No beef; nothing at stake
A chance first visit to the United States will probably surprise a number of Indians when they do not find their McAloo Tikki burger in McDonald’s outlet. Rather their noses are surely assaulted with the smell of beef burgers, the burger the outlet is famous for. But India does not have a whiff of those delicacies; not in McDonald’s nor in Burger King or the only Wendy’s outlet in India.
So what is it that prompted these international franchises to alter their signature dishes? It is a branding and marketing strategy based on thinking globally, but acting locally i.e. glocalization. In simple term, it is the practice of conducting business in global as well as local terms.
What works in one country will not necessarily work in the other given the difference in culture and preferences. To be popular brands need to reinvent themselves. Preferred businesses model for global brands is to adapt to the local tastes.
This glocal approach was adopted by international businesses opening their branches in India. Taking the example of McDonald’s, the brand reinvented itself, not only in terms of its menu but also its appeal. With more local print campaigns, the idea was to appeal to the vegetarian populace. Going hand in hand with this was the introduction of a vegetarian dish. The most popular of this is the McAloo Tikki burger which is basically the Indian street food served in a fancy setting. Not just this, the franchise in India proudly boasts of having a visible and separate vegetarian and non-vegetarian kitchen.
With print advertisements like this, the idea was to appeal to the vegetarian populace.
Moreover, TVCs in India focus on promoting the outlet as a destination not only for couples but more so for friends and families. Compare the American TVC with the Indian one and you will see the focus on the married couple.
Another recent attempt to popularize and increase its Indian customer base is the burger version of the Masala Dosa. It has been fancily clad under the term Dosa Masala brioche. But it could not impress the Twitterati in India.
A chain that has the word chicken built into its brand name, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) provides vegetarian options to its Indian customers. In the initial years of its establishment, the company did not do that well given the lack of its appeal to the vegetarian segment. But then it introduced a range of vegetarian options and the sales skyrocketed. It even released a tongue-in-cheek TVC with a popular Indian actor to promote the burger.
KFC and McDonald’s are one of the few visible attempts at glocal branding. Many other fast food brands like Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Dunkin Donuts has also revamped its menu to appeal to Indian sensibilities.
A glocal branding needs to take into account the surroundings in a manner that the products don’t need to. In fact, it is the branding itself that promotes the product, it becomes a sort of product localization.
The branding needs to be culturally unique and inclusive to be effective. The individual culture with a dose of universal comprehension is the target which combines together glocalization and branding.