The rise of Local-Global

written by Alistair Turner

One of the key trends that emerged in 2020, and that has grown throughout 2021, is the juxtaposition between Global and Local behaviours. In 2020, Euromonitor International’s Top 10 Global Trends report highlighted a move that it called ‘Proudly Local, Going Global’.

The report addressed the pride and power in local culture, that was becoming more sharply defined and relevant in 2020. The trend captured a growing consumer desire to adopt and appeal to a sense of individuality and growing national identity from local inspiration. This was set against the growing expectation for multinationals to respond appropriately and creatively to local culture, social norms and consumer habits.

At the same time, the report addressed a growing connection between consumers and societies with the wider world; brought on by heightened awareness around the pandemic, the need to collectively solve large issues such as global warming, and the increasing ability of technology to connect individuals, colleagues, and families, otherwise stuck in their homes, with others around the world.

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This global awareness, combined with more local community values, is affecting the way societies behave on a day-to-day basis, but it is almost directly reflected by a trend that has been growing for some time within the meetings and events industry; roadshows. These roadshows, now often described as ‘hub and spoke’ model meetings, are created to achieve the same juxtaposition as the global consumer trend; a mixture of global convening with localised tailoring to reflect local needs and subject matters.

In previous editions, this report has covered the growing incidence of roadshows as a model that can work on a local, national, and international basis and now, through the increase development and confidence in technology, these events can run simultaneously and across multiple time zones. The structure of this model could differ; from a main hub city surrounded by other cities within a chosen country; using a central country across a continent or wider region; or having a destination hub across a global meeting.

In each case, the opportunity to ‘localise’ content whilst still enjoying the value of bringing people together on a mass participation scale, provides the best of both worlds for the delegate and the meeting organiser. Equally, the format, lends itself to more sustainable events as delegates will typically cut down on travel time. Finally, it exploits the abundance of streaming technology that has been created and refined over the last 18 months.

The hub and spoke model should be of additional interest for those in the destination and venue sector. The trend points towards a reduction in mass gatherings of professionals from around the world, to a series of smaller ones with a slightly larger central hub. This means, the way that destinations pitch for business will be less around the infrastructure needed to hold every single delegate, to its ability to show capabilities around media, streaming infrastructure, and an understanding of its ability to hit different time zones that have direct relevance to the organiser.

This is a trend that could prove transformational for the industry, not least because of the way it answers many of the problems the industry is faced with as we enter 2022. It does not mean the end of mass conventions, but it does open the door to more flexible handling of these meetings, and a more creative, innovative and hybrid option for businesses, brands and organisations looking to send ‘global’ messages that will resonate with a new consumer mindset.