Glocal Advertising: Global Campaign, Local Implementation

Category: Marketing Translation

While glocal might be the least melodious portmanteau word in marketing, it’s best practice when it comes to global advertising. A global campaign ensures consistency, which is a brand’s most valuable quality, and local implementation helps you avoid cultural pitfalls and unintended offenses. In our post on transcreation, we covered the details of effectively adapting global campaigns for local markets. Now we’re zooming out to look at the big-picture elements: the three core elements of the best glocal campaigns.

Global Appeal

Successful global campaigns revolve around universal emotions. These campaigns focus on common human motivations found across cultures — love, happiness, health, safety, education, the desire to succeed, etc. Campaigns like Coca-Cola’s Happiness and Nike’s Find Your Greatness speak to core elements of the human experience. It’s hard to get more universal than Nike’s Olympic spot featuring ordinary athletes from around the world engaged in everyday athletic activity.

One Vision

A unified brand vision is essential for any global campaign. But this brand vision must respect local nuances and speak to consumers in each locale. Every region should follow the same guidelines for logo size and placement, approved colors and fonts and other identity elements, but looser guidelines for more intangible elements like language and voice allow a brand to speak authentically in local markets. Airbnb, which aims to connect likeminded people around the world for short-term apartment rentals, does this well on their websites, where they keep the visuals and design consistent and adapt the copy to fit the local language. What in English is “at your fingertips” becomes “on your cellphone” in German but uses “handy,” the less formal German term for cellphone, reflecting the brand’s informal personality within the nuances of the local language.

Structured Collaboration

Organizational structure, while not visible to consumers, is also crucial to a successful global campaign. From corporate culture to technology and shared platforms, organizational structure must facilitate and encourage effective collaboration between the developers of global strategy and the local strategists who will implement it. An open culture that recognizes collaboration as a two-way street can go a long way toward defusing the tension between global marketing expecting to be obeyed and local strategists resenting being told what to do.

Crafting a global marketing campaign that speaks locally to your users can help ensure your campaign’s success as well as your visibility against your competition. Intelligent placement of consistent brand elements helps to build a strong foundation across all markets, and personal touches show sensitivity to local cultural preferences.