Jitendra Madhav Ramchandani

June 26, 2018

How to build a global product or service?

Since humans were 'dropped' on the earth they have developed local languages, cultures, and societies unique to their part of the world. These cultures define and influence the way people express themselves. Different cultures express things differently, sometimes gestures, facial expressions or a doodle tend to work when we don't know the other language and want to convey our message. Interactions between societies that happen in the form of products, services, forms of arts and sciences each culture have to offer the other, are also examples of communication.
Every offering is a communication.
In today's connected world it has become magically easier to access markets across cultures and sell what you have in your basket. It is so easy to interact with consumers from any part of the world. The focus though is set on the technology rather than how 'humane' the offering is? Technology should be considered as a channel, not a context, not an objective. If the consumer is not able to perceive the context and is not able to relate to/benefit from it, the communication or offer fails.
Technology is a horse to ride, not the context.
A few examples of truly global offerings (as products, services, arts, sciences and everything).

  • Pizza, a typical Neapolitan meal, has a global presence. Can you find a city where you don't find a pizza eatery? (Think why)
  • Yoga - Originated in India; Practiced everywhere. (Think why)
  • Ford's Model T - These were the first-of-its-kind cars introduced in the 1900s meant for the common American. It took no time for this company to quadruple its profits. (Think why)
  • Movies, like, Titanic or adventures of Jurassic Park doesn't necessarily need translation.
  • Charlie Chaplin’s silent movies were very well connected to the masses and are still relevant in today's 'loud' world. (Think why)
  • When cartoons were limited to a corner of newspapers Disney created animated cartoons and won Oscars! Tell me a child who does not know Mickey Mouse (Think why)
  • Who imagined Whatsapp will do so much better than any other messenger in the Internet history! (Think why it disrupted the market which was dominated by giants like MSN, Yahoo and Google Talk)
  • Google Search – Can you live a day without Google? (Think why)
  • iPad/iPhone – Microsoft and HP were ahead of Apple in launching their tablets but iPad was a classic success and iPhone (and other smartphones) caused the mass extinction of Nokia phones. (Think why)
Think why these offerings are/were loved by the world irrespective of language barriers and cultural differences.
All these offerings have given the experiences which consumers desire (knowingly or unknowingly), or, if not, they found that these offerings cared about them and their individual experiences and these are useful too.

Pizza and Coke are communicating taste and a quick option to fill; yoga is communicating wellness; Ford's T model is communicating affordable comfort and speed of travel/time saving; a movie or painting is communicating a dream/fiction/reality that people can relate to; James Bond is communicating style and determination; WhatsApp is communicating the ease of messaging, who knew a gang of odd 40 people will produce something that will wipe out Gtalk, MSN and Yahoo messengers and email to a great extent! Even grandparents today are able to use Whatsapp easily, quickly and confidently, this wasn't the case with other messengers and email services!

Because customers are buying a product or service doesn't actually mean they love it. Buying and selling are nothing more than a commercial activity which involves give-and-take. But how many of these customers actually love what you offer, how many of them feel satisfied, accomplished and can relate themselves to what you offer?
Is your offering focussing on thier needs, thier experience and thier satisfaction?
These all have influenced people across all hemispheres because of some common traits which bring the two entities - the producer and consumer closer to each other erasing all the cultural and regional boundaries.
Is your offering humane?
Whether it is a cabbie service, flying scooter, a digital product, or any offering; it should be shaped in and around the following:
  • Should have a purpose; should be useful, simple to use, should have a "personality" and aesthetics.
  • It should derive a sense of accomplishment among users, the consumer should feel happy, satisfied and accomplished.
  • Should be honest – As Dieter Rams said “It does not make a product appear more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept”
  • People can relate to it, your offering should create a sense of belongingness and must be able to adapt to accommodate the local dynamics as a result of cultural and economic differences.
These traits define human values and drive the message across cultures with higher acceptance.

What do you think, makes a product or service, truly global?


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