New brands on the block: insights from emerging markets

Last Monday, we welcomed Professor Amitava Chattopadhyay to our latest thought leadership event, New brands on the block: insights from emerging markets, at the La Scatola Gallery. 

It was a different type of event to the Canvas8 ‘norm’ in that it was more of an analysis of businesses’ strategic approach than insights for creative inspiration.

We introduced the evening by exploring some of the wider behaviours that are driving the growth of emerging market brands. 

We have seen people become more curious about new cultures, making them more likely than ever to embrace them. This Global Mindset has encouraged us to look beyond the status quo and explore the huge array of products and services springing up in emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India.

As the success of the Olympics demonstrated so beautifully, our national identity is rooted in a celebration of multiculturalism. As the desire to differentiate ourselves within the world grows, we invent our own personal brand identities. We are now adopting a patchwork identity drawn from influences around the world as part of ‘Brand Me’.

How are emerging market brands capitalising on this, and what can established brands learn from them?

Amitava took to the stage to answer these questions, and highlight the key factors behind the success of brands such as Infosys, Lenovo, LG and Tata.

Emerging market brands are developing a winning mindset. Success has not only provided a blueprint that others can follow, it has instilled a confidence that they can compete on a global scale. Amitava suggested that emerging market brands are more agile, prepared to work harder and have the appetite to do what it takes to be number one. 

He spoke of the need for “laser guided focus” when developing products – select your market carefully in order to avoid being a jack of all trades, but master of none. Crucially, when scaling up, businesses must find smart ways to do so incrementally and prevent CAPEX costs from becoming prohibitive.

In the worlds that we inhabit, we often lose sight of the connection between marketing, innovations and core business needs – what it takes to be a truly successful business.

Amitava brought this sharply into focus. The relationship between marketing and business is far more than lip-gloss. When done well it has a critical role to play. Doing it well doesn’t always need to be complicated, but it does need to be smart. 

Innovation is fundamental to the success of emerging market brands, both in terms of process and product. Often out of necessity, the smartest brands are creating better ways of working and offering something new, without compromising on quality. For emerging market brands, the marketing team is often an integrated part of the innovation team. This means that the product’s marketing is baked into the product from the outset.

Amitava also drew attention to something that, arguably, we often take for granted – customer centricity. Uncover and understand what your audience is passionate about and what they want, then find a way to deliver it – such as designing a car from the inside out or producing low powered tractors to meet the needs of a niche market.

The thinking of today’s emerging market brands is as revolutionary as the ‘just in time’ processes of the Japanese businesses that turned traditional manufacturing on its head in the 70’s and early 80’s.

It is disrupting the business landscape that we have grown up with – and, in many ways, what Amitava delivered was as much a business manifesto for small businesses as it was for brands in emerging markets.

Search for an expert (Taken with Instagram)

Search for an expert (Taken with Instagram)

Search for an expert (Taken with Instagram)

Search for an expert (Taken with Instagram)


Great interview with the very smart Alan Moore. Alan is a Canvas8 Thought Leader and co-author of How Communities Dominate Brands. In this 28 minute interview with Peter Day Alan introduces the concept of No Straight Lines and discusses the innovation and design challenge of brands.  

Steve’s (aka development superman) new tats (Taken with instagram)

Steve’s (aka development superman) new tats (Taken with instagram)