All Relationships Are Local. You’ve heard this before…I hope!

We live in a schizophrenic world. On one hand we talk about how globalization has made our planet a small village—making us all more alike than different. On the other hand, the news is full of examples, many violent and sad, of just how different we really are and how important understanding those differences can be.

Ergo: All Relationships Are Local.

Advertising smoothes the rough edges of global positioning and execution: look and feel, graphics, tone and manner. You know the words. Ok, there is an occasional gaff—a product name that doesn’t translate without a rude context; colors that have deeper cultural and often counter to concept meanings; headlines and tag lines that are meaningless. Yet on the whole, it works.

But, by definition, relationships are social in nature (Stewart Pearson and Mark Taylor are the evangelists for this). And by definition that makes them super local, as local as you and I speaking or having a meal together – face to face.

To me, this principle, All Relationships Are Local, is the mantra of the new age of marketing. Globalization gives us audiences for products but relationships are what sell. And…All Relationships are Local!

It’s not one or the other – globalization is a factor and an important one. It’s the realization that the tension between globalization and localization is complex, yes, but it’s also addressable.

As the following says:

It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.
– Steven Wright

And there you have it! Put away your paintbrushes…

Your thoughts?

p.s. – Newsweek carried a piece by Daniel Gross that was really focused on US business audiences but does carry the kill the big paint bucket message and in that sense is universal. The Article was called “Mickey’s Management Mojo” ( and here is an excerpt:

“Finally, every CEO should take at least three or four rides on It’s a Small World and then spent the rest of the day in Epcot. For years, the United States has been shrinking as a global economic force, a trend that is accelerating with the continuing boom in Asia and the domestic slowdown. For more and more companies, future growth and prosperity will depend on penetrating foreign markets. But Americans aren’t so much innocents abroad as ignoramuses abroad. A day at Disney can remedy all that. It’s a Small World is like an animated version of Thomas Friedman’s “The World Is Flat.” Epcot allows visitors to immerse themselves in the cultures and cuisines of 11 countries, from Mexico to Norway, in 40 compact acres.

Of course, it should be noted that despite the great efforts made to create authenticity—the Japanese hibachi joint was staffed entirely by Japanese—Epcot doesn’t provide a uniformly realistic experience. In Epcot’s European countries, the dollar still retains some value.”

So while this does skew towards our US colleagues – there are lessons for all…

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