Today we are living in a “sharing” society. Every day, people share their opinions, experiences, and knowledge online. They connect with others on a personal level. But how does this translate to business?
At the recent ANA Masters of Marketing conference, Larry Light, branding guru and former McDonald’s Brand Chief stated, “sharing is the new essential.” He said, “Sharing is not partitioning [breaking a cookie and giving someone a piece], it’s collaborative-interacting and jointly owning the communication and goal when it comes to business.” This has special relevance to today’s hot topic of business going global.
When it comes to global strategy, how do we address the old adage “think global, act local?” It’s really a matter of having a participatory mindset instead of a centralized one. Local teams must be encouraged to be strategic/global thinkers and not just local thinkers. This should play into their arenas as…“The passion for individualization and personalization will increase.”
Light points out that the world is becoming more personal, but not more homogenized. McDonald’s for example, serves lobster rolls in Maine, veggie burgers in India, and yogurt drinks in France. Even though the products are different and customized for their respective markets, the goals, the customer experience and brand ambition within the organization remain the same.
The brand framework defines the boundaries, but shouldn’t cramp localization and personalization. It does however define when a brand is out of bounds. Building a strong brand is a business goal, not solely a marketing function! For a company to grow, it’s every employee’s responsibility. If you get it right, it can bring a real and sustainable impact to the entire organization.