What Is Glocalization? Who All Have Made It Big?


GlocalizationGlocalization is an important term as it defines the success of many global brands. In glocalization, a product or service that is offered globally is trimmed according to the taste or behaviour of local customers. A lot of food brands have made it big in India through glocalization. The best and most cited example could be the McAloo tikki burger that is available across McDonald’s stores in India. Glocalization is most visible in the case of food brands.

A lot of global brands have localized their products in the Indian market and made success. Some of them are:

  • McDonald’s: Beef products are the pride of McDonald’s as they are known for providing high quality beef products. However, in India cow is considered as a holy animal. McDonald’s localized its menu to suit Indian taste buds by providing food items ranging from McAloo tikki burgers which consisted of vegetables like mashed potato patty to Chicken Maharaja Mac (which is a substitute to the company’s signature product, Big Mac beef burger) with Indian spices. Not only this, McDonald’s has also worked out on providing affordably priced products so as to attract a larger crowd. Their stores do not provide beef and pork products in India.
  • KFC: Kentucky’s Fried Chicken (KFC) took time to draw the attention of crowd in India. It was the first fast food MNC to have opened shop in India but it failed in its initial years because its products did not suit the Indian taste buds. In the later years it became a hit destination for chicken lovers. It also announced vegetarian products in its stores (only in India) and people in India have mellowed down as they do not mind eating vegetarian food in a restaurant serving non-vegetarian food.
  • Hindustan Lever Ltd.:  Hindustan Lever understood that to be successful in India it needs to appeal to the rural customers, who wanted the product but did not have the money to buy it. As a result, the products (mainly shampoos) were packaged in smaller portions costing very less money. This is how Hindustan Lever caters to the rural market in India. Shampoos like Lux and Sunsilk are sold in sachets costing from Re 1 to Rs 3 and are affordable for the rural population. The sachet concept is such a hit that around 70 per cent of the entire shampoo sales is based on shampoo sachets in India.
  • Nokia: Nokia also targeted Indian rural households and made cell phones with the characteristics helpful in India. The Nokia (India) phones had dust resistant keypads, better anti-slip grip and in-built torchlights specifically keeping in mind the Indian rural people and truck drivers.
  • Viacom’s MTV: At the beginning when MTV was launched in India it failed miserably as the locals in India were not able to connect with the Western style of the channel. Funnily enough the tag for MTV when it first began in the mid-1990s in India was, ‘Did you get it’ and a majority of population did not. Soon after that they revamped the channel offerings, started showing more of Indian music and local based shows rather than international music and shows. Since then MTV is known to keep changing its look and content almost every six months to keep up with the huge viewership that it has attained as a result of its glocalization.
  • Subway: The first Subway restaurant in India was opened in 2001 in New Delhi. It followed the same rules as the other global food joints. They had put more vegetarian options with Indian spices in it. However, there’s one thing that Subway did differently from the other global food joints and that is it started providing Jain food at separate counter in their only vegetarian restaurant in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. This had helped Subway to cash on the Jain population of Ahmedabad too.
  • Gillete’s Razor: Gillete had used a very different strategy to appeal to the Indian men. It had developed a completely new product for the Indian men based on their shaving habits. It developed cartridges which could be cleaned with less water and a large safety comb to lessen cuts and nicks. To make it more affordable the Gillete Guard has a single blade and lesser parts than in the Fusion Pro Glide which is sold in US market for $ 4 each. This is how glocalization helped Gillete to capture more than 50 per cent of market in India.
  • Pepsi Co.: Pepsi Co had released so many localized flavours of all its products in India. From Lay’s chips (Magic Masala) to Quaker Oats (Homestyle masala, Kesar flavour, etc.). This is a brand which knows how to adapt to local taste buds. It has local Indian vegetarian flavours in all its products that includes: Kurkure (Hyderabadi style, Rajasthani green chutney style, chilli chatka, etc.), 7up soft drink (7up Nimbooz), Tropicana (Tropicana Coconut Orange and Coconut Litchi), Uncle Chipps, etc.

The brands mentioned above are all global brands and their success in the Indian market is because they understood the local needs and made or altered products accordingly. Glocalization has become a very important factor in sales promotion of multinational brands.