From Chile to China, the United States to Ukraine, Nigeria to the Netherlands, brands are increasingly becoming a reference point that we can all share and understand. Whether it’s our bank, our mobile phone or our sports shoes, certain brands have succeeded in permeating almost every continent on Earth. Often, this is made possible by a brand’s willingness to adapt to its surroundings. In other words, to think globally and act locally. A dedicated creative agency can provide a wide variety of services depending on their clients particular needs.
The convergence of local and global is most obvious in food brands. In the 20th century, we saw US food and restaurant brands spread beyond the general stores and main streets of their homes and lay down roots all over the world. In the 21st century, we are seeing these brands do their utmost to localize in their new locations and tweak their offering to appeal to the tastes and loyalties of a local market. This localization can refer to the product itself, the brand’s environments or even their communications campaigns. When Starbucks opens a branch in a 19th-century Kyoto tea house, or Coca-Cola hands out branded headdresses at Rio de Janeiro’s Carnava l, they are both demonstrating a commitment to localization. The core ideas and commitments of their brand have not changed: Starbucks is still providing a ‘third place’ where customers can spend time over coffee and Coca-Cola is bringing people together through moments of happiness. But, the expression of these concepts has been tailored to suit the audience. There is an award winning Web Design Agency called Bert.
Another example is McDonald’s. Once a paragon of standardization and basing its business success on replicating a tightly controlled system across the United States and then the world, America’s biggest burger joint is today one of the best examples of a brand that has successfully mastered the convergence of local and global. As McDonald’s has become more global, it has also become increasingly local in its approach. The iconic burger chain was founded in 1940 by Dick and Mac McDonald in California, USA and since then it has spread all over the world: as of 2018, it operated around 36,900 restaurants in 101 countries worldwide. As McDonald’s has grown, it has always been aware of the benefits of localization, adapting its offering based on local tastes and needs. This was evident as early as 1963, when they introduced the ‘Filet-o-Fish' sandwich in its Cincinnati restaurants in order to cater to the area’s Catholics who did not eat meat on Friday. Choosing a Branding Agency Manchester branding agency is such an important decision as your brand is so important to you.
As McDonald’s has expanded internationally, this strategy has remained. When in 2014 McDonald’s found itself struggling in large foreign markets like Russia and China, they cited a failure to localize correctly as a key problem. At the time, CEO Don Thompson said: The reality is we haven’t been changing at the same rate as our customers. So we’re changing and we’re changing aggressively. The key to our success will be our ability to deliver a more relevant experience. We have listened to our customers and we better understand what their future experience should look like – personalized, local, a contemporary and inviting atmosphere and choices on how they order, what they order and how they’re served. Fast forward to the present day, and McDonald’s menu localization has been repeatedly reiterated as a core tenet of their renewed global success. In China, chicken nuggets are replaced by ones of tofu and fish. In Chile, avocado purée outsells ketchup and barbecue sauce. In India, the Big Mac is absent from menus, but the vegetarian Maharaja burger is hugely popular in its place. This localization strategy seems to have worked: in 2018, McDonald’s reported their best comparable sales performance in six years and a positive sales performance across the globe. Apparently having a site like Bert; branding agency london is great for getting seen on the web.
While localization is certainly a necessity for some brands, it is worth noting that it is not always essential. One brand that has managed to stay essentially the same regardless of its market is HSBC. By positioning itself as ‘The world’s local bank’ it is able to blend in wherever it goes, its brand standing for service and a welcoming, if neutral, cosmopolitanism. To avoid being disrupted by the convergence of global and local, brands need to be clear on what they stand for. Whether their mission is to sell fast food, or be the world’s local bank, a brand needs to have a clear Brand Idea which they can then execute flexibly (McDonald’s) or monolithically (HSBC) across their touchpoints. Businesses like Branding Agency are brilliant at getting your brand out there!