How to think ‘glocal’ and why it is important to you

Digital marketers around the globe are increasingly thinking about “glocal” considerations, according to the American Marketing Association (AMA). Obviously, the terminology is a hybrid of local and global which is entirely the point. It encapsulates an organisational approach that gives a clear overall global strategic direction, coupled with the possibility of adapting to local needs and opportunities. 

The AMA also advises that the successful uptake of a glocal approach necessitates four different but complementary approaches. These are creating a shared vision, widening perspectives, recruiting capable managers and enabling smooth internal co-operation. And the real key to a successful glocal approach lies in achieving joint values between a company and its employees.

All this sounds great in theory but, like most things in life, it’s rather harder to implement in practice. A leading UK digital marketing agency, Greenlight Digital, points out that implementing an international digital marketing strategy involves developing a deep understanding of local markets, the real complexities of language requirements and demographics.

This is again easier said than done. It’s important to remember that truly “glocalising” is a bigger issue than McDonald’s avoiding the sale of beef products in India. Achieving effective global and local marketing strategies simultaneously necessitates the right support of local marketing teams in the field, along with the requisite information and technology as explained by global business leaders. This, we’re told, is down to the fact that consumers want both local and global brands, and sometimes even simultaneously. People seek out brands which make them feel both rooted in their local or regional culture and which both represent and respect their tastes. But they also want brands which also enable them to be part of a much broader international community.

This presents a real challenge for digital marketing purposes, but is one which is certainly not insurmountable. It’s also one that the biggest companies and global brands are already working hard at getting right, according to Forbes. So, smaller enterprises will have to find a way of competing effectively in order to survive.

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There are various useful tools to help enable digital marketing professionals to hone their glocal strategies, including Google Insights, which is an effective consumer behaviour tool. This gives marketing professionals real insight into how consumers make their purchasing decisions via online and/or offline sources. Similarly, the Google trends tool is useful in helping to identify online search patterns along with user trends.

But ultimate success lies in alignment. A co-operative, corporate mind-set to achieve glocal digital marketing strategies necessitates full understanding of the corporate vision at all levels. There is no room for defensive local or territorial attitudes. Instead, effective education and communication of information help get local managers on board with a glocal strategy – and they’ll help get the digital marketing right because they know their audience. In some ways, it’s akin to saying this is really all about mutual trust.