We’ve all heard the expression “think globally, act locally,” but glocal is emerging as a powerful new concept that may determine success in this shrinking global economy. Glocal is a new term that comes from combining the words Global and Local.

This new term Glocal stands for a few different concepts:

1. Global events become locally relevant by affecting your local economy, and local events have global impact.

Similar to the famous butterfly effect where the breeze created from a butterfly flapping its wings can cause hurricane force winds around the world, glocalism sees every small event in a local economy as having an impact on the global economy. Simultaneously, every global event potentially affects the local economy. All are interconnected. For example political unrest in one region may affect the cost of gas in another, or a natural disaster in one country may affect the availability of resources for manufacturing in another.

2. Adapting your product or service to each culture or locale in which it is sold.

This means considering cultural relevancy, local nuances, perceptions and underlying values when positioning your company, products and brands for all target local markets.

3. Glocal represents the new push for products and services to be both global and local at the same time.

International organizations that do business worldwide must be as relevant as the mom-and-pop shop on your own corner or they become irrelevant. People don’t care if your business can speak to the masses, they want to know, “how you can speak to me?” Customers don’t care if you can reach clients on five continents, they want to know if you can understand and meet their local wants and needs.

Glocal Affects Social

According to Dion Hinchcliffe in a blog titled Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2013 – Part 1″ dated January 26, 2013, glocalism is an emerging trend in 2013 that will be amplified by social media—and many companies won’t be prepared.

Under glocalism, local customers, economies and cultures have much more power in the international economy. They now have the impetus to demand that products or services not just be translated into their language, but that they “speak” to them in a more relevant manner.

Hinchcliffe states, “Smart marketers will prepare for these eventualities and plan to make the most of them as major opportunities in disguise. Marketers that are prepared for glocalism will better engage with the marketplace and forge stronger overall brand sentiment long term.”

Glocal Effects on Translation and Localization

Using Glocalism as a guide, it is not enough for companies to simply translate their materials into a local language; the materials must be made culturally relevant to the target locale.

Organizations must think beyond translation and localization to ensure that their offerings are not just translated into local languages, but made culturally relevant to their target audiences. Simply hiring a firm to translate your product into a set number of languages is not enough.

Companies would be wise to hire language service providers with native-language translators in the target locale. Companies should no longer seek to be speaking “their language” but everything they communicate should convey that they share a common sense of “our language.”

An increased awareness and understanding of glocalism may be key to international success when expanding into specific global markets. What examples of glocalism have you encountered? Please share your thoughts in our comments section.

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