Glocalization is a proposed solution to the perceived problems of globalization. Critics believe globalization causes conflict between an emerging worldwide system of values and regional autonomy, resulting in the destruction of local cultures. Glocalization proposes to mediate between this global system and local communities by ensuring that a globalized community would be stable and that local practices and beliefs would be respected. It often involves tailoring products intended for international distribution to the tastes of local consumers.
Basically, international companies have learned that one-size-fits-all versions of their products could fail in many markets. McDonald's Corporation, for example, has restaurants in more than 100 different countries. Instead of offering an American-style menu in a place like India, where many residents do not eat beef, McDonald's sells mostly chicken, lamb and vegetarian offerings. Likewise in 2007, Burger King went head-to-head with McDonalds for the Hawaiian Spam-lovers market (yes, the canned ham product is very popular in Hawaii) when both companies sold Spam-based breakfast menu items USA Today; though to be fair, McDonalds had crossed that culinary line in Hawaii many years earlier.
When it comes to big-ticket items, look no further than the automotive industry for examples of glocalization at work. A manufacturer like Mercedes-Benz or BMW might offer many different engine offerings and trim levels for their home market (If you leave Frankfurt's airport in a taxi, you'll probably ride in a very utilitarian Mercedes E-Class.) But the cars offered stateside are usually limited to more powerful engines and higher-end interiors; these trim packages fall in line with the American ideal of high-end German luxury cars.
Likewise, MTV Networks broadcasts in more than 20 countries. Instead of offering the same programming in every one of those countries, the network tailors each channel to suit those countries' individual tastes and features regional and international musicians. The upside is that the whole world doesn't have to see "Jersey Shore" or "Jackass" as a representation of American culture. And with satellite TV, audiences can even glocalize their living rooms. Numerous foreign-language channels can be ordered a la carte. So an immigrant from Italy can catch her favorite variety shows on RAI International, or an Egyptian expat can catch regional news from back home on Al Jazeera. No matter what your cultural preference, big companies are tailoring products for many different tastes now.
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