Business Strategy: Going local to go global

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Glocal is not a new term. It is the blend of global and local and was primarily created to support the brand strategy of large multinational brands to enter and appeal to different markets. Successful global brands have evolved to meet local demands by embracing this glocal outlook in their product and communication plans.

There are some clear examples of this. In Beijing, you can order a Peking duck burger from KFC. Ikea, in India, has understood that most children sleep in their parent’s bed up until their teenage years, and has created an extendable bed for that market.

In terms of marketing, we witness glocalisation in integrated marketing communication on a daily basis as large brands such as Samsung and Netflix have penetrated GCC culture through their communications.

In this blog, however, our aim is to discuss the concept of glocalisation for local brands that have gone international. To turn the term on its head and explore strategic initiatives that brands can undertake to retain the essence of existence, for example. It is vital for local communities to see that their brands continue to exemplify the unique cultural values of its people, while conquering the global market.

What does glocal mean for GCC brands

GCC brands that embrace globalisation as part of their brand and marketing strategy need to create internationally recognisable imagery, personality, and voice that personify the brand. It needs to become recognisable on an international scale. However, in today’s marketing strategy to be a successful brand there are local elements that cannot be ignored.

Embracing glocal from a local perspective means that you have a global mindset and reach that is based in local knowledge and understanding. If executed well, this perspective ensures that your brand’s essence is preserved, while making it relatable and understandable to global markets.

Meziesblog understands this. Our brand mission states that we are built for glocal exchange. We work with our clients to bridge the gap and mould globally inspiring campaigns that retain the essence of our cultural sensibilities.

Here are Meziesblog’s tips on how we can help position your brand for glocal success.

Building a successful global brand strategy with local sensibilities

The best way for marketers to start brand building is firstly to understand the concept that local is relatable, and thus builds the foundation for brand love that will drive it to international success. Global, on the other hand, is aspirational.

Where local brands with a globalisation strategy have the advantage is that they started in a community, and to maintain that essence of community is imperative in conquering or delivering to a global market. The success of this lies in ensuring that the data of your customers continues to be used to create individualisation and personalisation. The universal appeal of many GCC brands are the things that make them local.

Consider Jumeirah Group or Emirates as examples of great GCC consumer brands that have retained the essence of Arab hospitality to conquer the global markets. Asyad is another great example of an Omani brand that has positioned the Sultanate as a global logistics hub by bringing the centuries-old seafaring traditions of the local market to a global scale.

How can other GCC brands take their marketing strategies further to achieve similar, impactful results? Let’s dive in!

Think local, act global as a brand and marketing strategist

It is essential to understand the reasons behind the success of your brand from a local perspective. Why do customers choose your service or product, and then compare these sensitivities to new markets as you expand. Can you extract and quantify the appeal, or retarget the messaging in such a way that retains the brand essence?

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Doing this successfully will require the brand to establish rules and processes that unite and apply to everyone. Working with an integrated marketing agency like Meziesblog ensures that your teams have a united vision and mission to strive towards global appeal, while the integrity of your brand remains intact. Meziesblog can help your brand achieve this with:

  1. Brand guidelines. This is a document that outlines your brand’s rules of engagement and explains how your brand works. It needs to be accessed by every member of the organisation and will bind your employees to a set of standards that ensures your brand retains its essence. Your brand book can be simple and include your logo, colour guides and tone of voice. It can also be a more comprehensive document covering every aspect of your brand, from mission statements and image requirements to social media personality.
  2. Globalisation strategy. Essentially, this is about thinking big, but acting small. One grand strategy or vision will align a team of any size to ensure they are working towards the same goal, and more importantly that a clear path has been set for them to achieve this goal. Strategy is a major contributor to successfully expanding a local brand beyond its borders.
  3. Glocal process. A top-down process that is based in the local sensibilities of your brand and connects and aligns the workflows and expectations of your core workforce. As your workforce grows, they will need to feel united, and an easy flow and simple but impactful process goes a long way to achieving this.

Digitalise to meet your brand and marketing goals

Technology enables brands to unlock information about their current customers and create messaging for their future audiences. It is key in establishing the connectivity between brands and people. Integrating with a variety of digital tools including social media, email marketing and tools such as Salesforce will enable your business to generate rich data. This will help your marketing teams anywhere, for example, deliver the right content to the right global audience at the right time. Long story short, it can take you glocal.

Having said that, it’s important for brands to understand that technology is just a tool, and while extremely powerful, it can only take you so far. Brands need the human resources to inform digitalisation decisions, build relationships and think creatively.

Digitalisation has led to the rise in customer expectations, especially when brands are expanding globally. Experiences need to be near-perfect, and real-time communication has become the norm. Customer expectations include standardised quality, and more personalisation. While they expect a certain level of consistency from your brand, they also need you to tell your story in a way that hits home.

If your brand has positive associations with local traditions, consumers in new markets will feel the sensitivities that come with authenticity and tradition, which can lay a strong foundation for brand growth. This is a delicate balance, but with the right integrated marketing strategy and guidance, your brand can connect on a glocal level and position itself favorably ahead of the competition.

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