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Monday 6th February, 2023

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The Glocal Message
The Glocal Message


The Glocal Message

Franchising internationally makes understanding the local market crucial, says Nathen Mazri

“Glocal” may be a great example of a fancy marketing word, but it’s one which may not be universally understood. In fact, all it means is a global brand penetrating local markets with different attitudes and behaviors. How can a global brand or franchise succeed in local markets? The answer is simple: brand authenticity. When Coke realized it was losing grounds against its nemesis, Pepsi, Coke decided to revamp, restructure, and reformulate the new product with a “new classic” positioning strategy. This created authenticity for the brand. Today’s new classic glass bottle reinforces the heritage of the Coke branding. Coke’s universal message succeeded on all ‘glocal’ levels because its brand authenticity was powered by a little creative-efficiency and heritage. Nothing spoke more of Coke’s drive for brand authenticity than the slogan it used throughout the 1970’s, “It’s the Real Thing.”

Creative efficiency is a science which even has its own formula: Creative Communication = (Solution x Cost x Time) + Single Message. To put this simply, creativity is a problem-solving solution which is employed to produce cost-effective ideas. Often, it is wittiness at its peak. Its aim is to find a single message, which will achieve brilliant brand communication in the Glocal market.

In their book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, authors Laura Ries and Al Ries claim that to be successful on a global scale, brands must respect the following laws:

  • law of credentials – brand leadership. The brand must be the best in its category, and the most authentic
  • law of category – a brand must be the first in its own category, as Heinz is first in tomato ketchup
  • law of quality – brand quality resides in the perception of the buyer. High price is a contributing factor
  • law of consistency – a brand is measured in decades, not years. Markets change, but brands shouldn’t
  • law of singularity – a brand must create a single idea in the mind of the customer

Now that we have an understanding how how a brand can succeeded in any market, we can apply the same philosophy and branding strategy to franchises – which are distribution licenses of intellectual property on a global scale. Franchisors’ main concerns are to offer brand governance and brand viability in local markets for maximum profits. It often happens that when applying for a master franchise of a particular territory, applicants submit their application form and business plan as well as supporting documents without having a clear communication objective/ strategy for the franchisee brand. What may work in USA may not work in Saudi Arabia, and vice versa!

Cultural behavior

Cultural marketing is crucial in order to reinforce the brand values in a traditional way that resonates well with the local market. McDonalds is exceedingly creative in launching cultural product innovations, such as McArabia with pita bread in Middle East. In Quebec, Canada, you can replace your fries with poutine, a local dish made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy. Franchisee-owners must consider how to adapt their cultural behavior towards a product category, whether that category is tomato ketchup, video rental or cupcakes and understand the customer perception towards every category.

In Saudi Arabia, major franchisee outlets such as Starbucks, McDonalds, Dairy Queen and other international chains are segregated between men and women. A product that may work well in one market may not work as well among demographics that differ in matters such as gender, age, race, income level, and nationality. Advertising must pay attention to cultural differences, too: for instance, a billboard ad on Tahleyah St. in Riyadh may not show an image of a female if she is not fully covered. To be sold in Saudi Arabia, female skin or body parts must be edited and coloured in black. The marketing P’s (place, promotion and people) are the most crucial aspects affecting a brand in any region.

Franchisee owners must think as brand owners. They must not act as local operators but as brand thinkers. It’s a great responsibility to own a particular international franchise in your own country, but it is of course crucial that the standards set by the franchise system are maintained and that the brand is also grown on a glocal level.

In today’s cluttered, mobilized economy where we are exposed to more than 3,000 messages a day, one of the most effective strategies to use is direct digital marketing. To exploit this to its maximum potential, the master franchisee must know where customers are online and on mobile and create maximum exposure using those platforms. Mr.Sub, a Canadian QSR which has been selling premium subs in Toronto since 1968, sub-franchised its master franchise for Middle East territory to Veyron Investment, which opened outlets in Dubai Healthcare City, International City, and will have opened up to five more outlets by the end of 2016. Sam El-Masri, President of Veyron Investment realized that 25% of the total revenue is generated from online food delivery websites such as and Therefore, Mr Sub created a digital marketing strategy to maximize its exposure on these major platforms via email marketing, homepage banners, skyscraper banners and other advertising opportunities, increasing brand awareness by more than 50% among the website users, on monthly basis.

About the author

Nathen Mazri is marketing and brand director for Veyron Investment. For more information, visit

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