In fact, seamless storytelling across every divide — from devices to channels to borders — has never been easier. With access to emerging consumer markets, the widespread adoption of key connected channels, and the ability to execute localized strategies worldwide, brands will find that the entire world’s audiences are within reach, uncovering unparalleled opportunities for business growth in the process.
Tap Into the Untapped: New Markets, New Middle Class, New “Firsts”
The recent, rapid economic growth of some of these countries has prompted the simultaneous rise of an entirely new and flourishing consumer middle class. In fact, Center for Inclusive Growth reports emerging markets are expected to add 510 million new middle-class households by 2026, driving the previously mentioned $9.1 trillion in consumer spending.
Why global storytelling is within reach.
This new pool of consumers is divided between those entering the middle-class lifestyle and those reaching a new level of upper middle-class wealth. The former is unique in that they’re experiencing a series of “firsts,” particularly for consumer products. Due to growing income levels and technological advances, these consumers will be purchasing the likes of cars, laptops, and laundry machines for the very first time. On the other hand, the rising upper middle-class consumers, particularly in Asia, have high demand for aspirational and luxury non-domestic brands.
The rise of this new consumer pool is nowhere more evident than in China, where, as the People’s Daily reports, more than 400 million people are contributing to the growing middle class (larger than the entire population of the United States). And the cross-border e-commerce buying habits of Chinese consumers range from everyday items to more extravagant purchases. As Nielsen reports, 13 percent of online baby food sales and 13 percent of online infant milk formula sales in China are purchased from cross-border vendors. And according to a recent report from e-commerce provider Azoya Consulting, 125 million Chinese consumers spent an estimated $23.1 billion on overseas fashion products last year.
With 64 percent of Chinese online consumers making purchases from overseas websites last year, according to Nielsen, the opportunity for global brands is unquestionable.
Leapfrog Traditional Devices: The Mobile and Connected TV Jump
With accelerating economic progress comes the ability of markets to skip the traditional technological evolution process in favor of the direct adoption of more advanced technologies. Mobile represents a key example of this leapfrog effect, as 74 percent of the global mobile-connected population lives in developing markets, according to a report by the GSM Association.
In China, for example, mobile has quickly become the center of all internet usage. eMarketer estimates that mobile will account for 70 percent of the time adults in China spend online this year. The notion of mobile-first has taken on entirely new meaning as advertisers begin to engage with what are essentially mobile-only communities.
A similar leapfrog effect is happening in television, as consumers in China skip over traditional television in favor of digital video. This may come as no surprise though, considering high-speed broadband is often more widely accessible and offers a wider variety of content. In fact, eMarketer cites broadband availability as a reason it expects time spent with traditional television in China to decline 3 percent by 2020, while time spent viewing digital video will grow by 37 percent. And while eMarketer’s projections suggest adults in China will still watch 2.5 hours of TV a day and 1.3 hours of digital video, the adoption rate of digital over the next two years puts it on a trajectory to overtake traditional TV in China in a matter of years.
As digital video continues to become mainstream, brands looking to grow their global presence could ask for no better medium through which to meet engaged audiences and build brand awareness.
Go Global, Think Local: The Power of Tailored Storytelling
As infrastructure expands and allows greater connectivity in China, it creates additional markets with vastly unique audiences, each with their own languages, habits, cultures, customs, and interests. Amid all these differences, the global marketers’ goal remains very much the same: to capture the hearts and minds of consumers everywhere with relevant campaigns that elicit action.
But that’s no easy feat, particularly in regions where people are making major first-time purchases with no shortage of brands to choose from. The car industry, for instance, is no exception. More than 60 percent of auto buyers in China are purchasing their first-ever car, according to a 2012 article in McKinsey Quarterly. The key to capturing these audiences lies in understanding what makes them unique.
China’s middle class, looking to make budget-friendly investments, has recently developed a preference for second-hand vehicles, the Wall Street Journal reports. Automobile brand General Motors responded by ensuring availability for second-hand cars in all 1,600 of its Chinese dealerships. In this case, a successful GM ad campaign in China might focus on the value of its second-hand products — an approach that may not resonate in other areas of the world. So, while the overall brand perception should remain the same globally — that GM is a trusted carmaker — the storytelling between markets should align with the specific audiences the brand is catering to.
Ultimately, this all boils down to the simple fact that the internet, coupled with economic progress, is providing brands with access to what is likely one of the largest opportunities for major business growth.
There’s no question that emerging markets around the globe are increasingly ripe for advertising, but success stems from more than delivering a global ad campaign. Rather, marketers looking to capitalize on global audiences will find success in truly understanding each of these unique markets — who they are, where they are, what they’re looking for — and crafting brand stories accordingly. It’s only then that brands will begin to reap the reward of the world at their fingertips.
James Patterson is the VP of global operations at The Trade Desk. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.