Emerging markets research: mining insights in developing markets

Julian Rolfe

Observing first hand the nuances of local human behaviour and cultures is key to unearthing genuine consumer insight in emerging economies, writes Julian Rolfe of Brandhouse.

As more and more global companies focus their attention on emerging markets, it is becoming increasingly crucial to understand how to conduct research in these markets. Saudi Arabia, Mexico, India, China and Egypt are just a selection of markets that we have worked in recently which offer significant opportunities for brand development and innovation.

Appreciating cultural sensitivities and market nuances is fundamental to successfully uncovering truly great insights. But what exactly is an insight? And what are the principles for eliciting insights that are genuine and actionable?

One definition of an insight is 'an a-ha, with profound implications'. That is to say, a Eureka moment that opens up new, unexpected and fertile territories. There are no hard and fast rules for how to spot one – it is predominantly a case of keeping your mind clear and your senses alert, with the hope of finding a nugget that will either unlock the problem for you, or reframe it from a different perspective. However, there are certain guidelines or principles which, if followed, can create the ideal research environment for insight gathering.