Think Global, Act Local

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Think Global, Act Local

Retailers are being advised to focus on their glocal presence. That is not a type-o. Glocal is the concept of acting globally while thinking local. Glocalisation isn’t forced upon retailers and producers through laws or codes of conduct. Rather, glocalisation concentrates on understanding consumers’ unique qualities and needs and, in turn, incorporating these characteristics into products directed at that target demographic. For instance, McDonald’s has over 35,000 restaurants around the world and all provide their famous Big Mac hamburger. However, their menus also adapt to local customers’ regional desires. McDonald’s restaurants in Brazil provide croissants with Portuguese cured ham and Brazilian cheese for breakfast, Chinese McDonald’s serve boba tea, taro pie and custard egg McMuffins, and McDonald’s in Israel serve McKebabs, lemon tea with mint leaves, and corn sticks.

You might wonder if customers even want these products from McDonald’s. They go to McDonald’s for Big Macs and chips, right? The Parker Avery Group, a strategy and management firm with research units, found that the most important investments for retailers in 2015 are understanding the local customer and market, as well as tailoring the assortment to local markets.

Currently, 51.3% of retailers produce different inventory for each country they serve. As seen by McDonald’s, who maintains their traditional symbol, slogans, and the majority of their quintessential menu in global chains, local changes do not have to be major product redevelopments. The changes are considerate additions that provide a tailored experience for the consumer. Ultimately, many retailers beg the question, “How I can sell more of my brand”. However, they need to ask, “How do I get the shopper to spend more”. It is about providing the customer with what they want. Sales were directly affected when retailers concentrated on the consumer and adapted brands to reflect consumers’ core values based on global regions.

For Innesco, glocalisation is pertinent because it is not solely for products, but also for experiences and branding.

As branding experts, we strive to represent our clients and ourselves with the upmost respect. A part of the branding process is properly researching the global market. We have all heard the horror stories of brands that have not done so, such as the American car company Chevy naming a car ‘Nova’ that translated to ‘won’t work’ in the South American market or Pepsi’s launch in the Asian market with the slogan “Pepsi bring you back to life” literally translating to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”.

A poorly considered local advertisement can damage an entire global brand. As Benjamin Franklin said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it”. Reputation is a vital characteristic for companies and brands. Harvard Business Review reports, “70% to 80% of market value comes from hard-to-assess intangible assets such as brand equity, intellectual capital, and goodwill”. Therefore, organisations are particularly sensitive to anything that might damage their thoughtfully constructed reputation.

There are successful cases of glocalised branding and property. For instance, coffee giant, Starbucks, incorporates both. Starbucks was gaining a reputation for generic coffee stores with earth-tone walls, brown chairs, and dark wood. However, in an effort to localise their truly global brand, over 23,000 stores worldwide, Starbucks redesigned many of their units to reflect the local taste and character. This coffee store in New Orleans, Louisiana featured works from local artists, as well as brass instrument lighting to embrace the city’s jazz heritage.

Not all stores are as elaborate as this, but it embodies how deeply Starbucks considers the design for each location. In fact, they have developed a portfolio of store designs so that their designers look at every store anew “to ensure that it looks distinctively local. This represents a new level of coffeehouse comfort, meaning that no two Starbucks will ever be entirely the same”.

Of course, you don’t have to be a multi-millionaire corporation like Starbucks to be global and think local. Various publications and boards, such as the Harvard Business Review and American Marketing Association, have devised lists of appropriate resources for glocalisation. We have compiled these into a single list with the most significant assets for businesses to achieve a global reach with local features.
Simple, but powerful concept that transcends cultural boundaries.
Go beyond the product and address motivations, such as an education, safety, love, etc.
A unified branding vision that coordinates with and respects consumers in targeted locations.
Broadening cultural perspectives to ensure a cooperative mindset among global organizations for a smooth implementation of global strategies.
Internal cooperation to create free-flowing information and ideas across the organization.
For a company to be glocal, it must possess the global reach of an established corporation alongside the creativity and flexibility of a start-up. For Innesco, the most important information to take away from this information is to understand and empathize with clients’ needs, as well as recognize how we can achieve those needs. Glocalisation is a stimulating challenge to meet that helps us to connect with our clients, team, and environment on a greater level.


Taylore Hunt

Account Executive

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