas cookies explained that ‘bullying takes away your smile’.


Plastic Bottle Village

Community of homes built using waste plastic bottles as insulation

Waaay back in 2009, we said there were no signs of eco-fatigue (see ECO-BOUNTY). Seven years later that still rings true. Green innovation is here to stay, and expectations are only cycling higher ;)

Plastic Bottle Village, a community of 90 homes insulated with recycled plastic bottles, is being constructed by a Canadian entrepreneur in Panama. The first home used over 10,000 bottles and was completed in Q2 2015 and, as of Q2 2016, the second home is nearly complete. Steel mesh frames are filled with plastic bottles and covered in concrete to create walls. Each home comes with a septic tank, windows, doors and exterior sidewalks. Home prices range from USD 149,000 to USD 300,000 and custom designs are available.



Coding school aimed at women with no college education

(F)EMPOWERMENT initiatives continue to provide lasting support for women from Peru to Chile. And they continue to fuel expectations that brands should empower women to fulfil their potential.

Laboratoria, a Peru-founded coding school for women, announced USD 900,000 in funding from the Inter-American Development Bank in February 2016. Designed for women with little to no knowledge in computer science and no college education, students are trained over a five-month period in a boot camp focused on HTML, JavaScript, CSS and GitHub. Students pay USD 6 per month in tuition and pay Laboratoria 10% of their monthly salary for three years following graduation. Job placement assistance is provided to the women with services offered in Peru, Mexico and Chile.


New customer expectations don't emerge out of the blue – it's all about evolution.

The Trend Framework

16 mega-trends that provide context and structure when tracking the evolution of consumerism.

You’ve just seen ten innovations related to a diverse selection of trends from South & Central America and beyond, and while every one of those examples is reshaping consumer demands, new expectations don’t emerge out of the blue.

At TrendWatching, we view new innovations – and the sub-trends they are tied to – through the lens of a Bigger Picture. That is, our 16 mega-trends. These mega-trends are the big, slow-moving currents in the consumer arena and taken together they form the Trend Framework.


Put these innovations in context...

Each of our mega-trends captures the evolution of an aspect of consumerism. Via YOUNIVERSE, for example, we track the evolution of expectations around personalization. In INFOLUST, we look at the ongoing consumer quest for increasingly perfect information. Clients of our Premium Service have full access to our Trend Framework – but there’s nothing stopping you from developing your own!

Looking at each example and trend in this Briefing – and every innovation you spot – through the lens of a relevant mega-trend means a much richer understanding of what that innovation means for customer expectations.

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Time to start meeting some customer expectations!


Time to ideate!

We've highlighted ten innovations, and glimpsed the new customer expectations they are helping to create. So grab your team, brew some coffee, set aside and morning and start ideating! Why not choose the innovation that speaks to you most and ask: how could WE innovate to meet this emerging expectation?


Want to take it to the next level?

At our upcoming 2016 Trend Events in Singapore, Sydney, Chicago, London and Amsterdam you'll hear about THE trends that will shape consumerism in 2017 and beyond. And hear from innovators in the field already putting those trends into action!


New expectations can come from anywhere!

Today, customer expectations cross geographical borders faster than ever. So why not broaden your (G)LOCAL trend sources and subscribe to our free Global, Asia and Africa Trend Briefings?