National versus Regional Sports Marketing: An Interpretation of 'Think Globally, Act Locally'

By Bradish, Cheri L.; Stevens, Julie A. et al. | International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, September-October 2003 | Go to article overview

National versus Regional Sports Marketing: An Interpretation of 'Think Globally, Act Locally'


Bradish, Cheri L., Stevens, Julie A., Lathrop, Anna H., International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship


Few would question that one of the most significant determinants of growth in the sport industry--from a sport management, marketing, and sponsorship perspective--has been the influence of globalization. Product expansion and communication messages have targeted the 'global consumer, 'and the recognition of a 'global brand" has come to epitomize successful sport marketing. Or, has it? Although global management practices present the possibility of expanded consumer markets, a number of marketing strategists have recently begun to question the use of standardized global marketing campaigns that lack national or regional distinctiveness. At issue, is the positioning of "regionalism' within global sport marketing strategies. This paper will investigate the role of 'regionalism' in sport marketing through; a) an examination of the regional sport marketing strategy of a leading Canadian all-sports television cable network (Rogers Sportsnet) that targets four distinct regions across Canada, and b) a survey of Canadian Generation Y youth sport participation and spectatorship trends across four regions. Implications for regional positioning within sport marketing strategies will also be discussed.

Think Globally, Act Locally

This paper investigates the role of 'regionalism' in sport marketing through; a) an examination of the regional sport marketing strategy of a leading Canadian all-sports television cable network (Rogers Sportsnet) that targets four distinct regions across Canada, and b) a survey of Canadian Generation Y youth sport participation and spectatorship trends across four regions. On the one hand, regionalization elevates the importance of regional offices and encourages the decision making process to be closer to specific consumer markets. Although each perspective is beneficial, a combination of the two can enhance the overall effect of a marketing campaign (Cousens & Slack, 1996). One example of a corporation that seems to have captured the essence of the 'think globally, act locally' approach is HSBC Holdings, one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world. HSBC, whose adopted slogan, 'the world's local bank', emphasizes local knowledge in its marketing literature. In fact, HSBC uses sport as the vehicle through which they communicate their regional strategy (see Figure 1).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

On the other hand, globalization allows corporations to improve coordination, capture product synergy, foster global-oriented marketing strategies, and develop global marketing managers (Laidler & Quelch, 1998). Although multinational marketing strategies are most effective when they target national markets, it is also desirable to coordinate multinational marketing mix strategies on a 'regional' basis (Quelch & Bartlett, 1999). With the advent of a more global focus on the world economy in the 1980's (Adler, 2003) 'think globally, act locally' emerged as a slogan for a variety of causes and actions, including economic and business development (Adler, 2003). This marketing strategy soon became universally adopted as the most effective means of reaching new and untapped markets. For the purpose of this paper and in conjunction with management and marketing communication literature (Moss Kanter, 2003), global perspectives will refer to those which are more generic in their positioning, and as such, may include national marketing discourse; whereas regional, or local messages, will be those considered to be much more specific and tailored to the communities they represent, and may include cities, states, and regions.

P&G, recognized as one of the world's best managed and marketed brand companies, A has made a commitment to the 'think globally, act locally' philosophy. Strategically responding to market conditions, P&G is renown for developing long-term, global adaptations, while seeking to meet specific consumer segment needs. By acting globally, the company created recognized international brands under the auspices of one company, one culture, and one multinational training model. …

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