Now that all of these “befores” are “nows,” with De La Rica’s sure vision and the experience of Cuban specialists, the company founded in Spain in 2004, Euro Business Market (EBM), has developed the latest ideas in publicity, marketing, and social communications media, and made available on the national scene the most recent communicative and technological trends: social networks, digital design, online marketing, cyber-interaction, and a long etcetera.
Supported by an extensive network of global suppliers, the full range of services provided by EBM Marketing Solutions to Cuban and foreign enterprise public communication departments also includes the use of more conventional communication systems, outstanding among these are research, identification of target clientele, modeling, pragmatic purchasing, and the production of content.
In this way, contact with the latest in the world of communication, careful study of the Cuban reality, and integrated marketing solutions which EBM guarantees, have allowed domestic companies to increase their ability to compete in both national and international markets.
Emerging from the EBM office in Old Havana’s Bacardi Building, the company’s products and services can be found across the entire country, including merchandising with more than 100,000 promotional articles, available in both small and large orders, with modern trademarks and designs of their own; permanent installations which are both lightweight and durable; consultation to develop strategies to better position brands and companies; distribution lines; and tools to reach potential customers.
Also noteworthy is EBM’s ability as a fair marketing specialist, taking responsibility for the organization and sponsorship of such events, as well as a media agent, looking to become the first firm specializing in this area, according to De La Rica.
Likewise, the company is the country’s exclusive representative for IP+D, another Spanish company which provides high-quality information technology solutions, offering “the best software for communication,” in its own words.
Manuel de La Rica believes that Cuba has great potential in the world of advertising. In this vein, he explains that while on the one hand the state is seeking to attract foreign capital to specific strategic sectors, the country has also made “economic adjustments to allow for the development of small companies and is working hard to improve the range of exportable products and services.”
Therefore, he adds, all this “must be told, must be communicated – internally so that the society is conscious that what is occurring is not happening by chance, and externally in the global market, to be able to compete and position the CUBA trademark, the Cuban product, with greater and better visibility.”
How much have the recent changes in Cuban society helped the development of the field of promotion? What more can be done to help?
The fact that the point of view regarding the word “advertising” has softened is already a sign of the changes, and that a book has been published like that of Mirtha Muñiz, Mi profesión a debate (Debating my profession) also shows recognition of the important work of professionals in this sector, although they may not be called publicists. The changes in Cuban society also point to the need to communicate more and better, in all environments. We are at the starting line, facing almost infinite possibilities in the future. The development of the advertising industry should be in step with the pace of changes taking place.
Recently, during the 34th edition of the Havana International Trade Fair, EBM received the 2016 Prize for Design for the universal cell phone charging base,
GIZGO Euro Business Market S.L and the Advertising Prize in the category of Digital Support for coverage in social networks, awarded by the Fihav 2016 Organizing Committee and the Association of Cuban Social Communicators.
Regarding this, the EBM founder emphasized that Fihav offers a wealth of opportunities to any company that wishes to become part of Cuba’s business fabric, in one way or another, saying, “You need only recall the exhibitors who had stands in Fihav, their number and the number of countries from which they came. The event grows from one fair to the next exponentially, and, if the rumors are true, the number of potential exhibitors unhappy because they could not get space is really impressive.”
Regarding the greater potential for work like that done by EBM, De La Rica mentions, in this order, “the state sector and joint enterprises now operating on the island; shortly, those arriving under the auspices of Foreign Investment Law 118, and those that have not yet arrived, but want to communicate their intention to do so in the immediate future; and the private sector that is timidly functioning, although, as is to be expected, will take time to acquire much volume.”
What is the focus of EBM’s current work? What are the prospects in the short, medium, and long term?
We continue to advance in the incorporation of our own projects in our sector’s industry. For example, this year we have begun to work on the sponsorship of cultural and sports events, something that, although we have international experience, we have never been able to do here. On the other hand, we hope that throughout 2017, we can offer multi-purpose services, and that what we do here with a mix of data and intuition, we can do with standards very close to those we use in 47 other countries where EBM is present, as part of the global network LOCAL PLANET, to which we belong, and in a strong alliance with the experience and talent of Cuban professionals.
What has working with Cubans contributed to EBM?
A great deal, in many aspects. Participating in our industry requires training, imagination, creativity, speed, and the mettle to confront problems. In a country where 72.85% of the workforce has an intermediate or higher level of education, training is a given. Creativity, imagination, and the resources to solve daily problems are part of Cubans’ DNA. I always use the metaphor that Cuba was my last frontier, and you don’t get here in a Rolls Royce, you travel in an ox cart. My Cuban colleagues have taught me to manage the cart and how to find water. I have learned so much from them and the best is that they still have a lot to teach me.
You have said in other interviews that Havana is a “trending topic” everyday. Why?
It has always been a city that produces a strange fascination in all its visitors. On the one hand, the Revolution preserved its architecture, on the other, it designed the society that resides here, one that shows solidarity, is educated, kind and entertaining. Havana is an immense pot in which many ingredients are “cooking,” in the end making it impossible to remain indifferent to the recipe. It’s true, recently, it’s been a trending topic in a world that is increasingly more globalized, it offers opportunities to “taste” the difference. There are people for whom it has been, for one reason or another, a trending topic all our lives.
How has EBM been received in Cuba?
Since August 4, 2004, when I entered the doors of the Ministry of Justice Special Notary, to notarize the establishment of EBM, my subsequent representation contract with Cultural Representations Anonymous (RECSA), my close relation with the Ministry of Culture, the entity upon which we depend as an organization, and my involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, in which we have been represented since 2009, I have only encountered support and good advice. Many colleagues have helped me understand the business fabric of the island and how to conduct myself. For me, my reception, on the part of Cuba, couldn’t have been better.
What is the best thing you and Cuba have given each other?
It is always fascinating to begin work in a new country, learn its methods, its way of operating, its customs. The opportunity to modestly feel that I was participating in important events, such has been the case in this country over the last 12 years; allowing me to work under the United States blockade, something to which we don’t give much importance, until we live it on the front lines. Learning to overcome the enormous difficulties this implies for a company, which should also be taught in business schools. Personally, Cuba has taught me many things, to be humble, to appreciate my small successes as if they were great, to reflect on how unnecessary it is to consume voraciously, without any need to do so to be happy.
EBM has only been able to give Cuba the wealth of experience accumulated by its founders, which has been applied in some projects on which we have collaborated, and the “translation” of its codes of conducting business for professional society in other countries. EBM has always felt and acted as a bridge, morally authorized to convey the reality about how to function in this country, to other enterprises and governments.
Has Cuba been a paradox for EBM? Why?
Cuba has never been a paradox for EBM, but rather for me. When one reaches my age and has had a long, productive professional life, one must confront challenges that are worth the trouble. Trying to move a project like EBM forward in a society in which resistance exists to advertising as a tool to promote consumption, produces a certain amount of vertigo. But I always defended the idea that social communication is not only advertising, and that a full service agency does many things that don’t have anything to do with the development and broadcasting of a commercial on television, for example. I have defended this in Cuba and outside of Cuba for many years. There are parts of publicity that fulfill an important social objective, it is a tool, and like all tools, has very negative aspects, but also positive ones. Anyway, this is not the subject of an interview, better a Mesa Redonda (talk show) of several hours.