Alice Rodrigues – Coordinator of Abicalçados – Interview
The Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados) aims to increase exports and exposure of Brazilian footwear brands through development, trade promotion, and image actions focusing on the international market. We spoke to Alice Rodrigues, Coordinator of Abicalçados to learn more about the business, the new branding and the art of Brazilian footwear…
TD: Please, can you share more details on the new branding for Abicalcados?
Alice Rodrigues: First of all, the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados) has completed 35 years of existence in 2018, which we understand is a very long journey. A brand and visual identity should keep up with its organization evolution, so we felt like it was time to make something new, that would bring our history but also look visually proper for the contemporary market. The new identity is much more consistent and clear and we feel like it relates to the way we are as a company in the present day.
TD: Was there any research conducted on changing the branding?
Alice Rodrigues: Yes, the agency that was responsible for our rebrand did a very careful and sensible market research. They had in mind what we needed as an organization, and also what our main client was expecting. They have researched not only similar organizations like Abicalçados but also strategic movements of brands worldwide. They looked at the way big international groups were communicating. From that, we took inspiration for looking responsible for many brands and projects. We wanted to show that we are stable and capable. Besides that, they were also thoughtful and evaluated the latest design changes in international fashion brands. Abicalçados is industry oriented, however, we are footwear, which is a great slice of the business of fashion.
TD: Who do you think the new branding connects to?
Alice Rodrigues: As I mentioned before, our main goal was to present a new identity that would be still recognizable by our long-term clients, and look appealing for new brands and players in the footwear industry as well. We believe we have achieved that with this project. The brand didn’t change completely, the history and original concept are still there. However, it looks modernized now, which sends the message we stay updated in terms of communication. This is fundamental for attracting new brands and showing we will take good care of them as much as we take care of our image.
TD: What are the reviews you have received post the brand change?
Alice Rodrigues: We can say that we have a very positive feedback, both from our members and the footwear market in general. The cleanest and objective look came to this new moment of Abicalçados, more modern and dynamic, and pleased everyone who works with us.
TD: Please share a background on Abicalcados?
Alice Rodrigues: Established in April 1983, the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados) represents the country’s footwear industry, working in trade defense and in search of better competitive conditions for production in Brazil. The organization has footwear companies of all sizes and from all Brazilian states among its members. The headquarters of the Association is located in Novo Hamburgo, the main city in the largest shoe-manufacturing cluster in the country, Vale dos Sinos, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The Brazilian footwear industrial park is one of the most modern in the world. Brazilian shoe manufacturers operate state-of-the-art machinery and equipment, using high-quality raw materials, supplied mostly within the Brazilian domestic market itself. Since 2000, Abicalçados has been performing international actions to promote Brazilian shoes, through the Brazilian Footwear Program, in partnership with the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil). The project comprises the participation of footwear manufacturing companies in international events, such as fairs and showrooms and conducts prospection missions in search of new markets. It also invites importers and opinion formers to get to know Brazil.
TD: What do you expect Brazilian footwear sales to be in the second half of 2018 in the UAE?
Alice Rodrigues: From January to June 2018, Brazilian footwear exports decreased by 7.9% and 6.7%, respectively, in dollars and pairs, reflecting the international instability, the monetary reorganization stimulated by the reduction of liquidity through the European Central Bank and the rise of the US interest rate, devaluing the currencies of the emerging countries. The devaluation of the Real (R$) does not directly increase exports of footwear, as volatility creates insecurity for exporters, and because part of the gain offered by currency conversion ends up being transferred to importers, through discounts. As a reflection, about 50% of the destinations of Brazilian exports suffered a reduction in the accumulated of 2018. For the United Arab Emirates, in the first half of the year, US $ 5.6 million and 626,6 thousand pairs of Brazilian footwear were exported, a reduction of 11,4% and 14.3%, respectively, compared to the first half of last year.
However, we expect that, with the adjustment of the external scenario, and with the currency devalued at the level in which it is, relatively maintaining Brazil more competitive in international trade, there will be a stimulus to exports in the second half gradually. From what we felt from all meetings and conversations we had with Middle Eastern buyers, the feedback of Brazilian footwear is very good. Especially considering both cultures value the relationship and the seriousness of the negotiations. The brands are developing well in the region and we expect a growth in the years to come.