Globalisation has made societies more homogenous, but in a backlash against this process, people are demanding more individual, tailored messages. What does this mean for international brands, and how can they get through to consumers outside the home market?

A battle is going on right now. Two powerful, contrasting forces are acting on our business and culture. This is the battle between the global and the local.

The world is a much smaller place, so ideas and products can now be easily shared across borders. This is making our societies much the same, a process visible partly through the spread of major global brands. This is causing a localist backlash as individuals seek to differentiate themselves in a more ‘homogenised’ world.

Marketers are caught up in this struggle. For smaller brands, it’s not so much of a problem – you’re often operating on the local level, and can find success by tapping into the knowledge that comes with being close to your consumers. But for brands that operate across markets, reaching people who expect increasing personalisation can be extremely difficult.

A potential solution

Creating a global message, but activating it locally, could be the best way forward for big brands. The term ‘glocalisation’ has been coined to describe this combined approach to global marketing.

Here are some suggestions for possible approaches:

  1. Content marketing produced by an agency with a native’s understanding of local needs – local professionals can interpret your global messages for you, or rewrite centrally produced material.
  2. Co-creation of campaigns with consumers. After formulating a culture-specific call to action, your customers will tell you the best way to reach them.
  3. Pick a universal message for your brand. Slogans such as ‘Because you’re worth it’, ‘Just do it’ or ‘Every little helps’ are tapping into ideas and emotions that apply everywhere. These brands can then use local customers or celebrities as appropriate spokespeople.
  4. Choose your campaign carefully. A branding campaign with a strong message – to raise awareness – might be easier to execute, given your knowledge of local markets, than a performance campaign aimed at delivering measurable results.
  5. Build a more global team. Bringing local brand managers into the loop with HQ will allow them to share good ideas from the start. If they have the full picture, they will have a better understanding why a global strategy was formulated, while successful campaigns from their counterparts abroad might spark ideas for their own markets.

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