Welcome to the kickoff of Brand2Global’s updated 2016 Brand Insights by Dr. Nitish Singh , Associate Professor International Business & Director Program Innovations at the Boeing Inst. of International Business, St. Louis University and Co-Organizer of Brand2Global Conference.
In the 20th century, we realized the full effects of the Industrial Revolution, with accelerated industrial production and urbanization, followed by a boom in global population (as witnessed with the population growth of almost 400 percent!) However, it looks like the 21st century is already on its way to set records in: accelerated pace of globalization; exponential increase in computer processing power; prevalence of ubiquitous technological connectivity; emergence of nanotech and 3-D printing; and let’s not forget we also broke the hottest year records in 2014 and 2015. What we are experiencing is the emergence of a highly complex global system wherein disciplinary boundaries are being blurred to produce rapid innovations and changes. These changes are disrupting traditional industries and traditional ‘silo-based’ careers. Yet, ‘Marketing’ as a profession cannot stay silo, but instead has to embrace broader expertise from different functional departments and different disciplines. In fact, marketing in the 21st century is by definition ‘Global’, thriving in the intersection of technology and social sciences.
From the perspective of a 21st century marketer, the only guarantee of success is to continuously equip oneself with cutting edge inter-disciplinary skills. The skills that can truly help marketers make sense of rapid globalization, societal change and hyper-connectivity. The days of just learning traditional marketing concepts such as: the 4 P’s of Marketing; the basics of social media; and the strategies of branding, appear to be coming to an end.
Companies must respond to these constantly evolving global megatrends, and they need professionals who can anticipate, provide, and leverage the skills to help organizations constantly reinvent themselves in a globalized world. For example, what is needed are skills that can help companies leverage hyper-connectivity to redefine their engagement with global customer communities, and skills that can help companies localize their offerings to the growing creolization of global consumer markets.
However, universities are not proactively integrating thought leadership with the action-oriented training needed to equip future global marketers. Nor have I seen many conferences or corporate training courses that respond to the simultaneous megatrends of globalization and creolization, and the accelerating role of technological connectivity.
The challenge toward creating such thought leadership and courses is that the forces of globalization and technological change are disrupting traditional disciplinary boundaries. The 21st century marketing skills of today combine aspects from many areas such as: media studies; geo-politics; linguistics; internationalization (i18n); localization (l10n); social media; user experience & design; psychometrics; cultural values; semiotics; storytelling (Anthropology); and automation technology. In academia, universities wedded to their traditional disciplinary boundaries find it difficult to create inter-disciplinary offerings that can effectively train global marketers. In fact, universities have yet to fully confront the impact characterized by rapid globalization, technological connectivity, and discipline-confounding new paradigms. Consequently, companies find it challenging to identify and cultivate talent that combines these cutting-edge skills.
There are not many industry events or conferences with the 21st century vision to produce learning events that bridge multiple disciplines. In fact, conferences have become too compartmentalized to adequately weave in inter-disciplinary insights to share real growth hacks necessary for successful global marketing. For example, If I do a browser search or look in my various Linkedin groups – I see a great number of conferences in social media marketing; I also see a plethora of conferences in content marketing and localization. But what I do not see are conferences or courses that combine all the ideas of global branding, localization, consumer behavior, digital media engagement, and storytelling with the grit of the harsh geo-cultural realities of today’s world. To remedy this deficit in knowledge and skills is a Herculean effort, but we have to start somewhere.
From this need was born a conversation with The Localization Institute and myself. (The Localization Institute co-produces LocWorld, the leading conference for international business, translation, localization and global website management.) We knew the challenge was to weave these disparate fields into a coherent agenda that simultaneously expands their interdisciplinary scope while coherently integrating the knowledge. We started with the industry event first – which became the Brand2Global Conference for Global Marketers. In order to blend expertise from a variety of fields , we settled on the conference panel format. The panel structure allows for analyzing key global marketing challenges and opportunities through an inter-disciplinary lens. We invited thought leaders and experts in the fields of global branding, global marketing, digital media marketing, content marketing, localization, and cross-cultural management to join an Advisory Board which would help shape the conference agenda and programming.
Once the conference was launched, we spent over a year to develop an online, interactive certificate program which further enhanced the learning process – which is the Dual Certification & Certificate program in Global Digital Marketing and Localization (GDML-C). This unique online certificate program combines skills in Global Digital Media Marketing (Web/Social Media/Search), Global Search Engine Marketing, Global Content Marketing, Digital Media Localization, and Managing Global Digital Media Marketing Campaigns. Integration of these many areas was an uphill challenge, finding the right experts and combing interdisciplinary inputs in a multimedia rich, interactive online format. Another unique aspect of this effort was the academic-industry collaboration wherein professors from the U.S., Germany, and the U.K., together with industry experts from companies such as: Accenture, Accor, Lego, Microsoft, Nielsen, and SAP, came together for content development. These interdisciplinary experts contributed insights to make this a program that can train global marketing professionals in cutting-edge global marketing skills that are needed to succeed in the brave new digital world of the 21st century, and now our success stories are starting to be realized with the first round of graduates!
Certificate & Certification in Global Digital Marketing & Localization: www.certificateindigitalmarketing.com
Brand2Global: Global Marketing Conference: www.brand2global.com