• Lwam Negusse

3 Key Things to Keep in Mind about Global and Local

For a couple weeks, we’ve been exploring the Global/Local dynamic currently shaping our world. If you haven’t yet, I recommend taking a look at our previous posts here and here. To wrap (for now!) our exploration into the Global/Local dynamic, we want to leave you with three important takeaways:

  • Global and Local aren’t static.

  • They constantly evolve in relation and reaction to each other. Global (vast in reach or influence, with no clear story of locality) structures are adapted, hybridized, and reinvented a billion times over by the local (originating in or strongly connecting to a specific area or location) into a more efficient or more appealing local variant.

  • Because they mutually constitute each other, it’s inevitable that they draw from each other. So it’s not as simple as appropriation, copying, selling out, etc. It’s natural that they influence each other, but conveying that process to the consumer in a meaningful way makes a big difference.

  • Locality is a powerful tool for brands’ Storytelling and Authenticity.

  • No organization is purely global or local; often, it is both. When ideas or products are borrowed from each other, it is neither automatically authentic nor inauthentic.

  • That’s why (transparently) framing and communicating the inspiration, purpose, and process of borrowing is crucial to the process of establishing Authenticity.

  • Not only does this generate the perception of authenticity for the product, it is a way of reaffirming an organization’s purpose, persona, and potentially their locality.

  • Ideally this results in strong products, strong companies, and strong communication with consumers.

  • Consider Consumers as part of the Global-Local continuum also.

  • Not only do companies’ development and innovations arise from this clash, but consumers are navigating these intersections every day.

  • Individual consumers are also local actors negotiating global forces in their lives.

  • In recent decades, there has been a movement towards more niche, lifestyle-driven consumption where consumers can be conceptualized as cosmopolitan and current, assembling a unique constellation of products/styles/activities as their personal brand. Instead of fitting more or less into a defined category, individuals collect from a variety of disparate areas to craft something personal and customized.

  • This tendency is supported by the proliferation of social media platforms, like Instagram or Pinterest, that allow intense specialization, greater access to constantly updating trend information, and broad networking.

  • These interests can easily slip across social, national, or cultural boundaries, making it harder than ever to nail down demographics and anticipate emerging consumers.

With this stronger (and developing) understanding of the Global-Local continuum, the factors that define the end points and the way those end points interact with each other, and the role and relevance of consumers’ engagement and influence, a brand is able to become more dynamic in its identity and innovation. The brand is able to connect to its consumers more emotionally, with a more true understanding of its impact and opportunities. Together, these takeaways can guide organizations of any size or scope to evolve and grow in a way that is credible and powerful.