This is the process of global expansion and integration without failing to respect local cultures and values.
Details of Glocalization
Glocalization is a hybrid word between globalization and localization. Globalization means an expansive integration over the whole world. It can also mean the rapid movement of people, goods, and information. For example: fast messaging over the entire world via WhatsApp, fast cross-continent transportation via airplanes, and easy availability of various products from all over the world.
Localization means the culture, traditions, and values of a group of people residing in an area. It’s also the subtle characteristics of a group of people that makes them unique, ie. age groups, religious groups, food preference, public behavior, and local festivities.
Glocalization is simply a better version of globalization.
Real-World Example of Glocalization
McDonald's is a fast-food company based in America. They primarily serve hamburgers, french fries, and chicken products. Ice cream and pies are available for dessert, along with soft drinks and milkshakes for beverages. It grew rapidly in America. Unsatisfied, they seek to expand to another part of the world to gain more popularity and profit.
This is a part of globalization. A local restaurant grew into a nationwide restaurant chain, then expand into a multi-national restaurant chain company. However, even though McDonald's primarily serves simple fast foods, they can’t just open up shop in other continents and expect easy profits.
McDonald's knows that food and culture are intertwined. A greasy double Big Mac is considered sexy in America, but it could be considered gross in another part of the world. Southeast Asia, India, and The Middle East citizens have large populations of Muslims, to whom pork is forbidden. Meanwhile, other countries have diets that include larger amounts of rice or beans. When McDonald's expanded into these regions, they adjust their menu accordingly by removing pork from the burgers or adding rice balls to the primary menu.
As a result, the Asian/Middle East franchise is as successful as their franchise in America. This is how you do glocalization flawlessly.
Types of Glocalization
Globalization facilitates people to move around faster. Improvement in air transportation makes people fly around the world faster than ever before. The Internet enables us to contact other people from the opposite hemisphere in less than one second.
With people flying around and talking across the earth, they bring their own cultures into a new place. These new cultures will inevitably interact with their surroundings, resulting in three possible types of glocalization:
- The new culture gets rejected.
- The new culture replaces the existing culture.
- The new culture undergoes an integration process with the existing culture.
The primary reason why the new culture gets rejected is that the new culture is simply far too radical. Humans are sensitive to change. As a result, the new culture gets rejected, thrown away, and forgotten.
The second type of glocalization happens because of how fierce and overwhelming the new cultures are being introduced. The new culture comes in and aims to destroy or fully replace the existing culture. This directly opposes the definition of localization, which means preserving the local identities, culture, and values. A real-life example would be the colonization era in the 18th century. European empires traveled far into various less developed countries to exploit their natural resources and manpower.
The third type is the most beneficial of all. The new culture comes in, the existing culture accepts it. As time goes, the new culture gets slowly integrated into the existing culture, or simply lives peacefully with the existing culture. This is why the term ‘Glocalization’ was coined. By implementing the word ‘local’ in ‘globalization’ hopefully, we’ll respect the local culture more and prevent it from being trampled over.
The Significance of Glocalization
Localization is a set of cultures and values that builds an identity — a unique identity that breeds diversity, a powerful identity that inspires others, a beautiful identity that creates art. Globalization will homogenize cultures. It will destroy numerous other unique identities, while only preserving one.
Without identity, our world would be a soulless husk. Nothing would be unique. How would you feel if every building you saw looked the same or every piece of music you listened to always had identical melodies? What if every movie plot was recycled?
But proper glocalization invigorates the economy. Companies have a constant need to grow and increase profits. The best way to increase profit is to expand into new areas. Create branch offices in different cities, hire new people, and start operating. Companies will modify their original product or services based on food preferences, religion groups, regional laws, ethnicity groups, and local events/traditions in that area. Customers can enjoy an endless variety of products offered by numerous companies.
Furthermore, ease of travel makes it easier for people to visit other places. Places with different art, food, and architecture. As you talk to the locals and discover new cultures, you can play a part in positive glocalization.