Tips for Merging Global and Local Marketing Strategies

Global and local marketing strategies are often viewed as being in opposition to each other. It’s time to shift that mindset and see the bigger picture of how to merge the two for the benefit of your brand image.

Tips for Merging Global and Local Marketing Strategies
Katie Metz // Adriana Lacy Consulting

It may be tempting to think that your global and local marketing strategies should differ. However, it's possible to appeal both globally and locally while adhering to the same values and goals.

By staying informed and flexible in your local approach, understanding buyer personas in both markets, and respecting regional differences, you can overcome the limitations typically associated with these two markets.

First, global markets speak to consistency. The focus is on creating a brand that is recognizable and uniform to a large number of consumers. However, when we look to local markets, we notice several factors that must be addressed which often alter the message in the process. These are mainly the needs of your customers and how the challenges they face differ among local regions. This can make it difficult to address these needs on a large scale. Factor in language differences, adhering to local laws and regulations, and cultural distinctions, and suddenly the challenge to reach your audience is magnified. 

The impact of global marketing

Consider the impact of global marketing on its target audience. Studies show that consumers prefer global brands because it provides them a feeling of exclusivity, and a sense of belonging to an international community of like minded people.

There are several brands who have maintained a global presence while succeeding at the local level by maintaining their message but still respecting local traditions, cultural values and regional laws and regulations. 

Using a flexible approach to marketing

Royal Caribbean is one of those companies. Their Mother’s Day campaign involved sharing common expressions mothers used regarding their cruise. These were specific to several countries and then posted in accordance with the celebratory day for that culture. This global concept reached local markets, adapting a message to fit local customs.  

The term “glocal" approaches the issue by attempting to marry the needs of both audiences. Another example of this adaptational approach is seen by none other than fast-food giant, McDonald’s. Instead of sticking to their U.S. menu, they adapted to places like India, where vegetarian foods take center stage. By providing meatless options that combine traditional Indian meals with McDonald’s signature names, such as the McAloo Tikki, they were able to maintain their global image while appealing to local tastes. 

Buyer personas, globally and locally

Understanding who you are marketing to both on a global and local scale can help to bridge the gap that often prevents global brands from appealing to local consumers. Be sure you understand the demographics and values of the global market you are trying to reach. This can be achieved through research, surveys and creating customer profiles. 

When it comes to getting to know local markets, dig deep by partnering with local experts and influencers which can help you gain first-hand valuable insights that surveys and research might overlook. 

Don’t forget local laws and regulations

Consider teaming up with legal experts to avoid unwanted litigation. By understanding the laws and regulations globally and locally, and complying with them, brands can safeguard both their image and reputation. A good example is Airbnb’s growth in Berlin, Germany, which led to the eventual banning of short-term rentals in the region. 

The role of language and culture

Language can play a huge role in bridging the gap between global and local but it goes beyond just translating. While language translation is important, packaging and designs may need to be altered to appeal to a local audience. For example, Coca Cola, in an effort to capture the market in India, reduced its package size so it could sell the product at a lower price point. Or consider how they altered their distribution plan by using smaller trucks to navigate narrow roads in certain countries. 

Your current global messaging could be insulting or misunderstood due to cultural differences. In Germany, Clairol Hair Products tried to market their “Mist Stick” curling iron not knowing that mist was a slang term for manure. This can be avoided by educating your company and partnering with local industry experts or social media influencers. 

By staying informed, maintaining flexibility, and understanding your audience, your brand image can succeed at the global and local level. 

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