The Extraordinary Think And Do (TANDO) Tank
Think Local, Act Global (SLA Lecture Series Book 21)
Publication date April 11, 2019
About the Author

In the last 40 or 50 years, we have done a lot of research on international marketing and the different companies that have gone global since World War II. One of the research topics was on why certain products succeed in one place and fail in another. The reason has to do with cultural factors. Cultures vary. Therefore, customers may not be as eager to accept specific products. We also did research on the image a particular country has. Japan used to have a negative image in terms of product quality, but they transformed their image by investing in quality initiatives. Today, they are among the world’s top creators of quality products. Similar efforts are now taking place in China and India. In 1983, Professor Theodor Levitt from Harvard University wrote a paper on how cultural differences and consumption differences no longer as important now that markets are being standardized by technology. He also mentioned that in many industries, products all over the world are manufactured and marketed in the same way because of supply chain standardization. His article was controversial, and it led to the question of whether there are still substantial differences between advanced countries and emerging markets, or if the world is now becoming more homogenous in terms of marketing. In response to his argument, a compromise was set: Think Global, Act Local. For instance, Honda operated under the idea that product design and fuel efficiency standards have to be localized, while branding and other components need to be seen from a global mindset. That paradigm is now giving way to a new one: Think Local, Act Global. Read more

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