Mapping the emerging digital frontier

Date of publication: September 26, 2008


Frontiers are critical to society both financially and psychologically, and these roles are reenacted daily in the media. The frontier promise in the statement by John Kennedy in his presidential campaign demonstrates the tradition of the frontier archetype. We stand today on the edge of a new frontier ... a frontier of unknown opportunities and paths, a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats. As marketers grapple with institutional, cultural, and strategic transformations in an increasingly turbulent global economic environment, the frontier archetype continues to resurface in the business media. For Nokia, in Khuller's view, this deal truly represents a new frontier, Jan Fields, president of McDonald's U.S. central division, described chicken as the new frontier while addressing a group of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. analysts in Las Vegas last month. ;Despite the fact that some innovations in infant nutrition are market driven, probiotics represent the next frontier for pediatric neutraceuticals'. As multinational clients concentrate expertise and resources to emerging markets that are increasingly critical to the bottom line due to shifts in population, wealth, profit, and cultural power, there is a set of challenges for research practice and its underlying philosophies to keep pace. Emerging markets have been re-conceptualized as frontiers for financial growth, but continue to often be represented globally as underdeveloped Western markets yet across categories, researchers witness people continuing to leapfrog typical evolutionary paths. Whilst global trends, global brands, products and advertising are present in the emerging markets, the conversation is shifting between global and local. The dialogue between global and local has never been easy or simple. As a new wave of consumers gain access to a new set of products, they are also able to utilize their power as consumers and drive demand for relevant products and brands; and this will be evident in the digital frontier. This new wave of demand will need new products and new insights to support a reshaped global- local relationship. This will require new frameworks which will in part be shaped in Asia and not the West. We will utilize evidence from both market research as well as secondary research to demonstrate the presence and magnitude of the changes happening in the digital frontier in Asia.

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