The global consumer: Is sophistication growing across the world?

Dominic Scott-Malden
Jigsaw Research

Introduction

Some MRS papers are highly focused on a particular research issue, technique or metric. This one is not. This paper looks at the big picture: brands across the globe. Although it is based on years of international research experience and depth interviews with expert commentators in different countries, it is still full of generalisations and speculation. Some of it may interest, engage or enrage you; and I hope that some of it, at least, strikes a chord.

Brands are the foot soldiers of capitalism, carrying the philosophy and culture of 'consumerism' across the world. In this paper I start with the hypothesis originally put forward by Guy Murphy, Global Strategy Director of JWT at the APG Battle of Big Thinking in 2009, that while we in the West are having doubts about many brands, in much of the world brands are riding a wave of enthusiasm. In the West we have moved from a state of general enthusiasm about brands to being more 'knowing', more sophisticated and more critical of brands.