“The world is getting smaller” was once an excuse for creating globally homogenized communications programs. And, by the way, it is still being done and in many instances successfully.
It could be argued that perception, i.e., advertising, can be global. You can get off a plane, just about anywhere in the world, and airports, everywhere ,display a good percentage of the same images—from the same companies, sending the same messages.
It could be argued that some products and services do the same around the core experience. Starbucks is Starbucks in Seattle, Paris, Madrid or Hong Kong. While each region sells a slightly different mix of food products, the core offering; style; coffee and overall feeling remains the same. And they are doing it successfully, so it seems.
We have always argued (rightly I think) while image, product and service can be homogenized to degrees, the motivation for selling, connecting, creating relationships must be localized and the more localized, the better it is. “All Relationships Are Local” is the way we, at Wunderman, describe it.
Mark Penn, the Chairman of Burson-Marsteller, who is famous for a similar philosophy, has just written a new, highly praised, book:
Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes (http://www.amazon.com/Microtrends-Forces-Behind-Tomorrows-Changes/dp/0446580961/ref=sr_1_1/104-1319020-7247945?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190557950&sr=1-1)
The book makes a strong case for our way of thinking and executing.
That said, I was struck by the death of one of my favorite performers this weekend—Marcel Marceau—a man who, without words, broke down the barriers of human communication and created a global language of empathy that people, of all kinds, and everywhere understood and cherished.
That led me to wondering – do we, unlike Marcel Marceau who broke down communication to the very basics, overcomplicate our message. And when we do, do we lose sight of the basic idea and its implications.
While thinking of Marceau and his contributions I came upon the following quote which, in its absurdity, is quite provoking:
“If you shoot at mimes, should you use a silencer?”
There you have it…and if you shoot at Ad people…? God forbid…
By the way Marcel Marceau spoke once in a movie: name the movie and what he said, and the first 5 people get a copy of Mark Penn’s book…