I have just returned from a trip to Kiev to teach the Emerging Themes Postgraduate unit at the International Institute of Business. This was my first delivery of any of the new syllabus CIM qualifications, I will be starting the CIM Professional Diploma in addition to the Chartered Post Graduate Diploma shortly in the UK at our usual centre in Leeds.
In addition to the usual cultural differences between Ukraine and the UK it was fascinating to get into discussions with the students about what constitutes an emerging theme, and which are "emerged". In some instances issues are emerging in the Ukrainian market which have already emerged elsewhere - one student who is involved in tobacco was talking about increases in tax levels and a removal of the ability to promote tobacco products (well past being an emerged theme for tobacco companies UK operations) which are rapidly changing the way she can operate.
A major issue, however, is whether the current financial situation is an emerging theme. My own view is that it is not "emerging" - it is here and we know about it. Within the situation, however, themes which specifically impact on specific sectors are emerging and changing the way organisations need to operate in the future. These themes include exchange rates, the current very low interest rates and, as a side effect of other issues, a degree of national protectionism.
For those taking the CIM qualification I will be clarifying the definition the Senior Examiner is placing on "Emerging Themes", however, for marketers it is as essential to consider what may happen in the future with issues which are emerging now, and may be important later as it is to respond to the now. I am reminded of the quote from James Goldsmith - "If you see a bandwagon, it's too late"