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UPSVoice: What McDonald’s And A Costume Shop Are Doing Right Overseas – Forbes

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By David Winzelberg

There’s no masquerading that Halloween is a favorite holiday of Rubie’s Costume Company.

But even though the New York-based maker of monster masks, Darth Vader helmets and Superman capes does most of its U.S. business leading up to that last day in October, Halloween has a lot less to do with the company’s sales overseas.

So in other places around the globe, Rubie’s focuses on the dates, events, and characters that matter to those countries and cultures.

Rubie’s owner Marc Beige said Halloween accounts for “maybe a third” of the annual business for Rubie’s UK. Instead, the company’s European division gears up for Carnival (held the same time as Mardi Gras), the biggest holiday for costumes in several countries, including Germany and France.

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Japan doesn’t celebrate Halloween or Carnival, but Beige said Rubie’s offers costumes based on characters from that country’s many-centuries-old comic book culture. “The traditions of every country are very different,” he said.

Which is why it’s so important for the company to have local knowledge of faraway places. Rubie’s operates facilities in about 13 countries outside the U.S., and sells to a lot more.

And that’s where glocalism comes in. Going glocal can mean tailoring a product or service to each location or culture in which it’s sold.

Appeal to Prevailing Taste

Take fast food giant McDonald’s. The chain already serves half a million people a day in India, where it has more than 270 restaurants.

But in an attempt to appeal to that country’s taste, you won’t find a Big Mac or McRib on the menu there. Instead, the burger chain serves the McAloo Tikki, a popular sandwich patty made out of potatoes, peas and spices.

This year, the Sikh holy city of Amritsar in the northern part of the country will be the site of McDonald’s very first all-vegetarian location.

Understand Local Habits

But it’s not just about local diets. Glocalism is also about how companies can thrive — or not — depending if they have the true skinny on the local area.

Developer Michael Polimeni recalled a shopping center his company was planning to build in central Poland a few years ago. Although he had advisors from Poland on the ground, they weren’t familiar with this particular area of the country. That’s probably why they recommended designing the center to use a one-way access road that only headed out of town. The result: The underperforming center was sold soon after and had to be redesigned to better fit the local traffic patterns.

“Had we known that the people in that area only used that road to leave town, we would have chosen to use the access road on the other side of the property,” Polimeni said.

Be Prepared for Change

Glocalism also shows how major events — both good and bad — that happen a world away can affect a company’s bottom line. Typhoons and political upheavals overseas can interrupt supply lines, slow production and eventually put a crimp in sales back home.

The challenge for companies doing business abroad, experts say, isn’t only to go glocal by gaining local knowledge, but to be prepared for the changes it precipitates.

via UPSVoice: What McDonald's And A Costume Shop Are Doing Right Overseas – Forbes.


Born in 1964, business owner, from Woodbridge, VA, owns ExcitingAds! Inc. ( and blog ( He was born in Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan. His elementary school was ST. Michael's Convent High School, Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan. Graduated high school from ST. Bonaventure's Convent High School, Hyderabad, Sind, Pakistan. His pre-med college was S. A. L. Govt. College, Mirpurkas, Sind, Pakistan. Graduated from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sind, Pakistan in 1990. Earned equivalency certification from Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, PA in 1994.

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