McCann's Study on Global Brands Reveals Resurgent Localism is Reshaping Marketing
Reflecting the worldwide impact of technology as well as the rising strength of national movements, global marketing today is evolving into new patterns regarding surprising and complex global vs. local consumer attitudes and behaviours. As uncovered in a new McCann Worldgroup study, 68 percent of people around the world believe with some concern that they have lost some of their country’s culture in recent years—and yet, as many as 85 percent believe that global brands have the potential to make the world better.
These findings were among many in “The Truth About Global Brands,” a new study conducted by McCann Truth Central, McCann Worldgroup’s global intelligence unit. In looking in-depth at the changing dynamics of global brand marketing today, the study concluded that building global brands today requires a more nuanced interactive approach that the agency is calling “globality” to distinguish it from methods traditionally associated with globalization. The research entailed interviews with 30,000 people in 29 countries, supplemented with qualitative research that included focus groups and in-home ethnographies as well as in-depth interviews with consumers as well as with marketing, cultural and entertainment experts.
“While people around the world are generally positive about global brands, there is a sticking point in that such brands can still be associated with a definition of ‘globalization’ that describes a flattening of cultures,” said Luca Lindner, President of McCann Worldgroup. “What we now see emerging instead is what we’re calling a new ‘globality,’ a more free-flowing interaction between global and local dynamics that reflects resurgent nationalism and a reclamation of local culture, underpinned by unprecedented access to shared technology and experiences.”
The study’s findings uncovered that global brands continue to have major opportunities despite the resurgence of national pride, but their success depends on how they approach local markets:
• Local pride is strong and affects attitudes about brands. Some 85% of people around the world said they were proud of their nation’s identity and 68% agreed that their country has lost some of its local culture as a result of globalization. Additionally, 76% of people felt that global brands were pushing out local brands, and 67% said they would rather buy local brands than global brands
• At the same time, global brands are seen to have tremendous potential. The findings show that 85% of people around the world believe that global brands have the power to make the world better and 81% believe that global brands have the ability to make greater positive change than the government does.
• The mandate for global brands is to ‘earn’ their way into people's lives. While 65% people think the best way for a brand to make the world a better place is by providing consistently good, high quality products and service, as many as 92% believe that it is important or extremely important that brands respect local culture.
“If more than four-fifths of the world’s population believes that global brands can make the world a better place, then marketers have an important opportunity to earn their way into people's lives in much deeper, more meaningful ways,” said Suzanne Powers, McCann’s Global Chief Strategy Officer. “But the specific ways they approach earning this privilege are critical in a world of massive transparency where everything local is global in a matter of clicks. As the Truth About Global Brands study revealed, marketers today have to apply a globality approach that recognizes the need to address local cultures with more reverence and nuance.”