Horsky on GloCal Packaging: balancing global scale with local relevance

Packaging Strategies featured Gil Horsky’s article on the topic of how to balance the desire for global scale and consistency, with the need for local relevance.

Below are excerpts from the Packaging Strategies article:  

The term “Think global, act local” was first coined in the context of environmental challenges, but has taken on a much wider meaning in recent years.

The desire by multi-nationals and their marketing teams to drive a consistent proposition, packaging and design across markets and geographies is clear. It enables to quickly roll-out from one market to another, providing speed to market, manufacturing scale and marketing efficiencies. However, in-market experience has shown that whilst global design is effective, it can sometimes fall short in local market context where the retail environment is different and consumers might have different traditions, tastes and preferences.

This is why Global-Local (GloCal) packaging should be an essential component in any global marketing plan, requiring proper due diligence, to carefully understand the local market context and consumer needs.

There are three key actions companies, marketers and pack designers can follow in order to have a successful GloCal Packaging strategy.


Defining the “distinctive assets”  

Any design and packaging project requires thinking upfront about what are the “core” and “flex” aspects of the brand and design.

The core aspects are the ones that need to stay consistent globally across markets. It is key to understand what your consumers already associate with your brand – it is what will help you protect it.  Professor Byron Sharp from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute calls this “distinctive assets”, and it could be specific colors, shapes, packaging, your brand name or even your country of origin. Toblerone is a great example of a brand that has distinctive assets that are core to the proposition and are consistent globally: it has a unique triangle chocolate and pack shape, and Switzerland is proudly labeled as the country of origin.

That being said, it is important to give regional freedom to use local knowledge to customize appropriately, and make final decisions on all aspects that were defined early on in the process as “flex.”

You can read the full article on the Packaging Strategies website.