Here’s an interesting article about a book that might be worth checking out: The INSEAD-Wharton Alliance on Globalizing: Strategies for Building Successful Global Businesses. Okay, it’s not the most exciting title, but the article is worth a read.
It introduces the concept of a global branding continuum, which basically means that there are “various levels of being truly global. It is not always achievable, nor desirable, to go the full extent. Some form of local adaptation may be necessary, either in the product/service that is offered or in the positioning relative to competition.”
Here’s a good example of this concept:
What kinds of products do not lend themselves to global brands? Food is one category where, literally, differences in tastes from culture to culture compel global companies to adapt to local conditions, according to Day. At the other end of the spectrum is a company like Intel, whose products and markets make it easier for executives to establish a truly global brand with a memorable catch-phrase: “Intel inside.”
Naturally, you could extend the continuum concept to Web globalization. While Intel uses a consistent global design template across most countries, a fast food company like McDonald’s may be more likely to “go local” with the design. Compare McDonald’s China to McDonald’s US and you’ll get the idea.
I would still argue that McDonald’s can still use a global template while remaining locally effective (and save a ton of money along the way). Besides, its use of bandwidth-heavy Flash in markets where broadband penetration is relatively low doesn’t make much sense. But I digress…
I like the global branding continuum concept because it emphasizes the immense complexity of taking a business global.