THE CHALLENGE

Help 100 global leaders understand the consumer and operational reality of growing our businesses in emerging markets across Asia, Africa and Latin America

Leading up to an annual senior leadership event, a global drinks company hired Propellerfish to help senior leaders reconnect with the on the ground reality of high growth emerging markets. Being in leadership can often mean being cut out of the reality of how businesses grow on the ground. Specifically, we wanted to remind them who these consumers were, the realities of the environment around them, the realities of retail, and the day-to-day challenges faced by local bottlers and distributers. In other words, we want them to both understand and experience the full chain of local realities that transpire between a product being sold into a local country to it going through the human hands during bottling, delivery, stock, purchase and consumption.

Energy Drink Innovation

We focused on a small subset of emerging markets: India, Nigeria, and Mexico City. We brought film makers and VR cameras with us into each market, focused in on a few key segments and journeys we wanted to bring to life. We captured sales people from the moment the truck was loaded to the moment it was delivered. We did rounds with sales people and spent time with local traders who sold drinks from a mix of retail formats.

We then spent full days with consumers. We waited outside their homes for them to wake up and captured them from the moment they got out of bed to the moment they went back to sleep. We commuted with them, we joined them at work, we went shopping with them, we cooked with them, we ate out with their friends, we exercised, we drank, and we got to know their families.

At the end of the day, this content was not for the Propellerfish team. Our team has worked and lived across these markets for over 10 years. We needed senior leaders to understand the human and operational realities in each of these markets without having set foot in them. Ultimately, global businesses succeed locally and we needed to make sure we were capturing every aspect of that local reality. We took time to make sure every aspect of local life was being captured well and in ways that a third party back in the US would understand.

The output was an immersive experience for the 100 most senior people within the drinks company and the leaders of all of their regional and local partners. An insight presentation started to plant the seeds of local reality in our audience. We then showed a documentary that wove together the similarities and nuanced differences of life across different markets focusing on 6 real life characters. We then asked each person in the room to grab a VR headset and immerse themselves in a few key environments before showing them a documentary of life from the point of view of local front-line staff in Nigeria, India, Mexico City, Turkey, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Global businesses succeed or fail based on how they operate on a human scale in local markets. Experiencing those realities and environments makes the difference between leaders who have read about local realities and those who have felt them first hand.

Global businesses succeed or fail based on how they operate at a human scale in local markets.