Cracking the Cultural Code: How to 'culture-proof' your brands in emerging markets

Michelle Singer and Christina Hloros
The Futures Company


This project involved an investigation into different dynamics of 'cultural orientation' in emerging markets. We segmented consumers on the basis of their cultural openness and/or cultural attachment, and explored the implications for their brand choices – specifically, between local or global brands across a range of criteria.

Our experience is that, while clients are increasingly interested in leveraging cultural insight, they sometimes struggle to make this an actionable component of their marketing strategy. Our approach combined a bold point of view about future business imperatives with a strategic toolkit that clients could use for more customised exploration.

Notable features of our work included:

  • Reaching a large audience of senior-level clients in multiple global companies, inspiring them to make better use of cultural insight in their business.
  • Putting forward a well-supported point of view about important cultural dynamics and their implications for global brands in emerging markets.
  • Providing a platform for companies to undertake further, more specific work into the cultural orientation of their consumers and markets, so that they can develop more culturally-sensitive brand positioning and innovation.
  • Linking cultural insight to practical techniques for rehearsing future scenarios and developing future strategy.