Glocalization is a concept that reflects the basic idea of transition from globalization to localization and integration of these practices. In other words, glocalization implies that businesses, NGO’s, or governments place great importance on how global products or practices fit into the local context. This paper aims to analyze the glocalization concept and discuss how it is applied in China in the L’Oreal Group case study.
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Glocalization Concept, Literature Review
Scientists understood the importance of glocalization a decade ago, and since then, a lot of literature has been devoted to this issue. Grigorescu & Zaif (2017) note that globalization of business involves promoting and selling standardized products and services. On the opposite, glocalization describes how international brands adapt to local sociocultural factors and consumer needs. Scientists also emphasize that the term first appeared in the late 1980s in an article published by Japanese scientists in the Harvard Business Review. The article explained that glocalization emphasizes the features and details of a global idea, while globalization is based on worldwide standardization.
Other scientists are studying the phenomenon in more detail, analyzing brands such as Disneyland, Coca-Cola, Nike, and Adidas. Specifically, Galvez (2018) says that Disney used a glocalization strategy to launch Shanghai Disneyland in 2016. The company used adapted commercials that featured culturally relevant themes of harmonious balance and cultural identity to promote the service. The park was also named “China Disneyland”; notably, the park’s Weibo ads did not include the park’s photographs featuring people. Further, Wenjie (2019) notes that executives used a strategy of creating an emotional attachment to the brand in their marketing campaign for China Disneyland, which helped its further glocalization. Li (2019) then examines the intertextuality of Nike and Adidas ad campaigns for the Chinese market and concludes that intertextuality mediates glocalization.
Some researchers are looking at more general trends related to the concept. For example, Kim et al. (2020) analyze how language and ethnicity influence the perception of glocalized luxury products. According to scholars, a bilingual name is effective in making a purchase decision, but keeping a foreign name is associated with a stronger perception of the brand’s luxury. Shi (2019) examines Coca-Cola as an example of the proper use of social media to successfully glocalize a brand and highlights the value of co-branding between consumers and retailers. Further, Hwang et al. (2018) examine the potential for successful glocalization of Korean cuisine, noting that the main reasons for preference include sociocultural factors that positively influence customer satisfaction.
Finally, Soulard et al. (2019) say that travel companies use glocalization strategies to provide tourists with transformative experiences. According to scholars, in this case, glocalization strategies focus on creating experiences that reflect the local cultural context and consider travelers’ worldview. Besides, Li & Phelps (2019) believe that the concept of glocalization can be applied to planning the economic development of metropolitan areas, particularly for inter-city relationships.
L’Oreal Group and Its Glocalized Practices
The L’Oreal Group is a renowned global brand of women’s cosmetics, whose China division was founded in 1997 with headquarters in Shanghai and offices in 5 other cities. L’Oreal managed to conquer the country’s market, develop 25 popular brands, create a research center, a training center, and build two factories in Yichang and Suzhou (L’Oreal China, n.d.). Today China is the second-largest market for the company’s products. Besides, the L’Oreal Group is a responsible employer with 10,000 employees in the Chinese subsidiary.
L’Oréal China CEO Fabrice Megarbein says that new types of consumption are opening up many opportunities in the Chinese market. In this regard, the company sells goods online and offline, and in 2019 made an important decision to build factories with zero carbon emissions. Fabrice Megarbein also emphasizes that L’Oreal is a beauty laboratory, thanks to its research center. The company declares many responsibilities to the planet, people, and product quality. Specifically, L’Oreal’s responsibilities to the planet include combating climate change, managing water resources sustainably, respecting biodiversity, conserving natural resources, and investing in nature. The company ensures that it respects human rights, cares for employees, empowers communities, and fosters diversity and inclusion. Product safety and quality are ensured through research and innovation and the use of environmental labeling and product design. The company also attracts partners and start-ups and follows digital and technical events.
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It must be admitted that these practices are a reflection of the successful integration of the glocalization strategy and product adaptation for the Chinese market. As mentioned above, unlike globalization, glocalization is not aimed at the broadest possible coverage of the market. On the contrary, the implementation of this vision assumes that the company is focused on its products’ quality and demonstrates ethical production practices and humane treatment of employees. In the case presented, L’Oreal Group also shows a responsible attitude towards the planet and the environment. This approach creates positive consequences for cross-cultural communication, allowing integration of traditional European and Chinese cultural values.
L’Oreal hosts many events to draw attention to its products and maintain the right company image. For example, on July 3, 2020, the company held a Green Parcel graffiti competition dedicated to sustainable development in Juhuasuan (L’Oreal unveils its bold sustainability targets, n.d.). During the vent, the company’s sustainable development strategy for 2030 was announced. Within this program’s framework, the project of promoting sustainable consumption “Good Planet, See U” for 2020 deserves special attention. The company continues to reduce carbon emissions associated with the company’s industrial activities (Fighting climate change, n.d.). Equally important, L’Oreal uses renewable energy sources whenever possible or produces its independent sources such as biomass, bio mechanization, and solar panels. The company’s overall goal for 2030 is to bring greenhouse gas emissions in line with the + 1.5 ° C scenario, which means a 50% reduction in emissions for each product.
As part of managing natural resources consumption, L’Oreal encourages using renewable raw materials from clean sources and clean chemicals and is working to increase recycling, creating a circular economy. 59% of L’Oreal’s raw materials today are produced from renewable sources. In 2019, the company replaced 13204 tons of primary materials with secondary ones and disposed of 97% of the waste that could not be reused. Moreover, L’Oreal is committed to sustainable use of water resources, contributing to this resource’s conservation. As part of community empowerment, L’Oreal is exploring new forms of collaboration and focusing on improving women’s rights, health, and living standards (Empowering communities, n.d.). The company provides fair wages to all employees and promotes environmental excellence, which positively impacts communities.
Thus, the glocalization concept was analyzed, and the L’Oreal Group case study was presented to illustrate the idea. Notably, glocalization focuses on providing quality services both internationally and locally, as opposed to globalization, aiming to reach the broadest possible market coverage and sell standardized products. L’Oreal is successfully pursuing its glocalization strategy by implementing ethical practices in production and concerning employees. The consequence of the company adhering to glocalization principles is productive cross-cultural communication and the successful integration of European and Chinese traditional values.
Galvez, C. M. (2018). Authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese: a case study of glocalization through Shanghai Disneyland’s brand narrative. Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations, 6(1), 1-13.
Grigorescu, A., & Zaif, A. (2017). The concept of glocalization and its incorporation in global brands’ marketing strategies. International Journal of Business and Management Invention, 6(1), 70-74.
Empowering communities (n.d.).
Fighting climate change (n.d.).
Hwang, J., Kim, S. S., Choe, J. Y. J., & Chung, C. H. (2018). Exploration of the successful glocalization of ethnic food: a case of Korean food. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 30(12), 3656-3676.
Kim, S., Yi Luk, K., Xia, B., Xu, N., & Yin, X. (2020). Brand name and ethnicity of endorser in luxury goods: does a glocalization strategy work in China? International Journal of Advertising, 39(6), 824-842.
Li, S. (2019). Intertextuality as a strategy of glocalization: a comparative study of Nike’s and Adidas’s 2008 advertising campaigns in China. Semiotica, 2(23), 495-513.
Li, Y., & Phelps, N. A. (2019). Megalopolitan glocalization: the evolving relational economic geography of intercity knowledge linkages within and beyond China’s Yangtze River Delta region, 2004-2014. Urban Geography, 40(9), 1310-1334.
L’Oreal China (n.d.).
Shi, Y. (2019). Glocalization in China: An Analysis of Coca-Cola’s Brand Co-Creation Process with Consumers in China. Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository, 6(1), 77-83.
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Soulard, J., McGehee, N. G., & Stern, M. (2019). Transformative tourism organizations and glocalization. Annals of Tourism Research, 76(3), 91-104.
Wenjie, Y. (2019). Disney’s Glocalization in Shanghai: the emotional branding strategy. In 2019 3rd International Conference on Education, Culture and Social Development. Atlantis Press.