Guest Column: Globalisation is a multi-faceted construct
The first derivative of globalisation is resource allocation, while the second is mktg conduct & outcomes, says Shubhranshu Singh, Mktg Director - India & South Asia, Visa
Over the past couple of long weekends, a couple of conversations prompted me to think about the profound impact that globalisation has on our conscious mind, particularly as we relate to things as consumers (and of course, as marketers!).
Two of my team members from my earlier jobs called to seek my advice and help in enabling a job change for ‘furthering their careers’. Both were insistent that they had “MNC experience with global brands”. Given my philosophical mood over a monsoon soaked weekend, I got into an interrogative conversation on how exactly they could substantiate the value of such an experience. Needless to say, we had a short conversation, but promised to reconnect soon!
Not their fault. Globalisation is a multi-faceted construct. I have little or no expertise in international economics to discuss its effects in various dimensions, but will perforce stay within my vocational domain – marketing and communications – to build an argument.
The first and obvious derivative of globalisation is asset/ resource allocation and the second derivative is marketing conduct and outcomes.
For the purpose of this argument, ‘globalisation’ refers to the process of increasing social and cultural inter-connectedness besides economic, environmental, financial assimilation and dependencies.
It is driven by competitive urgency, advances in communication and transportation technologies, and trade liberalisation. Its most manifest form is the emergence of global markets for goods and services, labour, and financial capital.
Globalisation’s most profound implication for marketers is that it drives people to change their ways of living.
Marketing confluence driven by globalisation has its clearest theory in the study of signs and sign processes (Semiosis), indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication – namely, the revealing answers lie in Semiotics.
It is acknowledged that the semiotician’s priorities are to study signification first and communication second. To that extent, marketing communication again is a derivative.
Nonetheless, semiotic profundity can make a towering brand. Culture codes strongly influence the ‘desi flavour’ so loved in marketing. If the company is unaware of a culture’s codes, is unlikely to put wheels on a global brand on local roads.
The reasons my ex-colleagues were entitled to their pride in having worked with global brands, I feel, are as follows:
• Global marketing is shaping a global consumer culture
• Therein, associations are primary, but rational attributes are subsidiary and often just hygiene
• Just as human emotions are universal, so can be brand-linked associations
• Validation and congruency creates a sense of the larger world
• What needs a specialist’s lens is why, almost always, these validations and common codes are transferred from more economically developed to less developed economies? When will India be a net exporter of brand codes?
• Global marketing prompts corporations to change their ways of conducting business, and events transpiring in different parts of the world can have dramatic consequences for other parts of the world at a faster pace, thanks to technology and media.
Therefore, marketers must understand globalisation, appreciate it in the right sense and adapt to/ leverage it for more than making richer resumes.
The author is Marketing Director – India and South Asia, Visa. Views expressed here are personal
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