Building A Purpose-Driven Glocal Marketing Strategy

Navigating the evolving definition of ‘glocal’, experts reveal some quick tips to master effective communication

Earning the local trust has become a prerequisite for any global brand venturing out and expanding its business, especially in a time when each of them wants to cut the chaos and make its unique identity.

While the traditional definition of a global brand still applies, it has certainly evolved in the past decades. We often witness brands indulge in customized advertising and branding strategies to meet the cultural and consumer expectations of local markets.

This adaption to local demands by embracing a 'glocal' outlook has helped brands boost the strength of their global business. It is nothing but an exciting and sophisticated combination of global and local influence fueled by modern, strategic location technology international marketing.

Mapping The Current Trend

Sophia Sinha, Head of Marketing, Moet Hennessy India maintains that the reason to go “glocal” is within the brand’s DNA and its identity. This DNA describes what the brand should do next – it is literally the foundation of a brand. So, before deciding to go “glocal” or not, it is crucial to first understand what that means for the past, present and future of your brand. It has to be part of the story.

To this effect, brands are shifting their focus to a more purpose-led approach in order to earn local trust and affinity. "This goes beyond just words and today you see brands representing this via action. This raison d’ être is what is driving the biggest movement in earning trust and affinity – beyond the product,” believes Sinha.

Shuchi Sethi, Business Head - AnyTag also agrees on the rising trend of purpose-led brands in the global market. She observes that mature and aware brands aren't really using influencers or their own social reach. "They are instead showing a vision, a purpose. Dove & Nike are a case in point. These brands really understand their consumers and TG. They believe in what they say and it also shows in their product quality too,” she explains.

The Contemporary Communication Playbook

It is critical for any brand to build local trust by developing communication that is based on ideas that resonate with the target population. The biggest change one can see is by brands towards making a difference, being inclusive and promoting sustainability in various forms. This is also because it is the genuine need of the hour and consumers know this as well.

A recent report by Global Euromonitor, 53% people feel that they can make a difference with their purchase. These are also the same people who will spend more to support a brand they believe is helping them make that difference. Empathy, leading from truth and genuinely believing in what you support or stand for makes one a notable brand.

Naila Patel, Executive Creative Director, Mirum India suggests that before deciding on the content formats, there should be a content playbook that should come from the global teams and the local teams have to choose formats that will create an impact locally for that particular business or service. “Winning strategies are those where agility and autonomy are valued equally. The global teams can carve out the goals, but the local teams should plan how to reach them. SlideShare, LinkedIn and YouTube are part of most platform strategies that are glocal. But the rest of the platforms should be decided on data-led insights about local consumption,” she adds.

Sameer Makani, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Makani Creatives also mentions that while engaging with an audience, it's critical to understand what makes them pay attention. “Every local market has its own culture, social fabric, trends and sensibilities. Catching that pulse rightly is what can make or break a brand. Most brands are creating local marketing teams including those who will be the decision-makers to ensure the local connect to their strategies. Research and analysis is extremely crucial to choose the right medium and approach,” he points.

Hence, brands need to find the right synergy between their brand ethos and the local essence to ensure a successful campaign.

Realme Smartphones, in this case, has mastered the Indian market dynamics and has successfully driven smartphone sales through aggressive pricing and campaigns that resonate with the target audience. The brand value of Salman Khan and Shraddha Kapoor has been a major driving element in the brand's image among the target demographic. Realme's More Pixels campaign has helped customers comprehend the true significance of pixels in smartphones.

Dawinder Pal, ‎Head of Marketing, Bikano advises that while developing glocal campaigns, use of relevant lingos and images engages the consumer better. Also, consistency is another important factor that takes the brand to the next level, the brand needs to maintain consistency in the visuals - color patterns, logos, and fonts. Striking a balance between the integrated brand identity with respect and consideration for the local market is the way out for a brand to successfully enter new markets, attract followers, and establish a global presence, and eventually develop a cult following for the brand.

McDonald’s, for example, has successfully cemented itself in the Indian market, through its innovative strategies. It has been the champion to understand consumerism and adapt to the conditions.

Patel also puts forward some quick tips for marketers aiming to go glocal and bridge the gap between glocal and global:

1.         Not every piece of content you create globally needs to be distributed in every local market of your presence. Don’t dumb down for insane distribution. Figure out if its relevant in that market and add cultural nuances and relevance

2.         Time is of great essence, if your TG is going to discover your global content before you have time to make it local, go with Global.

3.         Empower people closest to particular markets to curate or create content out of the global repositories’  

4.         Clearly outline guidelines that are non-negotiable and those that can be fluid to ensure that when local nuances are added, the strong global brand does not lose its essence  

5.         Use data and insights to make informed decisions and great choices when it comes to content optimization across geographies  

To summarize, it becomes of utmost importance for marketers to study consumer behavior, given each country is conditioned in a very different way and hence will have a different strategy. The only way to bridge the gap is to create an aspirational value for a new country, take learnings from success stories and touch people's hearts as to why the brand esthetics actually go well with a new country audience.

Also, today’s consumer expects more, especially from a global brand. And, while they expect a certain level of consistency from a brand, they want to hear your story in a way that hits home.

It’s a delicate balance, but with the right global guidance and local considerations, brands can connect the two worlds and position head and shoulders above the competition.