How do brands succeed in emerging markets? By understanding Essay

How do brands succeed in emerging markets? By understanding customers–the contours of their lives, the ways they behave, and their needs and desires. And by showing that what they offer can make their customers’ lives better. Children have always been the largest and most dynamic emerging market on earth. Just as emerging geographical markets move toward economic independence and exploration of possibilities, so do emerging generations.

What’s new is connectivity. Today a child’s preferences and identity are shaped not just on the playground but also across an entire digital world of potential interactions and choices.

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Something else is sure to emerge tomorrow, but this is what’s emerging today: Kids have interactive screens of all kinds, wherever they go. And they’re not passively watching: They’re choosing what to consume and with whom to engage.

Psychologist and youth marketing consultant James McNeal has written that developed societies are defined by the consumer behavior that informs virtually every activity–working, worshipping, schooling, housekeeping, playing and more.

Additionally, McNeal sees the development of consumer behavior as closely linked to our sense of self and presentation. Children as young as 2 identify with brands.

Eager To Learn Shouldn’t Mean Easy to Exploit

Many laws and self-regulatory organizations prohibit ads that exploit the credulity of children. For example, the International Chamber of Commerce prohibits advertising that undermines established social values, or exploits inexperience or credulity, or encourages activities that can be harmful, or suggests that a product conveys physical, psychological, or social advantages.

Anyone who has ever been pestered by a child or teenager to buy something will recognize these as sensible rules–but also that they don’t resolve everything. Today, supervision of children is much more difficult, as marketers have the power to create highly personalized and interactive experiences. With a smartphone or tablet, children can download apps, play games, and share personal information with friends and marketers alike–all without Mom’s approval or even her knowledge.

Some brands have exploited this interactivity. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission reports that most mobile apps aimed at kids fail to provide any information about what personal data is collected and how it is used. Many collect information such as device ID, geo-location, and phone number, and many contain interactive features such as advertising, in-app purchases, and social media links–all without any disclosure to parents.

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