How ESOMAR Latin America began… before it actually began

24 April 2023

ESOMAR’s Latin American conference finally kicked off to a revitalising start on its 25th anniversary after a four-year hiatus.

4 min read

ESOMAR’s Latin American conference finally kicked off to a revitalising start on its 25th anniversary after a four-year hiatus. While the official opening happened at 7pm, an entire agenda had been programmed on the side to cater for an audience that many members may not be familiar with. 

Representatives meeting 

The agenda focused on three main stakeholders. First, ESOMAR’s representatives – our eyes and ears and, as ESOMAR’s council member Alain Mizrahi mentioned, even our arms in the countries. The discussion revolved around several areas, including the local activation of our members. The “town hall” tone of these meetings helps exchange ideas, inspire each other with projects, and show how other countries have managed to expand, cater, defend and engage with their local membership base. 

We were delighted to hear from Urpi Torrado, ESOMAR's ambassador for Latin America, about the success of the winning Peruvian “Research got Talen (RgT)” team and how, through sheer international collaboration, they ended up touring India to present their story. We heard how an ever-growing number of countries had joined the initiative. Will we see cases of close collaboration across the world? 

Gaby Alcalá, ESOMAR’s representative in Mexico, and Olga Espinoza, explained the growth of the increasingly popular Talkin Latam. ESOMAR’s representative in Guatemala, Christian Andrés, also presented the successful tournee around the Central America region, which attracted hundreds of delegates from the client side. The only thing I can think of is that the Latin American representatives are on fire! 

Associations meeting 

After a joint lunch with ESOMAR’s partner associations, both groups were invited to join the second part of the agenda. Associations were welcomed by ESOMAR’s Governmental Affairs and Professional Standards team Geraldine Proust, Paula Fernández and Jules van Volkhoven, before moving on to discuss the risks of governmental restrictions on cold calling, which ESOMAR’s representative in Brazil and a fellow of ABEP, Alessandra Frisso, took great care to explain. It is not so much the telephone per se that is an issue, but boundless legislative intervention. 

Sure, telephone accounts for only 15% of Latin America’s methodological share (as shown in the Global Market Research 2022 report), but it is the principle on which the regulations are based that may put this methodology at risk. This idea was succinctly summarised by ESOMAR’s Statutory Director, General, Joaquim Bretcha, in his closing words. 

Client-only CLICK meeting 

The day continued with the third group, the Users and Buyers of Insights, in their now usual CLICK meeting. This audience finds it comforting and incredibly enriching to have a platform where they can discuss their own issues, views and grievances without any scrutiny or intervention. These discussions are always some of the most captivating and are a real eye-opener on how poorly labelled client-side of the industry perceive their research providers. The level of experience, vision and forecasting of this group, moderated by Elisa Romo, Strategy & Insights Director at Danone, was astonishing. 

I have definitely extracted some conclusions for the upcoming Users & Buyers Global Insights Study 2023, which is under development at the time of writing. 

Welcome reception 

But it was the welcome reception that reminded us, once again, of what makes ESOMAR’s Latin America Conference truly unique. The friendliness of the crowd reunited once again after a 4-year hiatus and was ready to commemorate the 25th anniversary of this event. The constant stream of laughter, hugs, Spanglish and Portuñol, English, Portuguese and Spanish interchanged effortlessly, reminded us of the unique characteristics of what has always been a remarkably diverse, yet exceptionally open-hearted region. 

As I left the reception provided by our friends at SynapBox with a drink in hand, I smiled once again for the privilege I felt to share these moments with this outstanding crowd… and this exceptional crew. Thank you, Mexico. The Latam Conference has officially started! 

Xabier Palacio
Senior Manager at ESOMAR's Intelligence Unit at ESOMAR