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What Is Glocalization?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2014
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Glocalization is a process by which, much as the name suggests, “globalization” and “localization” can be combined. This process can potentially occur in the direction of local products, services, or commodities taking on a global appeal, which is difficult but may be facilitated by information technology (IT) services. More often, a global product is offered to a more local market, often through rebranding or efforts to make the product more locally appealing. Glocalization of this second kind can be done in a number of different ways, including localization of brands and products or efforts within a local community.

The basic idea behind glocalization is that the two seemingly inconsistent concepts of localization and globalization can be brought together in a productive way. Globalization typically refers to companies and services that are offered at a global scale, often made available by multinational corporations. Localization, on the other hand, refers to products or services that are manufactured or offered with a local market in mind, frequently seen in the idea of “mom and pop” stores or small, local businesses. Some people view the idea of globalization as inherently dehumanizing or negative when compared to localized markets or services, and so glocalization can be used to reduce such perceptions.

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One way in which glocalization can occur is for a local service or commodity to take on a global scale. This is somewhat unusual, since it requires a larger acceptance of something that begins at a small scale. Many businesses that begin with local markets may not have the resources or ability to expand to a globalized presence or to compete with other multinational businesses. IT systems and the Internet have made this type of glocalization somewhat easier, since a small company can reach wider audiences through various forms of online marketing and development.

The more common form of glocalization, however, is one in which a global product or service is made more appealing for local markets. A company with an Internet site that is used for online transactions, for example, might offer multiple versions of that site for visitors from different countries, allowing for easier navigation and purchasing using different languages and currency systems. This makes a large product or service that may be available globally feel more local for many consumers. Rebranding can also be used in glocalization to make a single product or service seem more accessible to smaller markets, or to make people in a particular community feel as though a company more strongly values their business and recognizes the importance of their local ideals and needs.

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