Base of the Pyramid (BoP) Archetypes

Base of the Pyramid (BoP) is a term used to describe the world's population and markets with the lowest income. BoP Archetypes therefore give companies an opportunity to bring livelihood and access improvements to markets and people in the developing world.

Build a new market

This archetype surrounds creating a new market for a company's product(s) in a responsible way. However, this doesn't just mean creating a new product that fits the needs of that market. It also likely includes aspects of consumer education, developing local partnerships and bundling with micro-finance, technical support and maintenance to allow the customer to buy and use the product. When building a new market, it is essential to consider the importance of a business model that is engrained in the needs and values of the customer's it intends to reach.

  • Developing a product that meets the need of a specific market, e.g. a new or adapted food product that meets nutritional needs or deficiencies of the targeted community
  • Varying pricing structures
  • Education programs to teach consumers about benefits of a untraditional, inaccessible or unknown product, e.g. in regions lacking healthcare, training about over-the-counter medicines
  • Micro-finance and leasing of necessary goods and materials

Differentiated pricing structures

This archetype requires recognizing that different customers and markets may not be willing or able to pay the same price as other customers. This way, companies can sell more widely by recognizing that subsidizing their prices for BoP and other low income markets and raising them for those that can pay a higher price provides access to all.

*This material is largely adapted from SustainAbility (2014)