Local vs Global: Reshaping Marketing Strategies in the Era of AI

There is been a big shift over the years in the world of advertising – driven by the holy grail of capitalism – efficiency.

I have been taking a break from Marketing Mediator over the last month – so apologies to regular readers and podcast listeners. It was Diwali time, a festival of the biggest importance for Indians which you typically spend with your family back home.

Living in different cities, countries, and cultures is a wonderful thing, with added advantages for professionals working in marketing. One needs to have a sense of the pulse of the customers in different markets, and what is better than experiencing it yourself?

Are human beings fundamentally different when it comes to geography and culture?


Not really!

We all yearn for a good life, security, and company of loved ones, but a lot of factors impact the underlying fundamental needs:

  • History
  • Culture
  • Geographic Location
  • State of Economy
  • Politics

And I am sure you can list a lot of other factors in that list and I will not get into that here.

This brings us to a big shift that has happened over the decades in the world of advertising – one which is driven by the holy grail of capitalism – EFFICIENCY.


The big MNCs running behind efficiency have gone after centralizing the marketing efforts often divided into Headquarters, Regional hubs, and local markets.

The big tasks like brand positioning, brand books, the marketing playbooks from communication to shopper, and activations are built in HO, and expected to be cascaded to regions that then expect markets to execute them.

The markets cry foul for the power and decision-making taken out of their hands. They complain about the playbooks not being flexible enough for them to take into account local nuisances of culture and people into account, and they being reduced to making “adaptations” of the work done by people in high towers who often do not have the necessary knowledge and pulse of local markets.

The people in high towers are happy because they can showcase to their bosses and boards

a) Consistency in brand

b) Standardization of processes

c) Efficiency driving cost savings – which is what the boards love to hear and gets their eyes shining like stars.

Which is the right way to go about it in the world of marketing?

Well, no one knows for sure. It is a delicate balance that needs to be done continuously, and managing people is like a well-oiled machine. At the same time, the right level of freedom needs to be given to the local teams to ensure they can ensure adaptations are working well.

The views expressed in this article are personal, and not necessarily those of the author’s employer.

Amandeep Singh

Amandeep Singh

Amandeep is SVP - Client Solutions & Integration at VML in Mumbai.

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