Olá a todos!
That’s about where my Portugese runs out, but hello everyone and welcome to Brazil! (Okay, you’re not actually in Brazil, but hopefully this article helps you imagine the samba, coxinhas, and caipirinhas for yourself.)
Earlier this year, my friends and I planned a trip south of the equator to the biggest city in the Americas: São Paulo. A goal of mine has always been to work in another country, even if just for a few days. You know who happens to have an office in São Paulo?! We do.
Call me Britney, because (oops!) I did it again: I worked on vacation. And once again, I learned a TON. Here are three invaluable lessons you can use, too – straight out of São Paulo.
1) Take the leap.
This was my first experience working in a country outside the United States. It’s safe to say I had no idea what to expect. Would the RV culture be the same? Would I connect with the team? Would all this be worth it? Why didn’t I listen to the Duolingo bird and do my daily Portugese lessons?!
I made a choice to wrap up all my nervous energy into excitement and take the leap. Spoiler Alert: It was TOTALLY worth it.
Right away, I knew I was in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was given a tour, invited to lunch, and challenged to a Super Smash Bros match. All in the first hour.
By the end of my visit, I’d built a deeper (international!) network and gained a ton of insight to share with my team in Charlotte. Regardless of your role or the business you work on, this kind of experience is the type that stays with you for your whole career. And it all happened because I was willing to make a small investment of my time and resources.
TL;DR: When presented with the opportunity to leave your comfort zone, do it. Take the leap.
2) There’s always something new to learn.
At a high level, I knew that RV Brazil would be a lot different from the RV I was familiar with. After all, it’s a completely different market.
In fact, Brazil’s business strategy was often the exact opposite of what my intuition would lead me to assume. It was a great reminder that there’s not just one way to perform a role or measure success – it’s all about context.
For example, when marketing credit cards in the United States, we target our audiences with specific ad content, because customers are more likely to engage with content they find relevant. That is not the case in Brazil. In fact, the team has found much more success with lower ad spend and a broader ‘fishnet’ approach. I quickly realized that the tried-and-true marketing tactics I was familiar with wouldn’t necessarily yield the same results outside the U.S.
Re-learning what I thought I knew was fun – and I was even able to bring some new strategies back to my team in Charlotte.
This sort of egoless knowledge sharing is a core pillar of Red Ventures culture.
We all have different insights, and when we put them together we can create better experiences for our customers, end-users, and partners. With this growing pool of knowledge, the fresh ideas keep on coming.
TL;DR: Seeing my Brazilian teammates approach a problem from a completely new angle taught me that you never learn a role completely. Sure, you may reach a point where you’re ready to take the next step – but there’s always something new to learn.
3) Culture is about going beyond what’s expected.
When I first reached out to the São Paulo team, I received an email containing three things.
First, a friendly introduction and palpable feeling that the team was just as excited to meet me as I was to visit. Second, an invitation to meet with anyone I wanted to learn from during my time there. Third, local tips and recommendations for exploring the city.
It’s easy to send a polite email. But this message was much more than “polite.” The team took a vested interest in making my time at RV Brazil both valuable and enjoyable. My teammates (and now new friends) invited me out to lunch twice, made sure I knew my way around town, recommended neighborhoods to explore while there, and even dropped everything to help me print a boarding pass I needed at the last minute.
RV Brazil is an established business that’s successful enough to be solely focused on the bottom line. But that’s just not how they roll. The warm, pay-it-forward culture they’ve created is something special – and it made a huge impact on me.
It’s safe to say I fell in love with São Paulo and RV Brazil.
Our South American peers are muito legal, and if you seek them out at the next all employee event, you’ll definitely agree!
Hopefully you enjoyed this “trip” to Brazil. Look out for one more post in this series; my overall takeaways from my first year at Red Ventures and my advice to future Road to Hire graduates.