Blog: How Rio 2016 will impact Brazil's events industry

Rob Sharp, managing director of Pulse Group, discusses the impact of the Olympic Games on the events industry in Brazil.

How will the Rio Olympic Games impact the events industry in Brazil?
How will the Rio Olympic Games impact the events industry in Brazil?

With the city and nation engulfed in one of the most scandalous and deep rooted corruptions in global history, a long recession and a number of city developments incomplete, there were plenty of distractions in the build-up to the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on 5 August. The shine certainly came off Brazil in the lead up and the people of Rio have been tested. However, we knew that once the Games began, the headlines would be focused on the unfolding events on the field and the unique cultural celebrations. Brazil is showing true grit and strength; the Games are undoubtedly exceptional.

Global pressure

Global influence during FIFA and Rio 2016 has improved the industry. The events segment in Brazil is on a completely new trajectory due to the wave of major international events recently hosted in the country. A level of professionalism and structure now underpins a booming culture in this area.

However, it wasn’t until the UN Earth Summit in Rio (1992) that Brazil truly understood the importance of hosting major international events for the projection of its image abroad. Since then several public and private players have begun to venture into cultural, sporting, social and corporate sectors to attract and diversify new areas of business and opportunities to promote Brazil’s potential. 

The events industry has gained recognition and is now supported by management methodologies, global and local talent development, knowledge sharing and the creation of technical courses created to meet the needs of companies and specialised professionals.

The rise of experiential

Experiential and brand experiences are now considered an essential part to marketing strategies. Despite the growth and investment in the events industry there is still a misunderstanding on what we know a successful brand experience should deliver. Whilst there is an appreciation that brand experiences are an important tool to get closer to customers, this tool is not being used to reinforce the brand values or product truths. The brand experiences lack strategy, preferring to focus on tactical activation, looking for the ‘cool’ factor rather than considering what is being communicated to the audience.


Technology is a long way behind despite huge smart phone usage. There is an incredible 71 million smart phone users in Brazil, yet the integration and adaption of this technology is significantly behind other countries. The industry has not embraced the importance the integration of these devices has in enhancing, personalising and extending the brand experience. They are struggling to understand new behaviours around the use of technology, preferring to focus on the more traditional strategies and marketing communication channels and techniques.

What does the future hold? 

It is incredibly hard to predict what will happen after the economic bubble created by the Olympics. What I believe is that the trajectory of events that Brazil has hosted has prepared the country for a significantly improved industry more than capable of meeting the growing domestic and regional demand. As a consequence of the fast change in consumer demographics and growing social development, the improvement in quality of life is set to benefit the event industry as a whole.

Brazil remains a world leader in economic growth despite the political and economic crises. It remains determined to bring the world the biggest events to Brazil with São Paulo narrowly missing out to Dubai for Expo 2020. This ambition and resolve ensures our continued interest and growth within this market.

Rob Sharp is managing director of Pulse Group, one of the top 30 brand experience agencies in the UK.

More: Six brand activations from Rio 2016

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