Think global, ad local to reach your audience

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When the world started getting smaller, more companies began building global empires in an attempt to take over. If Napoleon were alive today, he'd surely be CEO of some giant conglomerate, busily planning the conquest of some unsuspecting country whose economy is ripe for the picking.

We're all talking about it-how our companies are going to seize new continents because we've got a better way of doing it, whatever it might be. Even when there are plenty of good customers still to be found in our own backyard, the appeal of overtaking Europe, Asia or South America is far too tempting to resist.

So what does it mean to be No. 1 world-wide? And why should we care when we're sitting in our office, wondering what traffic will be like on tonight's commute home?

The truth is, your global capability means nothing unless you communicate it on a personal level to your audience. And that's the difference between sending out a relevant global message versus one that's as fleeting as an $800 dinner in Hong Kong for some strategic partnership that will never amount to anything because you're on the plane back to Pittsburgh the next morning.

Take a look at Danzas AEI Intercontinental. It claims to be "No. 1 worldwide ... but more concerned with being your first choice." Here is a weak attempt to suggest that the company's imperialistic pursuit is for our benefit. From the perspective of the Chasers, it's far too transparent. The copy's phrases, such as "leading global player" and "all from a single source," are cliché and far too impersonal. And the visual images are weak: a man with a smarmy smile holding a globe, a jet engine, computer screens and shipping docks. While these images are supposed to represent dynamic, worldwide business, in the end they don't do much to stop the reader.

The same is true for Global Crossing Ltd. The graphic-a sphere of overlapping Web screen shots being encircled by some kind of spectral white dots-offers little personal connection, though surely the art director who created it derived a great deal of personal satisfaction in demonstrating his or her mastery of PhotoShop. Give us a representation of the globe that carries some significance, one that speaks to us about the impact global reach can have on our businesses. Even the copy leaves us feeling empty when we read, "It's what happens when the most advanced network on earth meets the world's richest content to take your business anywhere on the planet." To communicate its global message, Global Crossing needs to come down to earth.

On the other hand, the folks at Fujitsu have got the right idea when they say, "No two eyes see the same world. No two businesses are identical." The ad boasts of the company's global dominance but quickly communicates the benefit to the reader. "With 60,000 IT service and support professionals and operations in over 100 countries, no matter where you are, we're right at your side. Observing your business from your perspective. Understanding your objectives. Responding to your customers." It makes an honest attempt to speak to our needs in a way we can appreciate.

It's a small world that's getting smaller every day. Leveraging our ability to conquer it-and, most important, communicating that power to the right audience-is an immense challenge that could very well determine who will be the conquerors and who will be the conquered.

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