Virtualization isn’t the only major impact COVID-19 has had on the way consumers connect with brands. Growing geopolitical disruption—in the form of populism, trade disagreements, cyber threats and more—are driving consumers toward local brands and products. This presents new competition for global brands, who now find themselves needing to better understand and act on local values and insights.
These are the findings of a recent report by Thomas Husson, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. The report, titled “Geopolitical Disruption Demands Local Trust,” brings together insights from S4Capital, MediaMonks, Circus Marketing and leading global brands to showcase the new ways they are building hyperlocal relevance into their marketing strategies within an increasingly disconnected geopolitical landscape.
“Full old-school decentralization is not scalable and cannot be the answer to the fragmented world we’re heading to,” says S4Capital Founder and Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sorrell in the report. “Leveraging data and technology platforms is the new way to scale local execution and to truly become responsive to local consumer needs.”
In a follow-up interview, Sorrell adds: “It may well be that COVID-19 has resulted in companies being better run, as the Centre pushes down operating authority and gives greater autonomy,” Among brands that have followed suit, Forrester’s research makes note of Mondelēz, who we partnered with last year to build up both its local tech infrastructure and global websites, while also handling local content production for EMEA, Latin America and North America.
We're building teams that are local first, but not only local.
“It’s an intricate balance,” says Louise Martens, our Global Head of Embedded Production who heads our partnership with the brand. “We’re building teams that are local first, but not only local.” At the heart of this strategy—and where local/global mindsets intersect—is bridging together data, technology and creativity to deliver hyper-local relevance. This strategy gives rise to the multilocal organization: one that brings together an understanding of multiple markets to inspire action around the world.
The Multilocal Advantage
Barron’s recently reported that Mondelēz sales have been strong coming out of the pandemic, bolstered by digital sales in the US, Europe and Latin America. Part of their success, according to Barron’s, has come from identifying and acting on online shopping behaviors—for example, enhanced targeting analytics and offering more products in larger containers, which are preferred by online shoppers. The success story underscores the need for brands to adapt at speed and scale to emerging consumer needs in each market where they operate, which has proved crucial in the COVID era.
Brands can better cater to every taste and craving for audiences all over the world by pairing data with asset production at scale, just like we did by developing assets for Oreo in Unreal Engine. Using the engine, 3D content can easily be adapted in real time, like swapping out one local package design for another in just a few clicks—so say goodbye to needlessly reshooting creative for every market.
With the power of game engine, you can update assets in just a few clicks—making transcreation much more efficient.
That’s just one practical usage; automated real-time production enables brands to better deliver relevant content at scale for a variety of preferences. This enables the multilocal brand to not only transcreate assets more easily, but also accelerate the speed at which it can adapt to new insights or external forces as they arise—for example, Brexit’s impact on European businesses.
Multilocal Brands Are Poised for Agility
A true multilocal organization does far more than speak the local language in markets where it operates. Locally casted teams offer added insight into local behavior—for instance, how food culture varies greatly from place to place. They also offer a cultural lens that fills gaps that data can’t reveal, injecting an element of authenticity into the creative. “We want to create work that resonates with local communities and is being created by a team that reflects the societal makeup,” says Martens.
If you need a tasty example, consider a sweet treat we cooked up for Lady Gaga fans: the “Sing it with Oreo” platform, which invites people to share musical messages to friends with an Oreo twist. Launching alongside the release of Lady Gaga-edition Oreos, the platform builds on the passion and creativity of the pop star’s fanbase, sandwiching the brand in the center of social connection.
Martens attributes her team’s success to the way it unifies diverse talent from around the world working in unison. “What makes us unique is that our operational and financial spine operates in a truly global way across capabilities, offices and teams,” she says. “The flexibility this unlocks is unparalleled, which has a tremendously positive impact on our people, quality and speed.” By amassing a network of knowledge between Monks around the world, she says, “Knowledge travels fast and everyone benefits from each other’s efforts. Duplication of effort shrinks.”
By enabling greater flexibility and agility, the multilocal setup is ideal for global brands as they prepare for further disruption in years to come. And as consumers narrow their attention on brands that reflect their local values, a “glocal” mindset that blends global network learnings with local expertise will help them remain relevant to audiences everywhere.
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