Globalization is no longer a modern phenomenon. With accelerating technological advancements in every sphere including communication, manufacturing and transport, even Globalization 2.0 is a somewhat dated concept. So what’s next?
Welcome to Globalization 3.0! Thomas L. Friedman in ‘The World Is Flat, 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century,’ maps out the essential opportunities and drawbacks of globalization. Without getting into a detailed discussion about Globalization 3.0, it’s enough to say that thanks to technological convergences, increased digitalization and a shift in the buyers’ demographics, businesses have begun to alter their globalization strategies as well.
Based on a survey conducted by Fortune magazine, globalization “is at the forefront of business planning and strategies” for the World’s Most Admired Companies (WMAC). In today’s competitive climate, businesses that do not have a globalization and localization strategy in place will not only lose out potential buyers in new territories, but will also suffer from decreased brand value.
To make a big splash in the global market, companies not only need to localize, but also “glocalize;” a term coined by sociologist Roland Robertson to indicate the integration of local language, customs and practices into world/ global products.
We selected 5 companies that have stellar localization strategies, making them global leaders in their area.
Airbnb’s businesses model disrupted the hospitality and tourism industry with homes and bedrooms in 34,000 cities and 190 countries. Airbnb’s strong localization strategy has made it possible for users to associate a sense of freedom, trust and security with the brand.
The Airbnb job openings page is a testament to their commitment towards providing users with a “local” experience:
Airbnb is a global marketplace, and our Localisation team is what makes the site truly accessible across the globe.
Airbnb currently displays user profiles in the local language, and has added a translate button that allows other users select their preferred language. The company also offers customer service in local languages, local payment options, and a universal sense of belonging and inclusiveness to their “community” of users.
Similar to McDonalds, Domino’s Pizza has an extremely flexible localization strategy, and they regularly update their menu and topping choices to incorporate local tastes and food preferences. For example, in India, “50% of the offerings at Domino’s stores are localized,” according to Patrick Doyle, President & CEO of the company.
By including options like paneer pizza, chicken tikka masala pizza and kheema do pyaza pizza on the menu, Dominos is all set to make India its largest market outside the US. In order to build and develop a loyal customer-base, companies need to take a page out of Domino’s book, understand the cultural and linguistic preferences of the buyers, and cater to those preferences.
With over 75 million members in over 190 countries, Netflix has established itself as the world’s leading Internet television. With locally created and globally distributed content and heavy attention to in-house subtitles and audio dubbings, Netflix has shown a great appreciation of regional cultural differences and preferences.
Netflix isn’t “afraid to experiment with new localization models and tools, going against localization industry norms and achieving great things along the way.” To know more about Netflix’s localization technologies, read their blog post on the subject.
Netflix has become a major cultural phenomenon* of our generation because they understand the different values of their viewers, and ensure that they provide localized content based on those values and preferences.
(*If you have any doubt about Netflix’s pop cultural appeal, all you have to do is follow this on Twitter: #NetflixAndChill!)
Global sportswear giant Nike is no stranger to using novel approaches to attract customers across the globe. For example, in 2013, Nike launched its lion, tiger and shark themed designer shoes, specifically for its Chinese buyers. The shoes were meant to tap into the theme of collision of the modern and the classical in China, which defined the dominant stylistic choice of Chinese youth in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
“Come run with us,” was another campaign by Nike that saw hundreds of people regularly take part in Nike’s live running sessions. The campaign succeeded in building a sense of community through personal experience. Nike’s globalization strategy revolves around creating a sense of belonging for their consumers, and they achieve this by understanding their consumer’s cultural differences and needs.
When it comes to immaculate globalization strategy, Coca-Cola has been ruling the roost for years. Since Coca-Cola’s CEO Douglas Daft announced the company’s new “think local, act local” marketing strategy, Coca-Cola’s global acceptance has gone up by leaps and bounds.
Coke does not sell a bottle of drink; it sells an “experience” and “happiness” to its buyers. Coke’s localized messaging resonates with buyers across nations, and this was made evident in their ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, where their #ShareACoke hashtag saw 235,000 tweets, and sold more than 250 million personalised bottles.
Coke woos its consumers worldwide with strategic partnership and planning. With the right localization partnership an understanding of local buying sentiments, any global company can have a similar impact on consumers.
If you would like to know more about how to localize smartly and break the language barrier between you and your customers, listen to Brian Coyle‘s webinar titled, ‘Cross Border Selling: Breaking the Language Barrier with Automated Translation,’ where he discusses how automated translation can help overcome the eCommerce language barrier to successfully sell across multilingual borders.
About Brian Coyle
Brian Coyle is the Chief Commercial Officer at KantanMT. He has 25+ years’ experience in senior sales and marketing management roles in a range of industries and across a number of markets including the US, the UK and Europe. Over the last number of years, Brian has worked on the commercialisation of products in the SaaS market with Kefron Document and Information Management Solutions and also AccountsIQ, the specialist cloud accounting software provider. Brian holds an MBA from the Smurfit Business School University College Dublin, and is a member of Tekom, European Association of Technical Communication.