Going Glocal: Mastering the Art of Global-Local Marketing

A brand is not just a logo. A brand is a culmination of the visual and emotional experiences an individual has with a specific company. Today, the interactions consumers have with brands are highly personal and immediate, thanks to smartphones, tablets and social media.

Global brands strive to create a unified brand experience, creating a consistent interaction that builds brand equity through the quality of the relationship. But global brands face the variables of local experience and local interpretation. Certainly, many factors are at play. These include language, cultural interpretation, consumption patterns, competition and market influences, legal and regulatory environments, local media preferences, socioeconomic factors and more.

The first step to transforming a global brand into a "glocal" brand is to define a clear strategy that embraces the best possible media and message. Here's how:

Fight the Funnel

Often corporate branding and marketing reach an impasse with local field marketers. The two groups clash with one another rather than respect each other's strength. Corporate branding and marketing can offer local marketers considerable brand assets and equity, while local marketers offer unrivaled knowledge of local markets and their responsiveness to different offers.

This coordination requires translation to make the language of one group understand the language of the other. For the 'glocal' engine to run smoothly, it requires clear roles, processes, analyses and strategies.

Make it Clear

The variables involved are different for each brand, country and market. An integrated communications plan, one that spans global and local interests, should highlight the priorities and tactics for each. The plan should demonstrate the following:

Strong brand vision and passion. Brands are built on forging an emotional bond between the consumer and the brand through experience. This entails both an understanding of local marketers' needs and the overall global brand.

Firm brand values. These values determine and drive the overall brand strategy.

Defined roles and responsibilities. A stated definition of the way in which the organization will operate and who will make decisions ensures consistency.

Clear feedback and understanding of success and failure. The ability to learn from past activities and to utilize this knowledge in future actions reinforces success. It also gives all of those involved the opportunity to improve on areas in which they are less than satisfied with the results.

Stay Social

A global approach to social media should be reinforced by a local social media presence directed by marketers who are in touch with the characteristics of their local markets. The local presence entails local market understanding, timing and ties with its culture.

Go Mobile

Mobility is the new kid on the block, and has opened the door for location-based services and applications that capture the attention of the mobile, local customer. The ability for locally targeted offers can provide a specific value-add that reinforces the global brand experience. After all, "glocal" is all about acting locally while thinking globally.

About the Author: Ian Truscott is an experienced and passionate advocate of customer engagement, web experience, content management, digital marketing and social media -- having spent over a decade working in the web content management software industry. Formerly an analyst with the Gilbane Group, Ian is now VP Products for SDL Tridion and serves as a Director for the Content Management Professionals Association. Ian's experience has come from doing almost every job a techie can do in the software business - having been a CTO, a product marketer, product developer, pre-sales and consultant - from starting his career (surely as a child) changing tapes on a mainframe as a computer operator.