This article summarises 10 key insights and considerations when designing value propositions for emerging markets, unpacked in our recent webinar.
During Delta Innovate’s recent webinar, 'Designing Value Propositions for Emerging Markets', we explored the challenges of discovering, designing, validating, and launching new value propositions in South Africa’s lower LSMs (Living Standards Measurement).
Through a dynamic 90-minute discussion and Q&A, our panel delved deep into the challenges of designing value propositions in this unique market, unpacking the tools, expertise and recent learnings to overcome such potential blockers.
Key Insight 1: The Power of Human-Centred Design
Robyn Moore, Founder and CEO of CLQ, defined ‘human-centred design' and illustrated how this form of design can deeply inform the creation of new value propositions, products, and solutions.
Human-centred design is anchored in empathy and a profound understanding of how people think and behave.
Immersing yourself in the world of the people you aim to serve is essential for creating exceptional products or services tailored to their needs.
It aims to design a solution to solve a problem in the communities or people that we engage with.
"Human-centred design is pinned on empathy and deeply understanding how people think and behave around and within certain markets and industries. And when we come to understanding humans, we don't just look at demographic information." - Robyn Moore, Founder of CLQ
Key Insight 2: Public Tools Available for User Research
User research doesn't need to strictly adhere to academic standards or protocols; it can be accessible to everyone. Marné de Klerk, Head of Innovation at Delta Innovate, shared a number of the public tools readily available for user research.
Delta Innovate used different tools for different types of research. Yet, these are an overview of a range of public tools one can leverage.
Such tools include:
Marne also emphasised the tools emerging within the AI sector, such as notetakers and live transcribers, enabling more efficiency throughout the research process.
"There is a whole range of tools and products out there that you can use to assist you - especially in the space of AI. There are a lot of tools emerging at the moment that you can leverage to move faster. " - Marné de Klerk, Head of Innovation at Delta Innovate
Key Insight 3: Alternative Research Techniques
Mélani Prinsloo, Director of Infusion Knowledge Hub (Centre for Democratising Information) walked us through alternative research techniques and why these are so fundamental to ensuring we practise human-centred design, especially in South Africa and other emerging markets.
Use techniques that are used and understood by the relevant market.
Recognise the informal market for its way of operating - rather than enforcing your methods for research.
Don't aim to formalise the market - aim to serve the market and deeply understand your customers.
"Informal does not mean lesser - it operates differently - and we believe that that is one of the biggest capabilities that companies should now build on." - Mélani Prinsloo, Director of Infusion Knowledge Hub
Key Insight 4: Communicating Value as a Startup
With a wealth of experience in building Mapha Logistics, as Founder and CEO, Loyiso Vatsha, unpacked his strategies and tools to communicate value during validation in market.
To communicate your value, you need to appeal to your customers in spaces that they already exist, such as the Meta Suite or in very brand-specific shops.
Focus on the small nuances, like recognising which brands they are already loyal to and asking for, in store.
Recognise the language and method that your customer wants to interact in. If you really want to serve them, your offering needs to suit their method and means of communication (in their chosen language).
Meet your customers where they are and in methods that they want to interact, such as on WhatsApp and using voice notes.
Key Insight 5: The Importance of Intrapreneurs & Entrepreneurs
Pratika Chung, Angel Investor, defined the importance of intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs, especially in a setting like South Africa.
Intrapreneurs are effectively employees within a corporate or large firm that use entrepreneurial skills, to achieve a specific outcome and typically they're involved with innovative bespoke projects for the organisation but don't typically take on the risk that an entrepreneur would have to incur.
Intrapreneurs can also leverage the organisation's resources networks specialities across the across the company whereas entrepreneurs often have a far leaner resource pool to draw upon.
SMEs in South Africa are below the global average in terms of job creation - despite numerous efforts across government, public and private sectors to try and bridge this gap.
Corporate and startup entrepreneurship partnerships are one of the key ways in which we can help accelerate job creation in the South African market and emerging markets.
"I believe that corporate and startup entrepreneurship partnerships are one of the key ways in which we can help accelerate job creation." - Pratika Chung, Angel Investor
Key Insight 6: How to Pivot and Adapt in Today’s Data-Saturated World
In today’s data-driven economy, data abundance can easily lead to data overwhelm. Robyn unpacked the challenges that organisations face when gathering massive data warehouses that are then difficult to simplify into reliable insights.
Rather, research teams should focus on the quality, rather than the quantity, of the data they are gathering. This means focusing on the quality of the questions being asked, instead of the amount of data being retrieved.
"The quality of our insights is actually dependent on the quality of the questions we're seeking to answer with our available data." - Robyn Moore, Founder of CLQ
Key Insight 7: Understanding Customers to Deliver Strong Traction
As a startup, you need to understand at a very granular level who your customers are and tailor your messaging and positioning accordingly, to enable growth and drive traction.
For example, Loyiso Vatsha, Founder and CEO of Mapha Logistics, when working out where his customers existed and who would be leveraging Mapha the most, he learnt that the majority of household income is spent by the female population during the week, but male population over the weekend.
In turn, when targeting this particular LSM and by deeply understanding Mapha’s customer, Loyiso could position Mapha to appeal directly to those who were most likely to use the product and when they would be using it.
"Get on the ground and show that your brand resonates and is seen by the individuals on the ground." - Loyiso Vatsha, Founder and CEO of Mapha Logistics
Key Insight 8: Predicting the Future of the Kasi Market
The South African government is actively trying to stimulate the e-commerce in market.
There are many projects currently running that aim to bridging the gap from learning to earning (helping people go through a trajectory of planning from school to employment).
There are also many projects aiming to build and develop more income generating opportunities.
Data-free platforms and apps on the market are on the rise.
Key Insight 9: Practical Suggestions for Accessing & Understanding Customers
Robyn Moore, Founder and CEO of CLQ, raised an essential question: How can companies access and understand their customers better while staying true to their startup proposition?
Reinvent business models at a corporate level.
Share data with small businesses so that they can help to enact change.
Forge relationships and build ecosystems of data exchange.
Be both POPIA compliant and legislatively aware.
Focus on shared learnings rather than creating a competitive environment.
"How are we empowering small businesses to grow within South Africa if we if we constantly hanging on to data that can make a big difference in our country and our continent." - Robyn Moore, Founder and CEO of CLQ
Key Insight 10: How Investors Assess Your Ability to Build Upon Their Core Value Proposition
Pratika Chung, Angel Investor, provided a checklist for evaluating a venture’s potential to build a strong, scalable proposition:
1. Do they employ a design-thinking, human-centred approach?
2. Product and market validation is the key to any successful business. However, do they handle this as an ongoing process and not a once off?
3. Have they run the proof of concepts and pilots? And, more importantly, what have they learned from those pilots that they've run?
These are only 10 of many valuable insights shared by our panellists in the webinar 'Designing Value Propositions for Emerging Markets'. To watch the full webinar recording, click here or find the recording at the top of this article.
Delta Innovate is an innovation partner for companies looking to activate new initiatives and value propositions in various LSM markets. Along with the insights shared above, our clients get to tap into the collective knowledge of our innovation team, whose experience within the South African context spans decades.
If you'd like to learn more about how we support innovation teams in discovering, designing, validating, and launching new value propositions in South Africa’s lower LSMs, get in touch.