Before the World Cup recedes into the distance, I wanted to mention a post from Cape Town by my colleague Alex Steer on global brands and new consumers. The whole piece is at The Futures Company's blog, but in a line, the message is that global brand strategies and new consumers in emerging markets don't really mix.

A couple of extracts from Alex's post:

Just as vague nods to ‘Africa’ will not wash, neither will any brand proposition that is not explicit about why it deserves attention. FIFA’s major sponsors are spending hundreds of millions on media and global brand campaigns – yet an increasing share of purchasing power in South Africa is in the hands of millions of low-income consumers who are driven by a fundamental conception of value. Brands thrive because they offer low cost, quality, safety and personal status. Global sponsor? Nobody cares. ...

‘Emerging consumers’ do not think of themselves as if they were playing catch-up with richer ones – or as if they were the same as each other. The smarter brands are segmenting these markets attentively, and looking for genuine insights. Asking the wrong questions can lead brands astray. Few low-income South Africans, for example, report having life insurance (24%) or investments (17%; see Global Monitor), in part because they do not associate these labels with membership of informal burial societies or stokvels (rotating credit unions), widespread in these markets. Insightful financial services brands are developingformalversions of these, tailoring their products to their new (not ‘emerging’) consumers.

Of course, most of those global brands are there as a staging post, to beam themselves back to their richer customers in Europe and elsewhere. It could be anywhere - this time South Africa, next time Brazil - and it could be nowhere, as FIFA emphasises by turning stadiums into 'clean zones' for its sponsors and affording such lavish publicity for anyone cunning enough to disrupt them.

But perhaps they also have something to learn from their new consumers. At the tail end of the great global boom, their old richer consumers are behaving more like new poorer ones, also increasingly concerned about cost, quality, and safety.