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What comes after globalisation? Let’s be honest, we are already living globally. Ever since the advent of historical long-distance trade, merchants have sold goods worldwide. After the industrial revolution, and at the latest after the last economic boom, our economies are now global. Exports in world trade have increased since 1950 from 58 billion to over 18 trillion US Dollars; major trade routes have long been established, and logistics companies have established close-knit networks spanning the globe. “Made in Germany” is still a seal of approval, but “Made in China” is no longer synonymous with cheap production or poor quality. Increasing political, cultural and social interdependence, along with the removal of tariff barriers, has continually contributed to a further coming-together of nations and the opening of markets.
One of the biggest drivers of this wave of globalization is the rapid progress of digitalisation and with it “Internetization”. This has heralded a huge shift in our perception of globality. We have never been more global than today. We have never been less restricted, independent, and (potentially) informed. Health, freedom and success are the values most frequently mentioned in the index of fundamental values of (German) Society in 2014. We eat a healthy diet, have almost unrestricted travel, and are hardly even restricted to one place; we are making the world our home. Born in Europe, studied in America, a job in Asia and holidays with friends in Australia, all this is now almost normal; and, thanks to static internet access and increasing availability of mobile internet, we can stay connected globally, with our families, friends, followers, and the world, via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or directly, live and in real time via messenger or video chat. With crowd-funding, projects can be internationally planned, successfully financed, and carried out. Anyone can be an author, musician or video artist and sell their works worldwide via the internet or “share” with others.
At the same time, market and social researchers have recognized the trend toward locality: for example, the growing number of consumers who are willing to pay more for locally produced goods or are concerned with sustainability in order to protect their region. In the boundless freedom we look for limits, long for roots and to put down roots, for stability in rapidity, familiarity in the unknown; for example, in products and brands that we know. which give us security and provide stability, which stand for quality, and which we associate with positive emotions or memories. It is a huge opportunity for companies to make their brands the enduring companions of their target groups worldwide.
Successful global brand management is, in particular, the process of analyzing the characteristics of various markets. This is not just to hold their ground with brand connoisseurs, but also to attract and inspire potential new customers. Global networking and the resulting flow of information cause cultures to begin to meld. But, whilst markets (must) open, it is still imperative to take the cultural and social characteristics of the different regions into consideration.
Although this is not an entirely new idea, it is difficult for many companies as they struggle to decide which of the company’s original values to retain globally and where regional values should be integrated. Whoever loses touch with the people and their needs, miss-plans and creates unprofitable niche products, and the best global product can only win if it convinces locally.
This is one of the reasons why today we no longer develop advertising campaigns per se, but rather the best possible “glocal” communication solutions, for and with our clients. It is communication which conveys and imparts the essential core message and the spirit of a brand globally but can simultaneously integrate at the local level the particularities of regional markets.
For this, in our view, three things are particularly relevant for modern agencies. Firstly, creative potential and sensitivity, to gain people’s attention with fascinating stories to attract them to our brands, and to charge brands emotionally. Secondly, a deep understanding of the media with rapidly developing and changing channels, in order to reach people with the right media at the right places and at the right times. And thirdly, the mastery of new technologies to develop useful and relevant communication solutions for ever changing opportunities and, of course, to deal properly with the mass of digital data generated daily. Herein lies a major challenge for companies, and us as their marketing agencies. We need not only keep pace with technological developments, but wherever possible, to be one step ahead, ready to anticipate innovations and trends.
Only the correct and precise interplay of these three components; creativity/creation, media, and technology, can we create innovative communication solutions which succeed beyond the effect of a traditional single advertising campaign. These solutions are tailored to attract and involve people, to create a continuous, individualized communication chain from the first media contact through to purchase and ideally future purchases.
Think globally, act locally: to combine global thinking with local implementation; that is our promise. Since 2006, we, at what has now become the largest owner-managed agency group in Europe, have worked on our vision to become the first global partner-managed agency group of German origin. We aim to look after our clients not only worldwide, but also, as necessary, to stand by their side, seamlessly across national boundaries, as they go global. The number of our employees has more than doubled in that time, and our corporate culture today is characterized by its international flair. We are represented today in more than 30 cities all over the world, wherever possible with our “House of Communication” concept, which covers the above mentioned three pillars; Creation, Media and Technology. And, incidentally, in every location, we have two managers: one who has the global market in mind and one who is a local expert.
So what follows Globalization is Glocalization – and it has already begun.