Even the smallest business has big dreams. Whether you want to take your brand global or lock up the bulk of your local market share, the principle is the same: you have to think big. In other words, think global, act local. So what does that mean exactly?
Think Global, Act Local
Despite our obvious fundamental differences, human beings are by and large the same across geographical barriers, cultures, etc. We may look different and have different customs, cultures, and even expectations, but there are a few major similarities. For instance, human beings, as a whole, crave connection. Across cultures, human beings are looking to connect: both with each other and with entities that share a purpose or a way of thinking (i.e. your brand).
By thinking globally, you’re (hopefully) not having dreams of uniting the world. Even Amazon, arguably the world’s single greatest business entity, has its detractors. There are undoubtedly folks in the tech company’s namesake region for whom Amazon has no purpose–and certainly no market. Instead, thinking globally means cultivating a brand that will resonate with people outside your locality. It means coming up with a purpose for your brand that goes beyond providing a product or service.
As for acting locally, for starters, treat every customer like they’re in your neighborhood. Your brand isn’t just in a community, it is a community. If you can think of your brand as a family, community, or neighborhood, you can give your customers that connection they’re looking for. What’s more, you’ll create the kind of brand loyalty you see in brands that have successfully managed to take their business global.
Go Global, Stay Local
A small, local business has significantly fewer problems than a global brand. For starters, the infrastructure is drastically different. Bigger brands have to keep up their customers 24/7–as their customers never sleep! However, as smaller businesses grow–adding more locations, breaking into newer markets, and even introducing new product offerings, it’s important to keep those logistics in mind. At the same time, part of the concept of “think global, act local” means, again, treating every customer like they’re local.
Some businesses have a tendency to put the needs of new customers ahead of the needs of their existing, loyal customer base. One example is businesses that put the need for a sale ahead of the need for a happy customer. Interestingly enough, one of the most effective ways to build your brand is via grassroots, word-of-mouth marketing. Even the best pieces of content won’t measure up to a trusted source vouching for you. Again, since you don’t know whether that trusted source is down the street or halfway across the Earth, your best bet is to treat every customer like they’re part of your community–because they are!
Stay True to Your Values
Think of some of the biggest, most well-known brands worldwide. Now think of the brands that briefly came to worldwide prominence, only to fall by the wayside. What’s the common theme? Authenticity.
In fact, the very essence of “think global, act local” is authenticity. Customers can smell a fake from a mile away, and once they catch on that a brand isn’t what they thought it was, they’ll be looking for a connection to fix that broken connection. The important lesson: stay true to your values and customers will follow. Whether you express those values through content or brand identity, keep them consistent–even as you grow.
Start Thinking Globally and Acting Locally!
A brand is nothing without its customers. A business is nothing without a purpose. Whether your customers are in your neighborhood or around the world, your way of thinking should be the same. Similarly, whether your purpose is to change the world or to sustainably do what you love while being your own boss, if you can think global and act local, your business will be in good hands!