Table of Contents
What is Glocalization?
Glocalization is a combination of globalization and localization, wherein the products and services of a company are produced globally but are modified to meet the requirements of a local market. The best example of Glocalization is McDonald’s which is a global brand and follows international standards but its menus are localized to the country it is operating in.
Glocalization is a strategy of modifying global products at the local and regional levels allowing the company to increase its reach to global customers with personalized experiences that cater to their unique needs.
The objective of Glocalization is to make foreign companies adapt and thrive in a local market. Foreign companies needed to adapt localization to increase their customer base in foreign lands.
Glocalization is the perfect way to build a bridge between your company, and local and global customers, ensuring your marketing efforts reach far and wide while still being targeted for exactly who needs it.
Origins of Glocalization
Glocalization happened a few decades ago when companies decided to enter foreign markets to expand their business. Initially, it was hard for international companies to follow the business rules and regulations of a country.
For example, English-speaking companies thought English being a trade language will be enough for them to do international business. But soon, they realized that the adoption of the local language is necessary if they want to penetrate the market. Therefore, companies used local language to translate product information, and websites. However, the business transformation didn’t end with just the adoption of the local language.
That means when a company enters a new market, it is required to modify its products and services to meet the demands of the consumers of the local market and is tailored to conform with the local customs and laws. Thereby, products are glocalised to be accepted by local customers. Therefore, it is right to say that glocalization makes a product a global product, a universal product that everyone can use, and its localization makes it easy to fulfill the needs and requirements of individuals.
For example, if an American car company wants to sell its cars in the Indian market, then it is required to manufacture vehicles as per the laws and customs of the local Indian market. First of all, it is needed to produce cars with steering on the right-hand side. Because in India, cars are driven on the left-hand side with steering on the right-hand side. Similarly, different countries have different rules and laws which must be followed by foreign countries if they want to establish their business in the markets of those countries.
The term glocalization is not a new term. It was first used by the economists of Japan to explain their global marketing strategies. Later, in 1980, this term was popularised by sociologist Roland Robertson when he mentioned this term in Harvard Business Review. He explained glocalization as the existence of both particularisation and universalization tendencies.
Since 1990, the term glocalization is repetitively used by global sociologists and social scientists. The concept of glocalization is not only used in the marketing and business field but is also used in the areas of entertainment, technology, anthropology, sociology, and geography.
Examples of Glocalization
Various multinational companies adopted glocalization to establish their business in local markets of different companies. In this section, you will learn about the different examples of companies that chose glocalization to become part of local markets. Let us first start with the case of the coca-cola company.
World’s largest beverage company Coca Cola also adopted glocalization to reach its consumers across the world. In the 1990s, when the business world was changing rapidly, Coca-Cola realized that its global campaign is not enough to reach consumers across the globe. Therefore, it decided to establish its global brand strategies, and it took actions that were following the local requirements, local cultures, and regional preferences. In addition to this, it also modified its beverages according to the local taste.
Companies used different packaging, and different distribution methods according to the specific regions of a country. Coca-Cola valued and respected local culture, consumers’ needs, diets, and preferences and modified its products to become part of the local market.
Coca-Cola First adopted a glocal strategy to enter the market in China. Initially, it was difficult for Coca-Cola to sell its beverages in China because the people of China always preferred healthy beverages like natural juices and green teas. People considered Coca-cola beverages as unhealthy beverages that affected the business as well as the image of Coca-Cola in the global market. Therefore, Coca-Cola used global strategies to make its place in China. After its success in the China market, it used its glocal strategies in other Asian countries, because of the diverse cultures in different regions of Asian countries.
Mcdonald’s is a food chain company that has made effective use of glocalization to expand its business worldwide. Mcdonalds sell beef burgers in other countries of the world, whereas in India, the beef burger is replaced by Mcaloo Tikki burgers.
Similarly, other food chains companies like KFC, Subway, and Starbucks also changed their products and marketing strategies to establish their business in foreign markets. For example, KFC sells spicer chicken in India as compared to other countries in the world.
3. Google Pixel
Another famous example of a globalized strategy is the strategy used by Google Pixel. The camera of Google Pixel Phones has a shutter sound that can be disabled. However, according to Indian law, all camera phones must make a shutter sound while clicking photos.
Therefore, Google Pixel modified its phones as per the regulations set by the Indian government to be able to sell its phones in the Indian market.
Whirlpool sells home appliances, and it has made effective use of glocalization to expand its business in foreign markets. In India, women wear five feet long sarees, and sarees getting tangled while washing in washing machines was a common problem in Indian households.
They decided to address this problem in the Indian market. Therefore, they teamed up with local partners to produce washing machines, which suffice the needs of local culture and preferences. This move not only improved their image in the eyes of their customers but also increased the loyalty of customers towards the brand.
Similarly, They manufacture their refrigerators in colors like blue and red with floral designs on them for Asian customers as they discovered that people in Asia place their fridges in the living area as a status symbol. These small changes helped whirlpool to increase its customer base in Asian markets, and now whirlpool is one of the most popular and trusted brands in Asian markets.
MTV is one of the most famous music channels. It was launched in 1981, and right after its launch, it became hit among Americans. But when the MTV channel is launched in the UK, it did not achieve popularity as it made in America.
Then they realized that people in the UK don’t enjoy American music, and to attract local viewers; they should telecast local music. The channel became a hit soon after it adopted the local music of English people.
They adopted the same strategy in other countries like India, China, Japan, and South Korea to build their viewer base in these countries.
Here is a video by Marketing91 on Glocalization.
Advantages of Glocalization
- Expansion in foreign markets: The first benefit of adopting glocalization is that it is beneficial in expanding business in international markets.
- Increased sales: The apparent advantage of glocalization is increased sales. You can increase the sales of your products by glocalize your product as per the needs of the local market.
- Worldwide brand recognition: Glocalization helps you enter local or regional markets and become successful. This will not only increase your sales but will also increase the popularity of your brand all around the world.
- Helps in connecting with customers: Glocalization is a great way to connect with local customers. By glocaling your product, you give importance to the local preference of people, and rather than asking them to modify to be able to use your products; you change your products to make them your customers. Therefore, glocalization is a practical marketing approach to connect with customers all around the world.
- Employment opportunities for local people: Companies that use glocalization to enter foreign markets hire local people to sell their products and run their businesses in the local market. In this way, they create job opportunities for local people.
- Chances of failure: Companies spend a lot to glocalise their products to get accepted in local markets. However, the risk of not getting recognized by local consumers is always there. There are many examples of brands that failed miserably when trying to adopt glocalization.
- Difficult to implement: Another disadvantage of glocalization is that it is challenging to achieve. Companies need to hire local people who can provide knowledge about the local culture and preferences of people. If something goes wrong, then the whole effort of glocalization becomes a waste.
- Impacts local businesses: Glocalization impacts the activities of local people in the industry. Local consumers buy locally produced products, but when international companies enter the market with global products modified as per the preferences of local consumers, the market share of local players gets shared.
At last, the local businesses end up shutting down their businesses because they couldn’t compete with international companies.
What Is the Difference Between Globalization and Glocalization?
Practices such as globalization and glocalization have made it possible for products or services to be accessible in different parts of the world. Although these two concepts are closely related, there is a crucial distinction between them: Globalization comprises a global strategy for the item or service to suit worldwide customers’ needs regardless of their local cultures and traditions.
Glocalization, in comparison to global distribution, is a much more comprehensive approach. This strategy involves designing and customizing products or services for particular local target markets while maintaining an international presence to meet local criteria, local laws, local tastes, local contexts, etc for global companies. To do this effectively we must develop content that resonates with the local language; modify our offerings according to cultural trends; and offer localized customer support. By employing glocalization techniques, companies can successfully break into new markets worldwide!
By embracing glocalization, companies can find the sweet spot between global competitiveness and local relevance to create an unbeatable offering that delights customers and delivers business success!
- By taking a local approach to marketing, Glocalization unlocks the door for businesses to engage with customers and devise an effective strategy tailored to their particular needs.
- Companies can be distinguished from their counterparts in the industry by applying a customized approach that is at once both global and localized.
- Glocalization is a powerful tool to bridge the gap between different cultures and ideologies, consequently leading to a unified customer base.
Liked this post? Check out the complete series on Marketing