5 brilliant examples of successful glocalization strategies

By Acclaro
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5 brilliant examples of successful glocalization strategies

International expansion remains one of the most popular ways to grow a business. However, in order to succeed, you must first gain an in-depth understanding of the target market’s wants and needs. You’ll have to ask questions such as: would a standardized product or service be a good fit? Or would it need to be localized to appeal to local buyers? Fortunately, there’s a third option that combines the benefits of global standardization and localization

Many successful global companies use a strategy known as glocalization to launch standardized products—without forgoing local preferences. Even brands that are known and loved for their “personality” make modifications to appeal to local consumers. Apple, for example, adjusted its iconic “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC campaign” for Japanese audiences, because the tone was considered too confrontational. Instead of framing Mac and PC as two people in opposition, the Japanese version presented the PC as a computer for work, and Apple as a better choice for fun weekend activities. Yet like every business strategy, glocalization offers multiple ways to adapt your brand to new markets.   

Glocalization: synergizing global strategies with localization

So, what is glocalization exactly? Like it sounds, the term is a portmanteau of “globalization” and “localization.” It represents the interplay between global standardization on the one hand, and localization on the other. More simply put, glocalization is a process that combines global standardization strategies with localization strategies that connect with local cultures to better appeal to buyers in that region.

Brands that choose this strategy typically offer products or services that can largely be standardized but may still require modifications for a specific market. To give you a better idea of what that looks like, let’s consider five examples of glocalization.  

5 companies that found the right balance between global and local

The following international brands have all successfully leveraged glocalization strategies to expand their international reach, establishing awareness and presence in locales around the world. First, we’ll take a look at two famous B2C consumer brands, then explore how three influential B2B brands adapted their products and services. 

As you will see, B2C and B2B brands often use similar tactics, despite the difference in target buyers. 

Whirlpool: Adjusting key products to accommodate different cultures  

Whirlpool, an American multinational manufacturer and marketer of home appliances, is well-known for selling washers and dryers worldwide. Yet the brand’s standard washing machines posed a problem for consumers in India. Why? Because in many regions, women wear saris, which are made from unstitched stretches of fabric. At upwards of five feet long, saris are more likely to get entangled in the wash than other garments. To prevent this from happening, Whirlpool designed washing machines with agitators specifically for the Indian market.  

The company has also adjusted other products to match the aesthetic preferences of East Asian markets. For example, it adds floral designs to washers that are marketed to cultures where the machines are considered a status symbol to be displayed. This signals to buyers that Whirlpool appliances can serve as home décor, rather than simply a utilitarian object to hide in a laundry closet.   

Coca-Cola: An American brand seeing major success in China

The Coca-Cola Company is one of the world’s most popular beverage corporations—and with good reason. It has mastered the ability to adapt both its products and branding to appeal to consumers in every market. And the company’s success in China is a prime example of glocalization.  

 Once considered a symbol of Western commercialism, Coca-Cola had a difficult time breaking into the Chinese market. A negative association, combined with local preferences for juices and teas, put the company at a competitive disadvantage. But thanks to the right glocalization strategy, the soft drink producer has been able to build a Chinese customer base and grow its market share. Here’s how:

 To promote its signature beverages, Coca-Cola began integrating Chinese culture—including values, folklore and aesthetics into messaging and product offerings. For example, in 2017, Coca-Cola launched a Chinese New Year ad campaign, which made clever use of the distinctly Chinese holiday. Like other successful campaigns, it drew inspiration from Chinese folk art, the importance of family, and handing down traditions through generations.   

Prowly PR: A Polish software platform breaks into the U.S. market

Prowly PR is a Poland-based software company that provides all-in-one workflow and automation solutions for public relations (PR) professionals. The software platform, which launched in 2013, was initially built with Polish buyers in mind. When Prowly tried to enter the U.S. market four years later, the company struggled to build a customer base. Why? Because the two PR platforms that dominated the market included a media database—a feature Prowly lacked.  

In Poland, PR professionals rely on their own contacts and don’t buy media lists from third-parties. In contrast, the most popular U.S. platforms highlighted media databases as a selling point. To compete, Prowly added its own database to the U.S. version and developed SEO and paid search strategies around keywords such as media database and media contacts. This glocalization strategy was so successful that Semrush acquired the company in 2022.

Garaventa Lift: Promoting the benefits of accessibility with glocal marketing

Garaventa Lift is a Canadian manufacturer that designs, sells, and installs compact elevators and wheel chair lifts. It should come as no surprise that the company’s mission is to guarantee accessibility and mobility to everyone. Today, the company has a strong presence in the Americas, Europe, and Oceania. But marketing accessibility worldwide is no easy task.  

When it came to building a global brand, Garaventa faced two major challenges: differing local accessibility laws and cultural perspectives on physical disabilities. To stay true to its mission, the company took a glocalization approach to messaging. Garaventa does this by starting with the story the brand wants to tell and then decides how to connect these brand elements to each local audience. 

Baker Hughes: Using local partnership models to simplify logistics

Baker Hughes is an American energy technology company that provides solutions to energy and industrial customers in over 120 countries. Its primary business vertical is oilfield services and equipment—and international logistics play a crucial role in the delivery. It also poses several challenges, including differences in local laws, infrastructure, and time zones.     

To ensure customers receive products when and where they need them, Baker Hughes relies on a variety of local partnerships to simplify and accelerate logistics. This model supports alternative logistics that leverage the capabilities of the end user, and allows customers to use their own methods to ship and distribute products. By building flexibility into the international supply chain, the company helps local customers save time and money.

Developing your own glocalization strategy

As these global brands have shown, offering a standardized product or service with a local touch is a great way to reach new customers. And in some markets, a glocalization strategy isn’t just a nice to have—but a necessity. Think Baker Hughes and the complexity of providing oil services across borders.

 To get it right, you need to know which aspects of your brand are universal and which ones need to be modified for specific markets. If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. Acclaro can work with you to develop a successful global strategy that integrates localization into every launch. By leveraging our industry knowledge and local cultural expertise, we can help you adapt your product and brand message for any audience.           

Want to learn more about how Acclaro can help you grow your brand’s international reach? Get started today.

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