Glocalization: Starbucks & McDonald’s Style

Berlin East Side post-WallStarbucks is an example of a retail company where glocalisation is taken to heart. The AHRD conference that I’ve live-blogged in Oxford, UK provided a forum for discovering the concept of glocalisation and how it can be applied in the workplace. From non-profit initiatives to global firms like Starbucks, this concept continues to refine itself.

In checking your local Starbucks, you will see these items:
1. Bulletin board about the local events currently happening in the area
2. Pastry choices come from local suppliers
3. Handwritten with chalk/markers designed signage by the store’s employees

Although the second item can be a limitation of supply-chain, the first one is a definite example of ensuring there’s a local connection. Apart from the team building effects of the third activity, it provides a localised perspective as well. How? Notice the color choices, the font, the handwriting, the graphics chosen… each of these components reflects the personality of the writer/designer and if that is done locally, it creates a subliminal regionalized perspective. If this design was created in one location and funneled through the rest of the world may create a confused reaction in certain parts of the globe (Example: A graphic made from Starbucks Kanda Station-Minami Guchi (Tokyo, Japan) of a client holding saki on one hand and coffee in another posted at a Starbucks in Barrie, Ontario, Canada may not work really well although will have curious looks).
McCafe Berlin
On the side of fast food chains – McDonalds continue to refine its glocalised approach with the following food offerings:
1. Chicken McSpaghetti in Singapore
2. Spam Breakfast in Honolulu
3. McCafe in Germany, Ireland, Venezuela, Japan, Australia, and others.

So one may say Yeah, these things have been happening already for quite awhile now, why post this now? Because of an additional thought I had about it after reading through my notes from the AHRD conference while at Starbucks and having my barista, Nico, call me by name and hand me my drink without me needing to tell him what drink I wanted. Personalization and remembering my drinks (I rarely stray) is one of the keys to retail customer loyalty and glocalization is the bigger picture that binds that together.

These tests try to connect local tastes and needs to the base products of the global companies. How do you test for success? My thinking is that when the program is not only accepted by the local consumers (and provide high customer sat ratings) but to also be constantly changing to fit the ever changing consumer makeup. As migration continues to change the landscape of a economic region, so should its products and services. Without that last component of constant change, the valuation of a glocalisation initiative can only be good for that moment of implementation.

679 comments to Glocalization: Starbucks & McDonald’s Style

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