Business-building tips from Brazil

June 7, 2011, 9:16 PM UTC

Here in Rio de Janiero, the growth is booming. The infrastructure is creaking–the electricity went out here at the Sheraton twice this morning. And the talk at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference is about how to break through the clutter in building businesses and brands.

On a brand-building panel led by Dell Chief Marketing Officer Karen Quintos, I talked about Fortune’s Most Powerful Women brand–the value of being first to market (we launched MPW in 1998) and adding shine to any brand by adding socially responsible elements.

“Causes and giving back” are essential to brand-building today, whether the brand is Starbucks or Coca-Cola or AOL , said Arianna Huffington, who was on Dell’s program yesterday.

Of course, social media is all the buzz here. “Self-expression is the new entertainment,” declared Huffington, who is overseeing all of AOL’s content since she sold the Huffington Post earlier this year.

All the more power to social platforms like Facebook. While Google’s social network,  Orkut, is big here, Brazil is one of Facebook’s fastest-growing markets. And the entrepreneurs gathered in Rio seem eager to take advantage of social media’s marketing power.

Tina Wells, whose Buzz Marketing Group helps companies appeal to young consumers, noted that 91% of millennials say that they buy products based on recommendations from friends. She offered these tips for reaching various stages of young consumers:

Tweens want messages about aspiration, security and acceptance, Wells said.

Teens respond to messages of inspiration, value, and disruption. Don’t be afraid to disrupt teens’ activities and information overload.

And twenty-somethings? They care about values, self-fulfillment, and self-reflection. Young adults have decided who they are and what they believe, Wells noted. So make sure the brand reflects them and their values.