¶ … Penetrate Global Markets
Global marketing in today's world depends upon a mix of technological and cultural understanding as Spillan (2012) points out: the "reach of the Internet to unknown places" and the "social environments that exist in global regional market segments" help to drive the global economy and the markets that exist within it. Therefore, comprehending how the Internet and various social media outlets intersect and interact with social environments, especially in developing worlds, is supremely important in assessing one's role in the global market strategy. This is essentially also the point of Luca Lindner (2015), president of McCann Worldgroup and author of "Why Global Marketing Must Move Beyond Cultural Stereotypes and Go Deep." When Lindner advises that marketers "go deep," he means that marketers must tap into the "local" economy and culture of the environment they seek to reach: after all, the trend in recent years is a rise in all things locally produced, which makes it that much harder for mass-marketed, mass-produced consumption goods (Lindner, 2015).
Indeed, "the global landscape is nuanced," as Lindner states -- and it is complicated. While people like globalization because it gives them access to other cultures (to the exotic ideas and goods of other places), as Lindner notes, people also still want to maintain their own local sense of identity -- their own locally produced concept of self: far and away, the majority of people polled tell Lindner that "they feel proud of their country's identity." Therefore, for global marketers, going deep means tapping into that identity -- a brand is meaningless to these markets otherwise: it does not reflect the culture's ideals, sentiments or belief-system. It is a crude currency that none will accept. Thus, as Lindner states, brands must "go deep" or flounder and perish.
Yet, it is not a debate of "global vs. local" because today's Age is Digital and "transcending borders" is as commonplace today as eating or drinking. The idea that brands need to embrace, observes Lindner, is not a way to "overtake" a culture and change it but rather to find a way to "coexist." That, of course, is easier said than done. If marketing has done anything over the past century in the West it has changed the face of Western values to be more in line with the corporate cosmology of its branding needs. It has essentially told the consumer what it wants -- from smoking cigarettes to drinking beer to buying cars, jeans, shoes -- you name it (Tedlow, Abdelal, n.d.) . None of today's consumers in the West would be the kind of person they are had the vast machinery of marketing not made them into it first (Jones, 2000). Thus, the West is a clear case of "brands" overtaking a culture and changing it. If it worked in the West, why shouldn't it work in the East and elsewhere? One reason is that the conformity between business and the greatest of all propagating machines -- the State government -- is not as robust in other parts of the world as it is in the West: meaning, what advertisers can get away with hawking on this side of the world is not something they can do elsewhere. The collaborative spirit that exists in the West between business and government (also known as Fascism by students of history) is something that has to be cultivated over time. Thus, unless mass-producers are willing to advocate regime change and puppet installation, this is unlikely (but students of history will also make the claim that at least they are trying).
How else is it to be done then? Technological understanding is one way to "go deep" and circumvent the cultural obstacles that might otherwise get in the way. Indeed, the rise of social media in the 21st century has impacted everything from the way we educate to the way we interact. Our perceptions of reality are informed to some extent by what is seen and heard on social networking sites such as Facebook, and the way in which individuals are conditioned accordingly can be measured merely by observing one's nearest social group. The evolution of Facebook and social media technology and influence over the past decade has certainly helped shape...
Facebook has reshaped the way organizations operate, the way universities teach, the way entertainment is viewed, and the way people communicate. Such a tool is used by outsider and insider politicians, from persons like Ron and Rand Paul to persons like the Clintons -- all to cultivate -- that is, to develop and maintain a culture of ideas. So when Lindner talks about not replacing an existing culture with one that recognizes and pays loyalty and devotion to a brand, he is largely simply being nice. The reality is that branding depends upon cultivating, i.e., developing a consumer culture -- and how that can co-exist with a separate culture is about as possible as growing two separate cultures in a petri dish: at some point one will overwhelm the other. The power of the Internet is new to the world. Previously, media influence was limited to programming. The power of the media had been used by politicians and political groups to espouse doctrine, but advertisers did not really tap into the power of the media (and corporations did not really began to employ public relations men) until Eddie Bernays (nephew of Sigmund Freud) began to follow in his uncle's footsteps and link passions and emotions (i.e., sex) with control in the minds' of advertisers: Bernays "took what he learned by cranking out propaganda during World War I and applied it to the nascent science of advertising" (Jones, 2000, p. 253). What he had learned was that citizens could be manipulated by the methods used by propagandists -- and that advertisers had to employ the same means: what Bernays brought to the game however was the solid fact that sex sells. Global marketers, therefore, should understand the lesson and "go deep" as Lindner suggests, but perhaps do so with a tongue-in-cheek awareness of what "going deep" does: it results in breeding, in producing something new -- that is, in cultivating. Under Bernays' direction, marketing went sexy -- and in today's world, nothing has really changed -- only the degree to which the marketer can now penetrate the entire world. Going deep to penetrate the global market surely has something in common with what Bernays did for advertisers in the 20th century.
Yet, there is more to the phenomenon than mere innuendo. Twitter, another social media platform, plays a role in the penetration process, as celebrities have found out, as they attempt to brand themselves and make themselves more marketable to a global audience. Celebrities will, for example, use the social media platform in order to engage with followers and fans around the world on what seems to be a one-on-one basis. It is as though there were virtually no barrier between the audience and the brand itself -- as though the two were in communion with one another. That is true penetration. Thus Twitter has allowed celebrities to make the ultimate act of consummation with their fanbase and followers: the market is permitted to see the "personal" sides of celebrity lives and fans feel more connected, appreciated and part of the celebrity life. Loyalty is established. A market is penetrated. A culture is conceived. So while the celebrities participate in their own branding and cultivation, the behind-the-scenes glimpses into the private lives of the celebrities becomes a commoditized and artificial thing in its own way -- like Barbie. The "private" life becomes another persona as well and the reality is that there is no real "democratization" process actually being worked through the medium of Twitter (Marwick, 2011, p. 139), which is otherwise hailed as an equalizer by putting all people on the same network and same level. The fact remains that celebrities maintain their own personal celebrity side and the hordes of followers follow from afar, virtually in a separate world despite the illusion of nearness via Twitter. Marketers can learn a valuable lesson from this distance-within-the-act-of-intimacy strategy and use to break into new and developing markets around the world: it is like sneaking into the house through the back door without being caught by agencies in those very same parts of the world that might otherwise bring down the hammer. Penetrating can be a furtive act at first.
The Cultural (and Economic) Challenges
The main challenge to global marketing today, however, once these concepts are grasped and utilized, is not their implementation but the almost existential crises of today's marketplaces. Consumer cultures in the West have spread throughout the world, overlapping with or creating hybrid markets out of the ashes of the Old World cultures of the…
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