If you walk into a McDonalds anywhere in the world and order a Happy Meal, the cardboard box it comes in will probably be the same. But open it up, and you’ll start to see some differences. The toy it comes with will likely reference the latest film or cartoon popular in that region, while the food will take into consideration cultural differences depending on whether you’re in Dagenham or Dubai. This, in a nutshell, is ‘glocalisation’ – global brands with local consumers, where anything as short as 40 kilometres can impact how companies respond to the use of language, colours or, in this case, food.

Whether you like the word or not (once coined by The Drum as ‘appropriate, yet ugly’), glocalisation is intrinsic to an organisation’s ability to capitalise on leveraging economies of scale, while ensuring each region is being heard and having their specific needs met. While the prospect of ‘global presence, local touch,’ is hardly new, it’s still easy to feel overwhelmed or get lost along the way. To stay on track, CMOs can bring together three key strands – encompassing people, processes and technology – to deliver a smarter glocalisation strategy.


Today’s CMO now has to wear several different hats at once. Once siloed to areas such as content, strategy and messaging, marketing now finds itself talking to almost every department to tap into the organisation’s wider knowledge base. They are hungry for data that will help drive culturally appropriate campaigns in anything from two to twenty different regions. This isn’t just a case of touching base with the procurement or production departments once a week, but is part of an ongoing collaboration.

This collaboration is driven by a desire to create the right team with the right skillset, depending on the (everchanging) business need. After all, the way consumers want to be ‘sold to’ is evolving all the time, with everything from periods of political upheaval to the cultural significance of reality TV shows impacting behaviours and aspirations. This is where an external partner or agency can provide an element of fresh blood as marketers look to different people (skillsets) for different occasions.

As well as tapping into fresh perspectives, CMOs know they need partners – whether it’s a one-man-band, an agency, or a wider network – who are physically on the ground. This not only enables better market research but it is vital in measuring the success of initiatives and campaigns. A retailer can implement a new, in-store digital display but if there’s nobody there to carry out a mystery shopper analysis or to gather qualitative feedback, then it’s very difficult to judge whether it was a success or not. This also makes it difficult to learn and move forward. No-one can be all things to all people, in all regions. But widening your network via on-the-ground partners means you start to get closer.


Procurement teams are constantly seeking a more centralised approach – one system or process that multiple global teams (and their suppliers) can feed into when it comes to tasks like data collection, analysis or reporting. Having one way of doing things is in turn crucial for marketers who can tap into analysis to deliver timely and proactive campaigns that are culturally appropriate.

Having centralised processes also helps enable good project management. All parties – you, your organisation, partners and suppliers – can report into a centralised project management team that facilitates information sharing and can say ‘talk to X person in X department,’ because they know they are running a similar campaign, for example. In this sense, glocalisation is the best of both worlds, providing a sweet spot between marketing and procurement.


At the same time as maintaining brand consistency, organisations need to manage global campaigns in multiple languages and across numerous channels – often from a single platform. Technology has emerged as a solution to this, with the automation of campaigns pulling together creative, project management and delivery functions.

Take campaign management tools as an example. You might develop an in-house solution that automates campaigns from briefings to execution, including warehousing. You might develop it so that it can be accessed by 4,000 users across 150 countries, allowing marketers to share future cost and ROI projections, review visuals collaboratively and provide campaign feedback.

All these strands – people, processes and technology – are useless in isolation. By tapping into an international network however, marketers can look to trusted partners who act as the facilitators or the ‘glue’ that pull it all together. With this strategy in place, CMOs can start to deploy global campaigns with that local twist, the world over.