Why “emerging markets” is a patronising term

Another one from my employer’s blog, but as i both scripted and read this, figure it can go on my personal blog.

My point here is twofold – London remains key for any hard core international corporate reputation campaign, due to a number of interlinking reasons:

  1. Timezone: a relic of British imperialism, but GMT means we remain at the centre of things. Logistically, this can be vital for a global campaign
  2. International media: There remains a pool of globally influential media based here: BBC / FT / Economist to name but a few
  3. Capital: A lot of money flows through the City; which is often one of the reasons why international actors play on the London stage
  4. Skill set: There’s an awful lot of people like me here

Secondly, we can be incredibly patronising about “emerging markets”. Recently at a big Ketchum global shin dig, the heads of our Russian and Chinese operations suggested that we need to move away from this sort of language. Their message was simple – “we’ve emerged, and you need our cash, so enough of the snide labeling”.

I’ve spent my career working with post Soviet, Middle Eastern and African stakeholders and one of the issues that links them all is a wish to be better understood, but a deep anger at the “west’s” tendency to pat them on the head and look greedily at their resources.

To truly service clients from Moscow, Kinshasa, Bejing or Sao Paulo we need to look beyond the cliché, if we want to genuinely help drive the reputational change they pay us for.


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