Globalization is aimed at ensuring that the organization is able to work effectively with clients, no matter what country its consumers come from, taking into account the local cultural features. Thus, the concept of glocal marketing introduces new standards in accuracy of implementation of global marketing strategies. Glocal marketing concept recognizes the need for balance and harmony between standardization and adaptation, homogenization and individual approach, concentration and diffusion, synchronization and flexibility, integration and separation of marketing activities (Wilken and Sinclair, 2011; Sinclair and Wilken, 2009). Glocal marketing approach means that the global and local features are equally taken into account and optimize the marketing strategy.
History knows plenty examples of failed international marketing that faced the local features and lost. For example, the former chief executive of the cosmetics giant Revlon, Daniel Gestetner, recalls how the company suffered a fiasco trying to use for promotional purposes the image of Cindy Crawford in the Asian market, while Revlon’s rival L’Oreal won that market by choosing a wise path of inviting a Chinese star for the role of their “Asian face”ť (Jeannet and Hennessey, 2005).
Similarly, from the very beginning of its access to international markets after the World War II, Coca-Cola insisted that its products must be the same in all countries. By the late 20th century, the brand became an indispensable attribute of the perception of the American way of life almost all over the globe. But after the unsuccessful 1999, Chairman and CEO, Doug Daft acknowledged the need to change the course recognizing that business in 200 countries is a local business in the foundation. After that, instead of further progress towards the globalization of the main product, Coca-Cola began to develop local products, buying local brands or creating new ones, and now Coca-Cola is one of the most ardent supporters of the new ideology (Jeannet and Hennessey, 2005).
The global corporation McDonald’s also keeps abreast of trends in marketing, and recently it has surprised by the change of its course and frustrated the apologists of standardized and unified marketing. Thus, the main symbol of the corporation, Ronald McDonald, in France was replaced by his Gallic equivalent Asterix, given the commonly known disgrace of the French to the American mass culture (Wilken and Sinclair, 2011). The Indian McDonald’s has no beef or pork not to cause irritation of Hindus or Muslims. Big Mac there is replaced by its vegetarian variant, Maharaja-Mac.
In the light of the growing popularity of glocalization, the active use of this approach in the online content management is not surprising. The well-known web portal Yahoo.com shows strong commitment to the strategy of glocalization and successfully promotes itself as a “home page for the whole world.”ť When it began expanding outside the United States, Internet portal Yahoo deliberately hired teams of local staff to engage in the compilation of information on their national websites, although it would be much cheaper to standardize the content by fitting it to a single American standard. However, having selected glocalization strategy, the company Yahoo Inc. faced with the difficulty of balancing the global and local level. In case of the emphasis on global development and unification one can lose most of the Internet users who are eager to see local content. In case of taking over the approach of creating local sites, Yahoo can lose its competitive advantage – Global technology and recognizable navigated content management. The solution was found in the unification of the main categories at all sites and localization of sub-categories of the portal (Jeannet and Hennessey, 2005).
Moreover, despite the popularity of global brands, recent studies demonstrate that consumers are starting to prefer national brands more (Albaum and Duerr, 2011). In 2002, an Australian company Herron Pharmaceuticals managed to undertake an advertising campaign with the resounding success: their commercial said that the only difference between their Panadol and Panadol by the global company GlaxoSmithKline was that the first one was made in Australia. Analyzing the success of this and similar campaigns, the theorists of international marketing call this phenomenon in consumer behavior “corporate racism”ť (Usunier and Lee, 2009).
On a whole, it is possible to rank the elements of the marketing mix in terms of their global nature and universality. On a scale ranking them from “most global”ť (standard) to “most local”ť (varying), they can be arranged in the following way (though the degree of standardization of marketing elements beyond national boundaries may surely vary in any particular case): Brand name – Product – Packaging – Positioning – Advertising strategy – Price in comparison with prices of key competitors – Advertising campaign – Absolute price – Promotion Activities – Customer Service – Personal selling (basing on Usunier and Lee, 2009, Wilken and Sinclair, 2011; Albaum and Duerr, 2011).
Therefore, the company must be able to analyze and understand the new environment it operates in, and since it is going to not just sell its products, but be there, at this stage, it should be able to (Albaum and Duerr, 2011; Keegan and Green, 2008; Doole and Lowe, 2008; Rialp and Rialp, 2007):
1. Analyze and adapt to cultural differences. It is necessary to analyze such factors as history, language, customs, traditions, religion, education, and determine how much they affect company’s operations. It is also important to learn the business culture and practices of doing business including the local way of thinking, style of negotiation and communication, etc. The overall “sensitivity”ť within company’s own corporate culture should also be increased.
2. Understand and interpret economic conditions. At this level, the ability to understand the macro-and microeconomic factors in the local markets becomes important as never before.
3. Consider political factors and know legal framework. A company should not only be aware of the political environment and legal issues, but also understand the situation from the inside, in order to decide how and when new assets could be sold and bought, and brands could be managed in different countries.
As a result, the main goal of global brand marketing is the development of skills in “reading”ť the external environment for the successful entering unfamiliar, alien markets.
The economic logic is pushing large trade groups to create powerful international brands. Some perceive the concepts of global and local as two opposite poles. Indeed, every market can be viewed as both exactly the same and very different. However, when the company is practicing international marketing, it really goes beyond the usual export of one’s brands. It is no longer simply a representation of the product to the “foreign market”ť, but its introduction in other markets and in other countries. The main goal becomes the adaptation of one’s own local marketing strategies to the broader objectives. To do this, companies need to determine how to adjust the whole marketing strategy (including product sales, advertising and distribution techniques) to adapt to the new market demands.