Design for the Emerging Markets Secondary Research
Expert Working Group
“ [Businesses that focus on building products and services for the poor] would have a twin mission: making profits and also improving lives for those who don’t fully benefit from market forces.”
- Bill Gates
Businesses face unique and complex challenges when entering emerging
markets: there is a developed business and economic case for approaching these growing markets, but there is a limited awareness of how to address
the market from a user’s perspective. Apply framework and learnings to new/ existing projects
Large scale ethnography & concept generation
In parallel, world leaders including Bill Gates publicly appealed for businesses to practice “Creative Capitalism”. The philosophy espouses the belief in the individual’s potential to help themselves through market mechanisms. We at the Institute of Design feel that our core competence in human understanding, analytical research methods, and prototyping potential solutions can offer a meaningful, differentiated approach to tackling the problem. We hope we can work with you through interviews and an expert workshop to cocreate a framework for emerging market/base of pyramid success.
Research Team Principal Investigators Patrick Whitney, Director/Professor Vijay Kumar, Professor Kevin Denney, Adjunct Faculty Amy Batchu, MDes/MBA ‘09: email@example.com Ash Bhoopathy, MDes/MBA ‘09: firstname.lastname@example.org Amy Palit, MDes ‘09: email@example.com Mark Shinn, MDM ‘08: firstname.lastname@example.org Erica Yamada, MDes ‘09: email@example.com Web:
Design research grounds initiatives in patterns of daily life • Higher capacity to understand customer motivations. •
Understanding customers through their behaviors rather than traditional segmentation models.
Able to understand the informal economy in the developing world which is far more pervasive at in rural and urban slum populations.
Creates “local” connection with “global” brand and visibly demonstrates a commitment to the communities where products are sold.
Qualitative research is useful for exploring implicit assumptions, social relationships, abstract concepts, and operational patterns.
The research processes intrinsically educates potential consumers about product and service offerings.
Iterative prototyping leads to continuous improvement of offering.
Process that led up to workshop: Our Process: "The term 'emerging markets' is a misnomer. The market has shifted [and] become much more sophisticated. It is rapidly changing, and you should not look at the experience of one city, one country or area as cohesive or similar," one interviewee told us. Multinational corporations (MNCs) have become increasingly enamored with the opportunities of expansion into developing countries, whose middle and lower classes have not yet been catered to. To learn about the difficulties that MNCs face when entering emerging markets, our team spoke to industry leaders pioneering these efforts. We interviewed a number of prominent authors, strategists, consultants, industry professionals, and people from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) about their experiences working in emerging markets. Inspired by CK Prahalad's seminal book "Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid", our team initially looked at ways in which companies could work to serve the market at the bottom of the pyramid, the poorest segment of people in developing countries who live on less than $2 a day. This initial interest in BOP led to research on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, microfinance, and, ultimately, emerging markets. Emerging markets refer to not just the bottom of the pyramid, but also include the lower middle class of developing countries. We realized studying the broader scope of emerging markets instead of merely the BOP would be more valuable for MNCs. To strengthen and expand our knowledge of emerging markets, we read blogs and books on BoP initiatives and varied topics in our areas of interest, and delved into our interviews with professionals. Our interviews began with people in traditional businesses that worked in emerging markets and understanding the issues involved with bringing products to market in China in the past 20 years. We followed these interviews with policy makers, consultants, and user researchers for global manufacturers. In the process of conducting these interviews we realized the complexity and diversity of issues within emerging markets.
Our team decided to further our research process and gain a more well-rounded understanding of the various themes within emerging markets by conducting secondary research. We collected information from leading periodicals, NGO publications, international organizations such as the World Bank, business case studies, academic journals and additional books. We created several hundred insights from both research and interviews and divided them into five categories: Key Players, Motivations, Competencies, Barriers and Approaches. For the purpose of building the initial structure of our framework, our team decided to focus on the barriers and approaches that groups have encountered when working in emerging markets. We used our insights to create an asymmetric insight matrix and identified 14 key barrier and approaches clusters that could be a list of considerations for companies to use when entering emerging markets. Key Learnings from Our Research: In emerging markets, there is no silver bullet: We initially read Muhhamed Yunus' book "Creating a World Without Poverty" on microfinance and social business. Although many people believe in microfinance as a powerful tool that helps people in the BOP become entrepreneurs, we learned that many people use their loans not to finance a new business but rather to pay off existing bills. We also learned that similar to small businesses in the United States, the rate of success is limited as participants are rarely entrepreneurial by choice or training. Therefore many of their initiatives have mixed results. Our interviews and research also made us reevaluate the importance of government policy, historical legacy, and geographic and resource opportunities that can make those countries successful. From our interviews we realized that policy is more effective in bringing about longterm changes in the lives of the poor. From our secondary research, we learned about corporate confusion in regards to how to be socially responsible while being an effective company. Combined information taught us that not all technology is meant to leapfrog in adaption compared to others and we learned about the importance of cultural figures in determining the success/failure of products. Learning about the diversity and complexity of players within the field that taught us that there truly is no exact method to be developed and started to build our hypothesis of incubating an ecosystem of players within the industry. Even great ideas need to be user centered to be widely adapted: Several NGOs and corporations have created products that would "revolutionize" the emerging markets, save lives, incite change and be more ecological, profitable and sustaining. While several of these products have had initial success, they have had trouble achieving more widespread usage. No matter how practical a technology is, if it doesn't fit
the lifestyles of the user and forces him to learn too much, it will never diffuse to desired rates. Prime examples of such products can be seen in the failure of the One Laptop Per Child initiative and with simpler products such as Solar Cookers and Sun Water Purifiers. The solar cooker in particular was a product that showed promise and even received Government support in diffusion, but never caught on with the public. The reason for many of these product failures begins with a companyâ€™s failure to understand the lifestyles and needs of their user groups. What is Sustainability?: As emerging markets continually grow in sophistication and affluence we see a trend of an emerging middle class market that yearns to emulate an American lifestyle of consumption. While there is opportunity for corporations to help in improving the quality of life for families in emerging markets, our team was very concerned with how companies could introduce products and lifestyles that would be more environmentally conscious. When asked about sustainability, the people we interviewed talked not only about environmentalism but economic efficiency. Companies today deal with sustainability not just in terms of carbon footprints and ecological waste, but in terms of being able to remain profitable, efficient and able to scale up. Players within the field: Some academic papers have insisted that corporations build relationships with NGOs in order to gain a greater understanding of user needs and more effectively operate within emerging markets. While the prospect of a symbiotic relationship between NGOs and MNCs sounded ideal, NGOs are ill equipped to meet the needs of MNCs due to their lack of resources and inherent biases against MNC. NGOs are often not utilized in MNC market entry. Other players sometimes had better insight and actual sway over consumer behavior, such as retail store owners who observe user needs on a daily basis and cultural leaders who hold influence over the populous. These players' insights into user needs were a start in our ability to understand that communication between MNCs and users need not only happen through NGOs, and that a rich tapestry of insights and sources is best to create products that fit the user needs. Our initial hypotheses before running the Emerging Markets Workshop: It is recommended that emerging marketseeking MNCs establish a relationship with local players when developing a product or service offering from the ground-up. Local players often have trust and legitimacy (and yet sometimes, the introduction of a large MNC brings legitimacy to contracts between consumers and producers.
Lack of Communication, Lack of Understanding: A fundamental lack of understanding was one of the primary problems that MNCs may experience in entering emerging markets. During our interview process, we also realized that even with the best intentions, without considering the lifestyle differences among rural and urban markets, country, region and even cultural norms, a company and new product developer will have a difficult time tailoring a product to user needs. Sometimes something as simple as asking a local coworker about cultural norms never occurs because researchers don't even realize to ask specific questions. New learnings from workshop: Government
Positive/Negative Centralized governments can play a positive role, opening new markets and support alternatives to traditional solutions. Fractured governmental responsibilities complicate MNCs working in emerging markets.
NGO – Other sources NGOs are not the “best practice” examples they are assumed to be. Poor management is common in NGOs. MNCs can often provide larger resources in a more organized fashion. Buy Local Companies MNCs oftentimes enter a new market by buying a local company. The purchase “buys” relationships and subsequent access to local decision makers Nationalism Nationalism plays a role in the acceptance or rejection of new products. New consumers will purchase a local product in as a means to support local/regional manufacturers. Speed of the developing world vs the speed of an MNC MNCs cannot change their offerings at the speed required by emerging markets. Quantitative Research Quantitative research is considered less reliable in emerging markets. The speed of change in EMs often makes data ineffectual by the time it is collected and reviewed. Remember Retail MNCs tend to overlook the role retail plays in connecting with the consumer. Retail is nuanced in EMs i.e. stores are different in product mix and physical size. High Context/Low Context Culture plays a role in the acceptance of MNCs in emerging markets. High context cultures refer to societies where people establish close connections over a long period of time. Many aspects of cultural behavior are not made explicit because most members know what to do and what to think from years of interaction with each other. Low context cultures are made of people with many informal connections. In these societies, cultural behavior may need to be explained clearly so that those coming into the market place know how to conduct proper business practices. Marketing The workshop introduced the concept of “myopic marketing," defined as product marketing which is ignorant of local cultures and conditions. This ignorance can also reside within an organization when there is a narrow understanding of what type of business the company is in. By broadening the company's vision, an organization maybe able to span various markets. New Barrier – IP Copying MNCs are often cautious in entering new markets without proper patent laws. Consequently, countries like China are starting to address piracy and the IP theft now that they have more “skin” in the game with their own product development. Community MNCs should approach communities in a holistic way – with a broad offering of products and services to a broader audience.
Barrier Insight Clusters 1. Products created for EM adapt to offer local meaning causing struggles for MNCs to control market (brand or product implications) 2. Cost and Price remain a major issue in customizing products for EMs 3. Companies have faced challenges in working with NGOs in the past 4. Social responsibility initatives are neither effective nor efficient when forced upon a corporation. 5. Government and Policy prevents economic growth of EMs 6. Political and economic factors prevent social mobility 7. MNCsâ€™ lack in understanding of EMs prevents creation of a cohesive strategic intent 8. MNCs generalize markets and try to get the most features in to the broadest market possible 9. Products should not be too radical or irrelevant to the lifestyles of the people 10. MNCs assume that existing products are appropriate for the local market 11. Track record of successful technology product launches are hit and miss 12. It is easy to introduce technology but difficult to maintain progress 13. Companies want to test innovation in Ems but landscape is still getting established 14. Companies cannot rely on talent and intangibles (tech/govt/edu/finance system) across EMs
Emerging Market Barriers 1. Products created for EM adapt to offer local meaning causing struggles for MNCs to control market (brand or product implications) • MNCs take the task of developing a new ecosystem for granted when trying to enter an emerging market • Users make local meaning from products that don’t push them to learn how they work • Foreign products have different meanings, status and implications to different users
2. Cost and Price remain a major issue in customizing products for EMs • It is hard to determine price point for emerging market products • Tailored products are avoided by most MNCs because of cost issues
3. Companies have faced challenges in working with NGOs in the past • NGOs partnerships with corporations inhibits communication between the markets • Quality of NGOs isn’t up to par for many philanthropists and businesses to work with
4. Social responsibility initatives are neither effective nor efficient when forced upon a corporation. • In some EMs, the public is bcoming more aware and engaging in activism against environmental threats from companies • PR cannot compensate for bad environmental practices • Many CSR initiatives are a result of watchdog organizations • Traditional CSR is more burden than strategy for companies • CSR success is hard to measure • Companies have financial obligations to primary stakeholders over CSR initiatives • Absolute measures of social return (e.g. SROI) are too hard to implement in practice
5. Government and Policy prevents economic growth of EMs • More government rules lead to lower rate of entrepreneurs • Internal conflicts within country prevent FDI and are financially costly. • A chronic deficit of leadership prevents real positive change • Government pronouncements can carry real weight to consumer attitudes
6. Political and economic factors prevent social mobility • Microcredit inhibits the creation of big industries • Natural resource rich countries gain $ through imports that don’t benefit poor • Costs just can’t be lowered enough for some markets
7. MNCs’ lack in understanding of EMs prevents creation of a cohesive strategic intent • Literacy is not an assumption in emerging markets • All Markets do not have the same values as American middle class • Cultural norms are not questioned when developing products in new markets • Large Companies struggle to crystalize strategic intent in new business
Emerging Market Barriers 8. MNCs generalize markets and try to get the most features in to the broadest market possible • UI teams are usually local as they cannot be tailored close enough else where • Interaction and tech-heavy products especially need to address cultural, language and logistic issues • There is no single emerging market experience so companies should not generalize
9. Products should not be too radical or irrelevant to the lifestyles of the people • It is Challenging to change customers buying patterns for their benefit • Many MNCs used to simply sell older products at lower prices • Radical product differentiation creates barriers to product acceptance in marketplace
10. MNCs assume that existing products are appropriate for the local market • Most products sold to EMs are the same as the home market • Similar Ems may have varying infrastructure, technology and adaptation
11. Track record of successful technology product launches are hit and miss • Similar Ems may have varying infrastructure, technology and adaptation • Absorption of technology is easy, diffusion is not • Technology is concentrated around the major cities
12. It is easy to introduce technology but difficult to maintain progress • If a technology is not diffused promptly, it may at best be diffused only slowly and incompletely. • Leapfrogging technologies only happen for a select group of products
13. Companies want to test innovation in Ems but landscape is still getting established • The poor aren’t as daring to innovate as those above the poverty line • Competition in EM is increasing • Companies want flexibility to work in both developing and developed countries • Actions of MNCs in emerging markets can affect business in its home market
14. Companies cannot rely on talent and intangibles (tech/govt/edu/finance system) across EMs • Oftentimes developing economies have a talent shortage (brain drain) • Intangibles such education; R&D; financial systems; the quality of government effects technology adaptation • Indecision and internal conflict delays within corps leads to market loss
Approach Clusters 1. Manage risk creatively to capture opportunity 2. Empower the user 3. Leverage pre-existing brand identity, while tailoring to local needs 4. Optimize emerging markets capabilities for innovation 5. Reconsider core capabilities and tactics within emerging markets 6. Consider other players and tools within emerging markets 7. Use local players to tailor final offerings 8. Utilize technology to reach rural markets 9. Create products from the bottom up 10. Pursue social development as well as profit 11. Discover Appropriate Technology for Region 12. Create a Nexus between old and new/big and small 13. Establish a strategy for long term local relationships 14. Develop a flexible criteria for local products
Emerging Market Approaches 1. Manage risk creatively to capture opportunity • CSR is just plain risk management • CSR pressures companies to think of initiatives in generic ways • Social Business yields brand equity • PMBs may choose to test their creativity, talent and management skills by establishin and running social businesses
2. Empower the user • Companies can shift power from firm to customer by bringing respect and dignity to the BOP • Emerging markets are good testing grounds for new innovation • Products that support social activity are more successful
3. Leverage pre-existing brand identity, while tailoring to local needs • Marketing needs to be tailored to the newer diverse socioeconomic classes • Western products are status symbols–MNCs promote that position
4. Optimize emerging markets capabilities for innovation • • • • •
BoP markets are great testing grounds for innovative thinking BoP innovation is rarely high technology or high cost Less rules allow for more creative use of technology Emerging markets are starting to overpass some developed nations in technology use Power balance and innovtion centers are shifting to emerging markets
• Technology is shifting the balance of power between donors and recipients
5. Reconsider core capabilities and tactics within emerging markets • • • • •
ROI should take precedence over market share Retail store presence makes for special luxury sales feel Entry of MNCs can help cut high priced exploitative local monopolies out Small to Mdeium enterprises are starting to enter emerging markets Companies can lend stability/legitamcy to contracts
• Coupanes should choose appropriate payback periods for measurement
6. Consider other players and tools within emerging markets • A succesful new meso-financial market can help small companies and varied investors • Creating opportunities for stready employment at reasonable wages is the best way to take people out of poverty • Companies should tkae better advantage of R&D capabilities in emerging markets • Many indigeous companies are suppliers, not innovators
7. Use local players to tailor final offerings • • • • •
Companies can innovate in their suply chains to provide customers with access to resources (knowledge and know how) Development organizations are emphatic to MNCs profit seeking needs MNCs need to carefully choose what roles NGOs play in their collaboration (value chain related) NGOs are helpful in creating distribution channels for products Local market relationships need to be developed from the bottom up
Emerging Market Approaches 8. Utilize technology to reach rural markets • Internet usage in emerging markets fill missing gaps are opposed to replacing existing businesses • Telecom companies have successfully penetrated rural markets • establishing good relationships with local distributors is key to understanding the market better
9. Create products from the bottom up • • • • •
NGOs can help support product design research Core product competencies can be developed in one area, but products should be tailored in the details in local areas User generatd markets can push for changes in corporations Figuring out a company’s target market requires multidimensional techniques Target markets refined through interviews and concept testing
• Rural and urban areas need to be studied to better understand emerging markets
10. Pursue social development as well as profit • • • •
Emphasis is changing from reliance on physical assets to an emphasis on intangibles that shape customer experience MNCs should identify cultural auhority members to understand core influences Microfinance is creative and yields more than just monetary incentives Many microcredit recipients are not micro-entrepreneurs by choice
11. Discover Appropriate Technology for Region • Emerging markets can leapfrog by borrowing from MCs • Select tech is perfect for emerging markets, but not meant for developed nations • Emerging markets are good breeding grounds for disruptive technology
12. Create a Nexus between old and new/big and small • • • • • •
Educational activities also help to establish trust within the local community Successful corporations and healthy society need a symbiotic relationship Emigrants bring high education, technology and capital to emerging markets NGOs pursue market based activities to obtain sustainability Local companies have had more BoP success than MNCs New markets are aimed towards assisting entrepreneurship and innovation in developing nations
13. Establish a strategy for long term local relationships • • • •
MNCs need to attract, develop, retain and integrate emerging market employees Needs and aspirations in building a better life should be understoof before developing a business model Firms need to have a long term view of their customer Firms need to be abel to understand the customer activity cycle
14. Develop a flexible criteria for local products • Preserve the exotic of the product’s origin while adjusting offering to local idioms, cultural rules are keys to success • Flexible/adaptable product identity may foster product success • Products in emerging markets should be sensitive to social requirment while having sound cost structure