As a corporate security or risk team, you are used to identifying risks to your business. But what about the opportunities? Jon Rubin, Managing Director of Dragonfly’s sister company, FrontierView, explains how other functions use strategic market intelligence to become business enablers – and how you can too.
During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, when President Hosni Mubarak was deposed, a global food company lost market share to their key competitor. They had been so concerned with managing the risks of operating in a volatile market that they had not considered the opportunities at a time of change and unrest.
As the Arab Spring spread through the Middle East and North Africa, they became determined to take a different approach, working with marketing intelligence firm FrontierView to identify potential growth areas in the regions.
“Risk and opportunity are the two sides of the same barbell,” says FrontierView’s Managing Director, Jon Rubin. “They are flipsides.”
His company, which like Dragonfly is part of the FiscalNote group, helps companies identify and manage both. While it is focused on markets, it sees itself as working “at the intersection of economics, geopolitics, industry and business strategy,” helping companies translate the direct implications of market trends to their business. Like Dragonfly, they aim to power their clients’ workflows, not ‘just’ provide intelligence. Their insights always add valuable context – explaining the “so what” of key events – and are concise, actionable, forward-looking and business-critical.
Case study: Identifying customer segments with strong purchase power
For example, during the pandemic and in its aftermath, B2C companies had to contend with abrupt and divergent shifts in buying power across different customer segments, as each one was impacted by job market disruption, government stimulus, inflation, access to credit – and more.
FrontierView set out to help consumer goods companies reprioritise their customer segments, depending on their evolving purchasing power. It created a Purchasing Power Index that identified Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean as the most resilient pockets of opportunity within the Latin America region because consumers in these markets were benefiting from significantly higher remittance flows from the US.
Equipped with this information, B2C companies could aim for larger price increases in these markets, and be more aggressive on growth targets, compensating for weaker consumer spending dynamics elsewhere in Latin America.
How CSOs can use market intelligence to enable growth
FrontierView’s intelligence is currently consumed by heads of strategy, finance, marketing and sales functions. However, they see huge opportunities for heads of corporate security and risk professionals to use their intelligence to take a more strategic role in their organisations.
“If your job is to understand and manage risk so you can save your business time and money and enable smooth workflows, you can take all that same intelligence and use it to drive additional opportunities for your business,” he says. “Every risk presents an opportunity.”
He notes that many of the service’s current users are going through a similar evolution to CSOs in their roles, working to elevate their functions, support more commercial decision-making and open up channels of communication with new internal customers, particularly at C-suite and board level.
“Because the world is so volatile right now, senior decision-makers are continually asking our clients more questions about what’s going on in the market. So these roles are also becoming more strategic as [these heads of strategy, finance, marketing and sales] take it upon themselves to stay ahead of the curve and know what’s happening before a board member sends them a newspaper clip, asking what they know about a particular event. If the answer is, ‘We’re looking into it now,’ it’s too late.”
And, he adds, the increasing global volatility has another implication.
“When it comes to growth, companies can no longer rely on Western markets to be steady eddies or on China to be a growth engine. So there is more of a drive to find the next opportunities – which are not as obvious as they once were,” says Jon.
So, the opening for all these functions to add value to their organisations by advising on opportunities – not just risks – will only grow.