What a difference a few years make. No longer is widespread, global economic growth the norm. The Global Village has now solidly become a patchwork quilt of Local Hamlets. Thus, companies are scanning the globe for pockets of opportunity, such as parts of Asia (namely China, Indonesia, India, and, yes, even Myanmar), parts of Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru), and Africa. No longer can global companies allow once-strong markets to carry the weaker markets. As such, multinational companies are and will increasingly be pulling back from mature markets and increasingly prospect for gold in emerging markets for growth. As a result, there are two general areas of opportunities for aggressive, independent agencies: 1) work with multinational, global companies to help them seek out the pockets of gold in the emerging markets in creative, cost-efficient ways, and 2) sniff out the local and regional entrepreneurial companies in the mature markets as they seek to gain a toehold as the multinationals scale back.
With this, branding will take on an increasingly local/regional appeal in order to capture the hearts and minds of local-market consumers. Progressive, independent agencies have a unique advantage because they know and understand their local markets, and thus can make the most of a client’s budget – be it multinationals trying to acquire customers and revenue in emerging markets, or start-ups attempting to capture market share in mature markets. But with an increasingly cautious client base, independent agencies will need to have the reach, resources and horsepower to not just get new clients, but to also retain them, while maintaining their inherent passion, flexibility, creativity and collaborative spirit. Think of a colony of highly focused, well-coordinated, never-say-die ants that can each carry 50 times their own weight. That’s what clients will need in 2013.