Hidden Treasures: What is it Like Doing Business in Developing Countries?

by | Jan 25, 2021

“Sometimes we go to work sitting in the back of a pick-up truck next to a goat. It beats the hell out of going to work in the same place, in the same manner, every single day.”

This is just one of many reasons Jasmine Montgomery believes in expanding your horizons and working in developing countries. 

Her agency Seven helps brands reach Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and translates their message, rather than simply dumping Western campaigns in places with very different cultural values. 

A lot of these clients wind up working with local teams – but that doesn’t cut it.

“More and more, [these] clients need world class branding,” she says.

This might well be an established company looking to localise, expecting world class creatives wherever they operate. On the other hand, they may be local companies looking to export in need of a higher level of branding to compete in their own domestic market.

“For these sorts of businesses, what we offer is a hybrid. They get London-calibre thinking, but they also get local implementation and insight from our local teams,” Jasmine explains. “Our London team is the head of the octopus, and we focus entirely on giving our expertise to emerging markets.”

How does Jasmine deal with corruption?

“A lot of people told us we’d have to do business the way business is done here,” she says. “[But] we had a commitment from the beginning not to pay bribes for work. As a result, we don’t have a lot of work in certain countries.” 

Despite this, Jasmine believes working in these developing areas can be both fun and fulfilling.

“I like looking at branding and marketing through the lens of culture,” she says. “For example, when working with Coca Cola, their brand is about happiness. But what does happiness mean in Africa? To me, that’s the joy of the project.”

We’ll be chatting about hidden opportunities in developing markets, how to win work fairly in the midst of corruption, and the interesting ways to get money out of countries.