Insight and strategy consultancy Flamingo has launched Ovaltine & Elephants: A Cultural Survey of Myanmar, a collection of essays, interviews and infographics by journalists, academics and researchers. With Myanmar’s November 8 general election imminent, the book provides meaningful context on the country’s political history and cultural heritage as well as insights into recent developments and its post-election future.
Ovaltine & Elephants outlines the cultural tensions that have plagued Myanmar for centuries, giving rise to unlikely phenomena such as military rulers with stables of white elephants. It also looks at how a more open market and digital connectivity are creating new challenges and opportunities in a country where legacy brand Ovaltine still enjoys the status of “elixir of life” established when Myanmar was largely closed to the outside world.
Flamingo’s founders and co-CEOs Maggie Collier and Kirsty Fuller say that “global brands are hurrying to enter Myanmar with limited insights and little, if any, equity in people’s minds. In this context, we believe that the businesses that will succeed are those that have a genuine understanding of not just Myanmar’s people but also the wider culture.”
Myanmar is one of several new but rapidly developing markets that economists hesitate to call emerging. They are instead ‘pre-emerging’ or ‘frontier’ markets, and Ovaltine & Elephants is the first in Flamingo’s Frontier Market Series.
According to the World Bank, of the 4.6 billion people who have no access to the Internet, more than half live in just five countries, all of them in Asia. Many companies have already determined that it is imperative for them to reach this ‘next billion’, as they’ve been called, who will create a tidal wave of opportunity as they enter the global consuming class by 2025.
Ovaltine & Elephants is a must read for cultural observers, brands, businesses and marketers interested in these new frontiers.
Ovaltine & Elephants is being launched in China at the Shanghai International Literary Festival on Saturday October 31, when Flamingo and the Shanghai Foreign Correspondents’ Club will present a discussion of the country’s future. FCC President Pete Sweeney, Senior Markets Correspondent at Reuters, will chair the session and be joined by Hannah Beech, East Asia Correspondent for Time magazine, and Robert San Pé, senior legal adviser on legal affairs to opposition leader and Nobel laureate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. For more information, click here.
On the 26 November Flamingo Singapore will be hosting a Culture Breakfast at The Working Capitol. Speakers include Emma Gage, Managing Director Flamingo Singapore, who will discuss the essential things any brand or marketer needs to know about doing business in these new ‘emerging markets’.
Emma will be joined by Lauren DeCicca, a Myanmar based documentary photographer and journalist. Using her photography as a backdrop she will give us a glimpse into this rapidly changing country through the lens of its rich culture, the diversity of its people and their hopes for the future post election. For more information, click here.