Glocalization: How to successfully expand your business into foreign markets

March 21, 2023

Welcome to another episode of Meet-A-CEO, a podcast series dedicated to providing insights and advice from some of the world's most successful business leaders. On today's episode, we're talking about Glocalization. 

For this Episode, we welcome two very special guests: Seçkin Canan and Michel van Roon, two entrepreneurs who have achieved success through their unique and creative strategies. 

Despite their diverse backgrounds and distinct target markets, both guests offer valuable insights on expanding into foreign markets. By leveraging their respective experience and resources, entrepreneurs can gain insights on how to successfully expand their business on an international scale. With the right strategy and tools, they can develop a global presence and create a powerful brand. Through glocalization, businesses can create a localized experience that resonates with their target market and drives international growth.

Seckin Canan - Founder of Unusual Enterprise

Seçkin is the founder of Unusual Enterprise. Unusual Enterprise is an RnD and Business Development Company offering 360º Business Solutions. From business establishment in The Netherlands and Turkey, to growing it and making it global. As he already has experience in moving into foreign markets, he is the perfect guest when it comes to Glocalization, and he gives us many valuable insights and tips!

Michel van Roon - Chief Customer Officer of QuandaGo

Michel, on the other hand, is the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) of QuandaGo, a software that uses intelligent process automation and conversational analytics in combination with your contact center and back office to accelerate experiences across your business.

As Quandago is currently expanding into foreign markets, he gives us many arguments from where one can learn many aspects of the current process of moving through Glocalization.

But what is Glocalization? 

Glocalization is a concept that has become increasingly relevant in the global market. It is a combination of the words ‘global’ and ‘local’, and refers to the process of utilizing both global and local strategies to create a business presence. This concept is essential for any organization looking to establish itself in a foreign market, as it allows them to tailor their products and services to meet the specific needs of their target audience. By taking into account both local and global trends, companies can develop products and services that are both culturally appropriate and globally competitive. An example of successful Glocalization is IBM.

What made IBM become successful at Glocalization?

IBM has a global presence and offers a wide range of technology and consulting services to businesses. To cater to local markets, IBM has implemented a glocalization strategy by setting up local offices, hiring local talent, and customizing their services to meet local needs. For example:

By adopting a glocalization strategy, IBM has been able to expand its global footprint while also providing customized solutions that meet the unique needs of businesses in different regions. This has helped IBM maintain a strong presence in the B2B market and establish itself as a leader in the technology and consulting industry.

But not only IBM can be deemed an expert on Glocalization, Seçkin and Michel also give you a lot of tips (in our episode!).

What you can learn from Seçkin and Michel regarding Glocalization:

In our podcast it is described that one of the most important aspects of getting into Glocalization is a tailored strategy to target the specific needs of the target market. An important aspect in this is personal connection, like Michel describes.

This strategy can include a mix of traditional, digital and social media marketing techniques. Glocal marketing is an effective way for companies to reach a wider audience without sacrificing the local approach that makes their business unique. It is exactly this strategy that Seçkin recommends: he tells us that the best way to reach customers in foreign markets is to adapt your content, and find someone who is native to that local market to help you provide content for that certain market. Michel also uses this strategy, as he implies that adaptation to foreign markets is something that as a company should always keep in mind when it comes to expanding into foreign markets.

Here are 9 things you have to watch out for if you want to apply a glocal strategy:

  1. Begin with a Potent Global Brand: A powerful global identity is essential for success, but it can't overcome the difficulty of adapting to local markets. Ensure that your brand remains authentic while being easily adapted; it must resonate in all territories and not be compromised by localization.

  1. Conduct Comprehensive Market Research: Conducting in-depth market research is essential to identify local preferences, behaviors, trends, and cultural nuances. This helps you to tailor your products or services accordingly.

  1. Examine the Competition: Pursuing the competitive landscape in local areas can prove beneficial as it provides an opportunity to recognize opportunities and mitigate potential pitfalls. From their triumphs and failures, you can take heed of lessons learned - thereby optimizing your approach accordingly.

  1. Develop Local Partnerships: Developing partnerships with local businesses or experts can help you understand the local market better and build credibility in the market.

  1. Customize Products or Services: Customizing your products or services to meet local preferences and needs is crucial for successful Glocalization. This may involve adapting packaging, pricing, and features.

  1. Localize Marketing Strategies: Localization of marketing strategies is critical to connecting with local audiences. This includes using local languages, media channels, and cultural nuances to convey messages.

  1. Adapt to Local Regulations: Adapting to local regulations and legal requirements is essential to avoid penalties and ensure compliance with local laws.

  1. Hire Local Talent: Hiring local talent can help you understand local needs and preferences, avoid cultural faux pas, and establish a local network.

  1. Be Agile and Adaptable: Being agile and adaptable is crucial for Glocalization. You need to be able to adjust your approach based on local market feedback and changing trends.

A lot of these tips are also mentioned and further explained in the podcast episode, so if you haven’t already, go take a listen!

But there is one factor that is very important and shouldn’t be left out: the use of AI. The use of AI (which is also discussed in the podcast) is something that you as an entrepreneur should consider the sooner, the better, as AI’s capabilities keep improving gradually. But how does one use AI optimally for Glocalization? 

Usage of AI in Glocalization 

Another topic in our Podcast is AI, and how it is used in Glocalization. Michel and Seçkin both have their tips and tricks, but also feedback on the impact of AI.

In recent years, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been gaining traction in the world of glocal marketing. AI is a powerful tool that can be used to improve marketing strategies, optimize customer experiences and drive real business outcomes. AI can help marketers gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and interests, allowing them to deliver targeted messages to the right customers at the right time. With AI, marketers can also develop personalization strategies and create more customized content that resonates with their customers. AI can also help marketers analyze data quickly and accurately to identify trends, insights and opportunities to increase customer engagement. AI helps marketers better understand customer needs and behaviors and make decisions based on data-driven insights. AI-driven marketing campaigns can be used to create personalized experiences for customers across multiple channels such as email, social media, and websites. Finally, AI can be used to optimize ad campaigns and reduce costs associated with advertising campaigns by targeting customers more effectively. AI has revolutionized glocal marketing and is here to stay for the long run. Here are some tips for using AI in glocal marketing:

  1. Use AI-powered analytics: Utilize AI-powered analytics to understand the market trends and consumer behavior of the local market. This will help you to identify the preferences, habits, and behaviors of local customers, enabling you to tailor your products and services accordingly.
  2. Leverage Natural Language Processing (NLP): Use NLP to analyze and understand the language and cultural nuances of the local market. This will help you to create content that resonates with local customers and avoids cultural misunderstandings.
  3. Utilize image and speech recognition: Use image and speech recognition technologies to understand local customs, values, and social norms. This will help you to create products and services that are culturally sensitive and relevant.
  4. Take advantage of chatbots: Use AI-powered chatbots to provide real-time customer support to local customers. This will help you to provide localized assistance to customers, even if you don't have a physical presence in the local market.
  5. Experiment with machine learning: Use machine learning to identify patterns in customer behavior and preferences. This will help you to tailor your marketing and advertising efforts to the local market and create more targeted and effective campaigns.

It's exactly these tips that Seçkin and Michel give you insights about in the Podcast. But Seçkin also describes the problem with ChatGPT: the actuality. With changing the culture of foreign countries, there is a massive problem that ChatGPT is not up to the 2023 standard. Hence, Seçkin recommends that you should use ChatGPT for Marketing content, yet everything related to personal matters e.g. meeting should be taken over by a third party that is accustomed to the culture of the country of expansion. On this matter Michel also describes that you should allocate the AI to the personas that don't directly add value. Like described in point 4., using chatbots is a great way to allocate time to the more important aspects of the company: personal contact with existing customers who have issues. 

Want to gain a comprehensive understanding of the application of AI, or want to know exactly how to apply these tips? Then, be sure to listen to our podcast episode and hear what our distinguished guests have imparted about these topics.


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