Are you ‘multi-local’ yet?

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Apparently, the concept of “global” has had it’s day – what we need to talk about now is “multi-local”. At least that is what my marketing guru tells me. The theory is that all customers are local and need to be treated as such.

Malory Davies FCILT, Editor.

Malory Davies FCILT, Editor.

Landor, the brand management company, has taken the idea even further with the concept of “The Brand Community”, which, it says, debunks two sacrosanct practices: treating all audiences the same and considering all brand expressions equally.

Instead it identifies three levels of communities that play a major role in shaping a brand: experts, practitioners, and employees.

And, it prioritises brand expressions into: Sacred – elements that fundamentally define the brand and cannot be changed; Interpretative – aspects that can be adapted based on context, market, or geography; and Exploratory: characteristics that can be freely adapted to allow more creativity.

Such thinking is clearly going to have an impact on supply chains. If markets are going to be regarded as multi-local rather than global, then supply chains must be structured to support that.

Of course, there are already lots of strategies, such as postponement, for serving local markets. But the multi-local concept could add a whole new level of complexity to supply chain operations.

A lot has been made of the “retreat from globalisation” implicit in the election of Donald Trump as US president and the UK Brexit vote, and these issues are already having an impact on supply chain thinking.

If the marketing people are right, and multi-localism takes off in a big way, then the challenges facing supply chain professionals are going to multiply rapidly.

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