Founder of Adventures, Inc. Ricardo Dias on Building a Brand From the Ground Up

"It comes down to people."

Ricardo Dias

“And now you’ve got another friend in Brazil!” Ricardo Dias grinned to me, mere moments after our interview and very first introduction began. Throughout my conversation with the former Anheuser-Busch executive turned entrepreneur/founder of Adventures, Inc., the importance of people and building relationships reigned paramount, and this commitment was clear from the onset. Dias is an absolute goldmine of advice for both people on traditional career paths and those heading off into uncharted territory. Ultimately, any career comes down to people. 

Dias’ career has spanned two decades and change, beginning in the area surrounding the world-renowned Iguazu Falls in Brazil. He began his career going door to door as a salesperson for Anheuser-Busch, managing the relationships between distributors and bars, “basically acting as the quarterback between consumers and the bars.” Every industry can be boiled down to sales, Dias tells me, adding: “There’s no better place to start than in the sales field.” 

The international nature of Dias’ time with Anheuser-Busch taught him numerous lessons about building brands and connecting with people, teachings that have informed his career trajectory to this day. His time with Anheuser-Busch was comprised of a wide array of roles; he was most recently Vice President of Marketing, Brazil for Ambev—the Brazilian subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Inbev.

Dias spent some time in Toronto in the early 2000s, then China from 2008-2014, then NYC for a few years, Mexico City for a spell and finally, back in Brazil—his country of origin—in 2019. On what he learned spending so much time in different parts of the world, Dias tells me: “You learn how to appreciate other cultures, but more than that you learn how to function in other environments.” By interacting with people of various backgrounds and trajectories, his time abroad taught him a valuable lesson about trusting the process: “There are many paths to the same destination.”

There are many paths to the same destination.

- Ricardo Dias

Ultimately, all of these moments contributed to Dias’ overall commitment to culture in creating successful businesses. “You should look for the right culture before anything else,” he tells me with regard to how people should approach looking for the next step in their careers. “It comes down to people.” Dias also made an incredibly helpful and topical analogy referencing a trend we’ve been seeing in contemporary professional sports. He encourages people to make sure to focus on their “soft skills,” or interpersonal skills. Essentially, you need to make sure you’re taking care of your mind. “We hire people on hard skills, but we fire them on soft skills,” he tells me, going on to reference the ways in which we’ve seen some of the best athletes in the world need to take a step back in the past few months to focus on their less visible, or hard, skills.

We finally turn to Adventures, Inc. the marketing/advertising brand that Dias started at the end of 2020, following his departure from AB. Adventures, Inc. operates out of São Paulo, and Dias sees the Brazilian market as uniquely susceptible to Adventures’ ethos, as the celebrity culture in Brazil differs from that of the US. Adventures, Inc. works with celebrities to cooperatively help them expand their reach and brand. Dias tells me that they aim to “take a celebrity, verticalize their media, and then sell something through their digital channels.” They are intending to change the way in which people create personalized brands. “In Brazil, I see an opportunity to create the brands of the future in a different way,” he adds.

The big brands of the future are going to be companies that can build more brands faster, much more efficiently and based on smaller communities.

- Ricardo Dias

To help illustrate the difference between celebrity culture in Brazil and the US, Dias references Rayssa Leal, the 13 year old launched into international super stardom last week when she took home the silver medal in street skateboarding’s first foray into the Olympics. Before her win, she had 600,000 followers on Instagram. At the time of this writing, she has over 6 million. She was greeted with a celebratory parade in her honor upon her return to Brazil. 

And this is where Adventures, Inc. could come in. Acting as a support platform for celebrities, they can help people like Rayssa to monetize the massive attention they’re getting. Rather than offering traditional deals or sponsorships, however, Adventures, Inc. aims to work with their client to launch a brand of their own. They’re changing the game for this kind of marketing, giving talent/celebrities more control than they would in antiquated styles of sponsorships.

Courage is what makes the difference.

- Ricardo Dias

Finally, I had to ask Ricardo for some advice for fledgling entrepreneurs. He has a lot of great nuggets of advice, but the through-line in all of them is simple: “Courage is what makes the difference.” Being an entrepreneur is risky and scary, and what makes the difference is courage. “I’ve met a lot of great people in my life who lack the courage to start their own business,” he tells me. Dias also peppers in a piece of advice for ONE37pm’s international audience: “One benefit of not being in the US? No US competition.” Entrepreneurs not based in the US have less competition, but there’s still tons of talent, hence why he has been seeing so much success with Adventures, Inc. in Brazil. “I think we’ll be able to attract the best talent in Brazil,” he tells me.

Try to combine passion and talent. Because just passion is bullshit. And talent won’t get you out of bed. Throw a little courage in there and I think you’re going to be very successful.

- Ricardo Dias

The path to becoming a successful entrepreneur is different for everyone, but there are a few key ingredients that can make the difference: passion, talent and courage. Just one won’t take you where you want to go, but combine them all and you just might have the secret sauce. If anyone’s got the recipe, it’s Ricardo Dias. 

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