Think global and act local is a critical strategy for most global companies and modifying one’s core business culture and practices to suit a new market is the key to survival. It is perhaps unrealistic to expect that a brand is decoded in a similar way the world over. So, to be able to reach out to relevant audiences – be it customers, partners or consumers – Companies need to put things in a way that they are comfortable with and in a form which is acceptable. Every brand has to have local alignment.
Employees always look for a global image with localized systems. Along with country-specific legal and statutory variations, culture also varies. For any organization to be successful in a particular geography, brand positioning needs to be sensitive to these differences. Corporate companies struggle to control the veil between the brand and the target audience. Indian society is fundamentally less individualistic than its western counterparts. Therefore, global brands must appeal to the Indian audience’s sense of values, culture and bonding. If a brand desires universal acceptance then it must define itself in human terms
Branding is all about meeting people’s aspirations. If so, then with the kind of Westernization that has swept the country, it means Western firms find it easier to build a brand in India. While Indianizing a brand does not attract or detract talent, brand globalization attracts higher-end talent due to the growing desire of the Indian middle class to be viewed as ‘hot and happening’. Global companies leverage their global image and at the same time customize their policies to Indian conditions, identify with the global brand and at the same time, customize policies with the Indian scenario by offering global careers which, in itself, is a very strong pull factor.
It is a challenge to achieve some sort of balance between an organization’s conflicting identities, need to retain the international look and feel, yet adapt to the Indian market. The mix has to be perfect for the right image to be projected. The value proposition of global brands may be both strong as well as entrenched in the Indian mind, but making the proposition relevant to that target might prove to be another matter altogether . Local needs and global brand images do not necessarily operate on mutually exclusive terms.
A classic example of how Indian companies globalize themselves would be that of Wipro infotech. A major part of Wipro infotech’s operations are based in the Middle East, South Asia and Australia. These countries although closer than North America or Europe, are culturally extremely different from India. So the company has appointed local people in client-facing roles like project managers and sales and business professionals. This puts the clients at ease. We can move people from India, but there’s a time lag that happens. When customers demand quick turnarounds, transporting people from India in large numbers is not possible; lots of issues creep in.
Indian companies are consciously trying to globalize their image, while global firms Indianize theirs, in order to connect to the talent pool.
So it is always prudent to deploy locals. For one, there’s continuity because of the native country factor, which is a must in client interface. Retaining locals is also easy as there’s no pressure to move back to any other country of origin.
Any CEO or CTO of a global organization needs to have an understanding of how Indian IT works.
It is a good combination of factors such as the employer brand, job profile and compensation that appeals the most to candidates. People respond more positively to organizations they can relate to, be it in terms or behavior, values language, etc. It therefore makes eminent sense to localize.