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January 30, 2007

FOREIGN EXHCANGE: The challenge of emerging markets

As part of Jack Morton Worldwide’s recent award-winning event for Philips, the events company was charged with bringing 160 top leaders from the technology giant together in New Delhi for three days to enhance their understanding and advance their thinking on the challenges, opportunities and distinctive features of conducting and growing business in emerging markets. The event had to be a departure from traditional meetings and focus much more on real insights and empowerment through meaningful personal experience.

Growing in Emerging Markets began for the delegates with an extensive pre-reading Business Week pack. Once on site, the experiences were rained down on the delegates: ranging from an panel session with five Indian chief executives on what it takes to succeed in an emerging market, to seminars on the BRICA (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations, an open air dinner and a spectacular theatrical show featuring a full Bollywood performance.




Plans for growth
For the second day the delegates were forced to get much more hands on, and were divided into 10 teams and given a mission each. Supported by local experts, each group tackled carefully constructed business cases in places as diverse as middle class homes, local clinics, hospitals, colleges, shops, markets, schools and rural slums. The teams had to collect knowledge and collateral ,as well as start to think about concrete recommendations on how to successfully secure growth in these markets.

On their return, the teams worked late into the night preparing a seven-minute presentation on their recommendations, dressing a market stall with their collateral and assisted by a graphic designer, creating a giant poster summarising their findings.

By morning, an Emerging Markets bazaar had been created in the hotel gardens and a Board of Management panel then walked around each of the stalls, listening to and interrogating each team’s presentation. This was relayed by live television link to the rest of the audience seated inside the hotel. The presentations and interviews stimulated further debate and the audience later had a chance to walk around the booths, add comments and discuss the findings with their colleagues.

Links on the ground
Of course, designing the programme itself is only half the challenge, logistically making it all work on the ground can be a mine field, particularly if you are not familiar with the foibles of another country’s infrastructure. Paul Dawson, Jack Morton Worldwide's global project director stresses how important it is to build links with other talented international outfits in order to have the contacts when and where you need them.

"For the Philips India event, the production and logistics were largely handled by local companies, highly regarded and trusted in India," he says. "Thanks to their local know-how and experience, social and cultural differences were minimised and well adapted for.
“Live demos and wireless terminal interactive technology was engaged for the interactive presentations. This enhanced audience understanding and interaction with company executives, each other and the various products on show. The experience also called for a carefully prepared and executed three-hour live television element programme. This demanded both technical and creative collaboration between local talent and the Jack Morton event team.  This always pays off where experiential communications is concerned and makes for a more memorable event.”

A measure of success
Post event research conducted by Jack Morton Worldwide showed that 99% of the audience at the Emerging Markets event felt personally committed to making a success in the emerging markets and 97% felt fully motivated going forward.

Harnessing the energy created during the event, Philips set up dedicated teams in the local markets to provide extra funding and expertise and have now created an Emerging Market Council to regularly exchange information and review new opportunities in this area. The Philips General Management Committee is significantly committed to growth in Emerging Markets, and cited the Emerging Markets summit as a key catalyst in helping to define new policy initiatives.


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