fusion point research Marketing Research Reports

Marketing to Emerging Markets Leaders in CPG

Understanding Their Role

Emerging markets provide a huge opportunity for consumer products companies to expand. Definitions of emerging markets vary, but typically include China, India and Brazil as the largest potential marketplaces. Emerging markets have distinct needs and cultures, and CPG companies must adapt and absorb those differences into their corporate cultures if they expect to be successful. This requires dedication, creativity, and flexibility to a new set of priorities.


Acquiring talented leadership, especially locally, is another challenge these companies face.1 Each country maintains distinct language, societal, religious, and cultural differences. Leadership, both local and foreign, must find a balance between their cultures while working towards a common goal. Balancing dynamics between the corporate headquarters and remote locations is extremely important. The head office may feel responsible for the burden to succeed while the remote office often feels undervalued and unheard.2 Good leadership extends to building clear channels of communication between every office and maximizing productivity locally and from afar.


Consumer products companies are trying to adapt to the preferences of these new markets, not just offering a cheaper versions of Western products.3 Successful companies start their emerging market business plan from scratch and tailor every aspect to the new market’s tastes, culture, and priorities. Creativity, reliance on local talent, and dedication to serving the new consumers ensures a well thought out business plan and a successful position in the new marketplace. Although emerging markets present tremendous expansion opportunities, competition is already intense, as both local and global organizations attempt to capitalize on the countries’ growth.4

“Large, international corporations tend to become complex organizations, which makes them inflexible. But in fast-growing emerging markets, you cannot expect the same stable conditions that we are used to in mature markets.... We are constantly adapting our structures to become faster and more flexible.”

- Kasper Rorsted, CEO of Henkel. 5

1 Ratanjee, Vibhas, and Andrzej Pyrka. “Fixing the Leadership Gap in Southeast Asia.” Harvard Business Review , 2015.

2 Champion, David. “The Leadership Behaviors That Make or Break a Global Team.” Harvard Business Review, 2015.

3 Bird, Matthew. “Merging Two Global Company Cultures.” Harvard Business Review, 2015.

4 “Soap and Detergents. (cover Story).” Chemical Week 175, no. 3 (2013): 23 – 24. EBSCOhost(85435171).

5 “‘Get the strategy and the team right’: An interview with the CEO of Henkel.” McKinsey & Company. 2013. Available at: www.mckinsey.com



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CPG companies are positioning themselves from growth in emerging markets like China and India. Keys to success include understanding the unique needs of local consumers and establishing a strong, local leadership team.