29 June 2020
Author: Lydia Caldana
Most brands, however, have failed to recognise the opportunities. This has resulted in a third scenario, in which vulnerable communities, finding themselves unsupported by the government and underserved by brands, adopt a Resilience Culture mindset by creating DIY solutions. Take female visual art collective Tarantinas. It is using buildings as a canvas for its protests against Brazil's current administration; projecting images that combine information with activism.
Other initiatives are hacking the business models of larger organisations. Entrega.li is a delivery website for micro-businesses across four north-eastern Brazilian cities, levying zero charges to encourage hyper-local shopping. Escambo da Quarentena by Coletivo Eco_Nomia is an online barter community for skills-based activity exchange. Then there’s Lá Da Favelinha, an independent cultural centre self-managed by inhabitants of the Aglomerado da Serra community, producing see-through masks with the hearing-impaired in mind.
Inhabitants of the Aglomerado da Serra community are producing see-through masks with the hearing-impaired in mind
With Brazil’s informal settlements engineering their own concepts on how to cater to underserved communities, brands that wish to enter this space must ensure they do so in an ethical, meaningful way. After all, 94% of Sao Paulo’s informal settlement inhabitants do not feel engaged by brand initiatives (source: Me Ajuda a Ajudar).
The challenge for brands, according to Isabela Souza, director at urban consultancy Observatório de Favelas, is ‘to think how we can propose [solutions] as from the perspective of the slums and peripheries, considering its specificities and dealing effectively with the inequalities.’
With Brazil’s DIY communities exhibiting resilience and grassroots entrepreneurialism amidst a crisis of health, businesses impassioned to show their Civic Brand capabilities should consider supporting these communities, in turn highlighting that their goals go far beyond profit.
Lydia Caldana is a foresight strategist and MA student at The New School, and founder of platform @future.resources
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