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You're probably not global. Nor are you domestic. You are semi-global.

Pankaj Ghemawat of IESE has a nice series of videos on the Financial Times web site on globalization strategies. Click here for the first video, and here for the second.

He makes the point in these videos that many companies are really semi-global. In my experience, this is true, for the following reasons:

1. Most companies with a domestic profile are actually dealing with multiple cultures. In the USA, the Latino, African-American, and white populations often have distinct value systems and expectations -- with variations depending on where in the USA you are. 

2. Most companies with a "global" profile are really doing most of their business in just a few countries, and are reluctant to completely innovate their product and service line to be completely compatible with the demands of local markets -- thus making their offerings partially local, partially "global". 

3. Many companies in economically unified areas that are nevertheless diverse in terms of language and culture may have to market across cultures with print, broadcast and cable ads in order to take advantage of their ad spend size -- but run into serious issues when they fail to create ads that speak intelligibly in all the cultures they must address. Not to mention having to deal with some local customs and regulations regarding truth in advertising.

So, taking advantage of one's size, extra resources, range of resources, and so on, can be challenging for a global company -- even more so for a semi-global one whose pockets aren't as deep as huge multinationals, and where the margin for error is therefore smaller. We can't all be Wal-Mart, whose essay into Germany cost them billions of dollars -- a mere drop in their revenue bucket. They tucked tail and left the country. Semi-global companies would find a similar loss disastrous.

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