The term ‘glocalisation’ (or glocalization) refers to a product or service that has been developed to meet both local and global needs of intended customers. Glocalisation is the combination of the words ‘globalisation’ and ‘localisation’. It is a term that is used to describe a type of business that is distributed globally, but adjusted to meet local needs as well.

While it may seem like a popular new term, ‘glocalisation’ is in fact a concept that has been around since the 1980s. However, it is likely that it is gaining traction now as we are seeing more and more businesses that provide localisation of products around the world. It became more widely used in the early 2000s when it was clear that businesses were moving towards globalisation, but in order to be competitive in other markets, they would also need to provide a level of customisation based on local regulations or even preferences. It is arguable that globalisation was potentially problematic, as it relied on an assumption that customers around the world were interested in the same type of product that saw success in a specific local market. Glocalisation is the answer to this issue. 

Over the past decades, we have all heard about globalisation, and T. Levitt was one of the most remarkable scholars that studied this concept in his research ‘The Globalisation of Markets’, published in the Harvard Business Review. In this context, multinational companies focused their marketing activities on promoting standardised uniform products and services all over the world, homogenising their offering and image. 

This had the advantage that the products and services were to be perceived as reliable, standardised and easily-recognizable, ensuring a reasonable quality-price ratio, and an easier recognition of the brand itself. Thus, brand awareness was meant to increase and expectations and perceptions would tend to be favourable, creating a loyal customer base. Thus, the globalisation strategy was centred on creating brand image and on building brand equity, rather than focusing on the product itself. Levitt recognized this trend stating that “companies must learn to operate as if the world were one large market  – ignoring superficial regional and national differences”, since they would “benefit from enormous economies of scale in production, distribution, marketing, and management” (Levitt, 1983, p. 92). 

But what this strategy was not taking into account was the different social, cultural and economic conditions, as well as the changing customer needs, across different markets. Thus, consumers were not connecting to these heterogeneous offerings that were not personalised and did not speak specifically to them, with all their unique context and conditions. As Coca-Cola’s former chair Douglas Daft commented, greater flexibility, responsiveness and local sensitivity were in urgent demand.  

Therefore, multinational corporations and marketing strategists shifted their approach from globalised strategies, to glocalized ones. The latter focused on product particularisation and strategies that were customised to appeal and connect with specific markets. Key to this new strategy was a correct and holistic understanding of local customers, their conditions and circumstances, and their preferences and necessities. Scholars called for a “think global, act local” mindset, where global brands adapt their products and strategies to specific regional elements and necessities.


The term ‘glocalization’ itself appeared at first in the late 1980s, in the Harvard Business Review, in an article published by Japanese scholars, and thus was derived by the Japanese word ‘dochaduka’, which refers to global localization. Thus, this concept comprises local and global approaches: considering both the aspirations of a global strategy and the necessity of local adaptations. This is why glocalization should not be considered as a replacement of globalization, but as a progression from it and an adjustment to local needs, proving a unique and innovative approach, observing local insights and in turn incorporating them to a global marketing strategy. 


This new approach thus comes with new advantages, as studied by Phillip Kotler, which involve: 

  • Consumers feel the brand is relevant to them, and tailored to their specific needs and requirements. 
  • A balance of the different levels of marketing activity, namely the strategic, tactical and operative levels. 
  • A higher brand equity and greater market share for the brands. 

Thus, brands should make sure that they have an in-depth understanding of the cultural intricacies of the different markets they are trying to get involved in prior to the design of any global strategy. Glocalization is very much aligned with the trends towards personalization and customization, a good strategy should aim to truly speak to the hearts and minds of the consumers, and create a personal connection with them. 



In the fashion and food industry, glocalization is fundamental, due to the different habits and choices made by people from different religions, regions and cultures around the world. For instance, in the food industry, there are some animals that might be considered sacred in some cultures, and be naturally consumed in others, and this must be taken into account when arriving at a new market. Further along the value chain, in the communication and marketing strategy, glocalization is key to allow customers to connect with the advertisement they see, for instance. A local popular actress or model promoting a fashion or a food brand that the local residents can relate to, or be proud of, will not have the same effect as a multinational celebrity. In terms of fashion, if she looks similar to the target audience, and they can identify with her, they will be more able to visualise themselves in that attire, and will want to transmit the same message as their idol. With food, on the other hand, they might want to try this product simply because it is endorsed by a friendly face, they can more easily connect with, or because they want to follow their example. The success of any food or fashion firm, to a large extent, is determined by the trust that it is able to gain from the residents of a region. 

In both fashion and food as well we can find the wonders of fusions: mixtures of styles or flavours from different cultures, which is an excellent way of glocalizing a product. For instance, in gastronomy we find Korean-Mexican fusions, in the case of a Mexican brand commercialising their products in Korea, or a Mexican chef building a restaurant there, this could be an interesting approach. In fashion, a clear example is how the younger Indian generations are wearing a mixture of traditional and western clothing. Thus, Indian fashion designers interweave the diverse fashions found there and add an Indian final touch to them. These industries are thus an amazing example of how glocalization is an evolution from globalisation, starting off with a globalised product offering, and adapting, fusing or interweaving it with local culture and influences, to create a final masterpiece that truly connects with the target audience, and adds a differential value. 

Some examples of companies that adopt glocalization are: 

  • McDonald's is one of the most known brands that meets the local and global needs of customers. It decided to implement a marketing program with specific products for each country. In Romania, McDonald’s created the local dish McMici (“mici”); in India, the Maharajah Mac and Veggie McNuggets were commercialized; in Australia, the mutton pies; in the Philippines, McSpaghetti; in Japan, Teriyaki Burger; and in Canada, the McLobster. 

Turkey Case Study 

McDonald’s is using local services, local assets, local goods and is even producing special products for each country as a result of their glocalization marketing strategy. Turkey, due to its unique culture between the East and the West, is one of the countries in which McDonald's has grown the most in recent years. McDonald’s started to focus more on a glocalization marketing strategy after the 2002 General Elections in Turkey. The downsizing of the brand was actually a turning point because McDonald’s lost 60 of its restaurants in Turkey. Thus, it started using more local based products so that it would be able to expand its market share. For years, it has been implementing more “Only in Turkey” products to the point of implementing in its menu meals such as Köfte Burger, Mangal Burger, Leziz Etli Burger, Leziz Tavuk Burger, Acılı Tavuk Burger, Double Köfte Burger, Ayran and Turkish Breakfast Plate.   Undoubtedly, McDonald’s saw the need to meet local needs in the consumers of this country, and adapted through glocalization achieving successful results.  

  • Fanta offers different flavours around the globe, such as Fanta Shokata in Romania (“socata” or “elderflower juice” is a traditional Romanian beverage), green apple Fanta in China and watermelon Fanta in Spain and Portugal. 
  • Lay’s Chips meet the preferential tastes of locals from different countries across the world; for instance, in the United Kingdom the most popular flavour is cheese-onions, in Thailand we can find Lemon Lays and in China Seafood Lays. 
  • Dunkin Donuts serves dry pork and seaweed donuts in China, Grapefruit Coolatas in Korea, mango Chocolate Donuts in Lebanon and Dunclairs in Russia. 
  • Barbie’s commercialisation was a huge failure in Japan until they joined with Takara and introduced a Barbie tailored to the Japanese market. The Japanese Barbie was blond, with a round face and big eyes, and this approach had better results on the market. 
  • Yves Saint Laurent has launched a limited-edition perfume fragrance named “Magnificent Blossom”, which was only commercialised exclusively in a luxury department store located near the Red Square in Moscow, Russia. The inspiration from this perfume came from the richness and splendour of Russian style. 
  • Burberry launched its Wechat Mini program on Wechat on Chinese valentine’s day (Qixi) in 2018. The mini-program campaign takes the form of a game and encourages fans to play the game with their partners. After completing the game, users will be able to get access to Burberry’s latest collection, including two Qixi bags sold exclusively in China. 

a) Academic/peer reviewed 

Blatter, J. (2022). glocalization. Retrieved from  

Grigorescu, Adriana, and Alexander Zaif. "The concept of glocalization and its incorporation in global brands’ marketing strategies." International Journal of Business and Management Invention 6.1 (2017): 70-74. 

Gross, P., & Kopper, G. (2011). Understanding Foreign Correspondence. Retrieved from of the japanese word dochaduka&f=false  

Kolmakova, L. (2017). Glocalization Marketing Strategy of Mc Donald’s Case Study: Turkey. Retrieved from  


Svensson, G. (2001). “Glocalization” of business activities: a “glocal strategy” approach | Emerald Insight. Retrieved from  

Zaif, A., & Grigorescu, A. (2017). Retrieved from  

b) Other sources 

Smith, T. (2018). Exclusive: Burberry Launches First WeChat Mini-Program | Jing Daily. Retrieved from