We first saw attempts at globalization when the explorers began to leave their home countries—Vikings from Scandinavia, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch (the Dutch West India Company used New Amsterdam—now New York—as headquarters for their fur trade). These explorers were economically motivated. It wasn’t scientific—it was trade. The Silk Route between China and Europe is another example of early global trade.
These early explorers were expanding empires and seeking economic opportunity. That’s why Columbus got funding for the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria ships in 1492. In the 19th century we saw British, Dutch and others in Africa and India. In the mid-20th century we witnessed a serious advance of the American economic empire, paving the way by the 1960’s for selling american brands like Coca-Cola to Europeans and others. Then came more sophisticated distribution, local manufacturing and finally acknowledged the importance of local taste. Eventually unique brands were created only for local non-U.S. markets.
We also saw the emergence of global brands that are globally managed and have little or nothing to do with their original local taste. This dawning of globalization has to be managed differently. This goes beyond adapting a brand from an original national market for a local market. Opportunities now are based on starting from scratch with a new breed of global understanding. This is not about a reworked national brand, nor is it possible for a domestically oriented person to have the necessary skills to succeed in today’s world. This is all new.