Shoot for the Stars: Think Global, Act Local 

How to go global? What is the secret of successful global companies’ strategy? “Think global, act local” approach is the solution. Keep reading!

Call it an instinct or the need to feel safe, whenever people go abroad, the first thing they unconsciously do is to look for a global brand that they already know and love. The sore sight of such a store or a food chain makes these people feel comfortable because when it comes to worst, they know where to turn. On the other hand, especially if you are travelling from the United States to Europe you may not see some of your favourites or there could be a ton of flavours you’ve never even heard of.

Regardless, you would know that it will have a standard. That is the result of a new attitude in the business world, the result of “think globally, act locally” philosophy. Big brands know that they have to speak to people on a local level while maintaining global thinking within the corporate level. Be prepared to put a lot of efforts to find trustworthy local agents who will help you with execution of your strategy. Corporate documents translation can be a routine, but it is better to have it done to establish corporate structure first. Any brand, company or individual that aims globalization should embrace this philosophy.


The Definition of “Think Global, Act Local”

However, what does “think global, act local” mean exactly? Although it has several different applications in different areas, in business it is to appreciate the difference between cultures and give each one the equal amount of importance while sticking to one global code of conduct all over the world. Companies that embrace think global, act local philosophy usually have global standards for products, procedures or services but they have different applications and implications on the local level. This philosophy encourages embracers to act solution-oriented. If one wants to follow this philosophy they need to foresee how certain actions global impacts may have.

If you were to look at this on a more general perspective, it includes environmental policies of a company. The steps a company takes for environmental concerns are global impacts, but the starting points are local. For example, reducing the carbon footprints is a global concern, but the steps taken are implemented locally.

Panasonic’s initiative to move their North America headquarters to a prime location from a suburban area is a local step resulting in reduced carbon footprints which is a global concern. Johnson & Johnson provides another “think globally, act locally” example. To achieve their global aim to reduce carbon emissions 20% by 2020, in their Sweden site they use electricity or fuel that doesn’t contribute carbon emissions to the atmosphere in no way.


Obstacles on the way

Regardless, let’s look back to the implications of think globally, act locally in terms of conducting business. Many international companies comprehend the fact that in a foreign market, most of their assumptions regarding the success of their current marketing strategies are not applicable. There are language barriers as well as cultural differences.

To overcome such obstacles thorough market research should be conducted free from assumptions. Indeed, it may not be easy to reach conclusions while in another country. In this sense, you may need “think globally act locally” philosophy even more. Having local business associates who can execute global procedures or research by rearranging them with a local touch would increase the likelihood of your company’s success. Such local associates may help you reposition your product range in accordance with local desires and tendencies. Besides that do not underestimate the importance of language, lcoalization which will include language and cultural specifics can be one of the things you might want to consider.


An Example

McDonald’s is one of the leading success stories. It is a great “think global, act local” example. McDonald’s is a food-chain that standardized the whole food-preparing process. When it was first merchandised within the States, it managed to ensure one standard quality. Even the order of products in a burger was the same. As the product range diversified and the chain got bigger, the desire to internationalization occurred, too. When expanding through Europe, Middle East and Asia, some hits in States were misses in Asian markets. The processes, burgers, quality and products were the same, so what was the problem? Well, the problem was identity. South Asian cuisine was different than that of States or Europe; so, they had to create flavors that can speak to locals. Afterwards, they included some local spices and excluded some global ones. This boasted their sales and demonstrated the importance of localization.

It’s still a disputable question who first said think globally act locally; yet, the impact of the saying is indisputable. Although it started as an environmental movement call, it affected business on a larger-scale. Companies who’ve embraced this philosophy grew bigger and start-ups were built stronger. If you or your company wishes to have your name known globally, you have to impress those who will carry you to top locally.

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