The new decade gathers apace. And so too does globalisation, a process revived after temporary derailment by the worldwide financial crisis and its recessionary aftershocks that saw global trade contract by 12 per cent in 2009 alone.
The latest wave of globalisation is upon us; to be characterised in this decade and beyond by a genuine fragmentation of the centre of economic gravity into new regions and hubs of financial and geo-political influence - as well as the inexorable expansion of consumer societies in once-peripheral but now rapidly emerging economies across Asia, South America, parts of Africa and Central and Eastern Europe.
The commercial opportunity implied by an extended period of global economic and political rebalancing is clear to all.
In this context, companies and brands can increasingly expect to find that the greatest potential for future consumer market growth (and the surest route to handsome returns on investment) will lie in regions and territories outside of the domestic comfort zone. And for consumers in developed markets too, exposure to new global cultures, tastes and travel experiences is more than likely to intensify in the years ahead as global cultural diffusion accelerates.
Of course, going global is not without its challenges for even the most switched-on brand owner or business strategist. Crafting products, services and campaigns that resonate with multifarious consumers on a global scale can be a Herculean task and is a process fraught with potential risk. We respectfully tip our caps here to the cluttered graveyard of "good ideas gone bad" when exported to new marketplaces abroad.
In nVision Global, we seek to reduce the risk associated with taking steps into unfamiliar global markets by providing clients with a comprehensive understanding of the major contextual and consumer trends at play - both today and in the future - in both developed and emerging markets.
Our proprietary nVision Research programme is now in place in 21 key consumer markets across the globe. Underpinned by robust quantitative consumer research, the service is also enriched by a qualitative research programme designed to bring the everyday consumer voice - expressing views on the economy, personal technology usage, the attractiveness of luxury products and services etc - into the heart of the marketing and planning process.
Fully aware that marketers cannot be everywhere at once, we have a growing network of nVision trend spotters who unearth a goldmine of information for our clients.
These on-the-ground spotters provide us with a direct link to the streets of Beijing, Sydney and Tokyo, with regular updates on emerging behaviours, manifestations of consumer trends in action and insightful observations of local consumers. Learn, for example, about the latest popular TV shows and pop songs filling Chinese mainland airwaves that speak to young adults' anxieties about the state of the job market or getting on to the housing ladder; the latest iterations of electronic gaming in Japan and South Korea and how even non-gaming brands are picking up on the trend ; or how for many Australians, the country's narrow escape from full-blown economic recession has reconfirmed the nation's status as "The Lucky Country".
Our proprietary research programme not only clarifies which global attitudes and behaviours are showing signs of convergence, but crucially, shines a light on those areas in which they dramatically differ, with insightful implications for the marketing community.
By way of example, let us take a look at attitudes relating to perhaps the greatest environmental issue facing global populations as a whole: climate change. A comfort to environmental campaigners, 2010 nVision Global research reveals a majority of the global population now agrees with statements such as "climate change is definitely happening". On closer inspection, however, we find that intensity of agreement varies significantly; from below 60 per cent of the population in the UK, US and the Netherlands to around nine in ten consumers living in China, India and Brazil. It is also in these regions that we record the highest levels of concern about the effects of climate change. For climate-dependent agrarian economies such as these, the (alleged) side-effects of climate change - from extreme droughts to flash floods, which already feature heavily on the evening news - have had a significant impact on local attitudes.
International exceptions and parallels are also abundant in our global analysis of digital lifestyles. Did you know that Chinese and South Korean internet users are almost twice as likely as their European counterparts to have played games online against other people in recent months? Or that 16- to 24-year-olds in the urban centres of Brazil and India are just as likely to be active on social networking websites as young adults living in Europe, Australia and the US? It is simply not the case that attitudes and behaviours in emerging economies necessarily trail those in more developed economies.
The next phase of globalisation is everyday inviting forward-looking brands and companies to extend their international footprints. But it's a jungle out there alright. Distilling global consumer complexity into commercially actionable and future-focused insights will be the raison d'etre for strategists and brand owners navigating uncharted territories.
nVision Global stands ready to bring the global consumer - in all her manifestations - right to the heart of the corporate plan.
- The latest wave of globalisation is upon us and is every day inviting forward-looking brands and companies to extend their international footprints. The greatest potential for future consumer market growth will likely lie in regions and territories outside of the domestic comfort zone.
- Crafting products, services and campaigns that resonate with multifarious consumers on a global scale is, however, a process fraught with potential risk.
- Strategists and brand owners need commercially actionable and future-focused insights.