Digital & Social Media

Glocalization: Just Another Empty Buzzword?


What happened:

It may be hard to define glocalization… That is, until you see it being done perfectly. While many international companies struggle to adapt to individual markets, AirBnB seems to have mastered the complicated “glocal” business model. Founded in San Francisco in 2008, the innovative service now “connects people to unique travel experiences [..] in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries.” The service has been adopted by travelers and hosts all over the world, a sign that it is meeting the diverse needs of various markets.

What this means for brands:

AirBnB was able to balance global quantity and local quality by carefully considering individual markets. Translation, payment and even website login options have been adapted to appeal to both travelers and hosts. The company not only uses data, but also local insights to find solutions that increase usership. For example, sign up initially required an email address or Facebook or Google account. But once AirBnB realized that many potential Chinese customers did not have these accounts, it changed its policy to allow sign up for users with Weibo or WeChat accounts. According to Forbes, this tweak caused an increase of 700 percent in the company’s Chinese customer base. In order to thrive in a glocal climate, all companies should adopt a similarly flexible and reactive approach.