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    Forget globalization – ‘glocalization’ is the true catalyst for global agency expansion

    The last couple of years have radically transformed how and where we work – and spurred new approaches to going global. Here, for The Drum’s Globalization Deep Dive, Rowan Byers of social specialists The Goat Agency argues that his own shop’s success is down to ‘glocalization.’

    Covid-19 changed how we all operate. ‘Remote’ and ‘flexible’ are two words we’re sick of hearing, but as our workforces have become more remote and flexible, the landscape of agency employees (and their campaigns) has diversified. Many mid-sized agencies started hiring staff in different parts of the country, or in different territories altogether. Now businesses are settling into ‘hybrid’ models, and can deliver work across a new breadth of languages and cultures.

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    Delivering on a global scale

    The Goat Agency, founded and headquartered in the UK, has had offices in the US and APAC since 2018, and delivers campaigns across global markets in the local language. Goat is responsible for running some of the largest and most innovative influencer campaigns for some of the largest and most recognizable brands today.

    Goat was the brainchild of three founders, who now spearhead the company’s global operations. Nick Cooke, Harry Hugo and Arron Shepherd foresaw the impact that influencer marketing would have on the social media landscape.

    “The premise of our growth was derived from the landscape of the influencer market, which back in 2015 was in its infancy. Very quickly, while we were brand side, we realized we could deliver better media value than other channels using influencers, so we started an agency,” explains Cooke.

    The influencer landscape has always been more mature in the US, with brands consistently spending a higher percentage of their media dollars on influencer marketing compared with EMEA.

    Having a major US presence was always a key part of the Goat business plan. In 2018 Nick Cooke, co-founder, moved to New York to build on the first few US clients who had been won from the UK. After a positive first year, Goat has seen US revenues more than double each year since inception, now with a team of 45 US nationals based across 15 different US states.

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    From globalization to ‘glocalization’

    With Goat now operating in 30 different countries, across multiple continents, languages and cultures, and on behalf of the world’s biggest brands, it’s worth noting the findings that helped cement such a position.

    “The largest dedicated influencer agencies aside from us are based in the US, but these agencies have no presence outside of the States. Our advantage as an EMEA-founded agency is that we can deliver market-leading North America campaigns, but we are unique in that we can act as global AOR for global businesses, often headquartered in the US,” says Cooke.

    “We focus on helping the biggest brands in the world with social transformation, and we roll it out on a glocalized basis. Glocalization means we need to build out consolidated, consistent, global playbooks for clients, and we need to bring them to life in a hyper-localized way. Every campaign must be in the local language but even more importantly reflect a true cultural understanding on a local level.”

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    Running a global agency, digitally

    Today, Goat’s team operates on a fully remote basis. On one hand, the door is open to the entirety of the United States, enabling the most talented individuals to work irrespective of their location. On the other hand, there is a lack of in-person interaction that is normally found within permanent workspaces. Goat has committed to making every effort to enable the team to feel close-knit and in synergy. Each year, for example, they host a US Summit, where the whole team meets in person for a few days of working in person and socializing. The 2022 Summit took place in Miami in April.

    Goat’s campaign director, Liv Tutton, who has played an important role in the company’s global expansion, praises events like this one: “Meeting in person gave people the chance to connect in a way they hadn’t been able to. I genuinely believe these opportunities are central to US expansion. By getting to know one another in a real setting, we saw members of our team becoming more confident, less inhibited and flourish on a professional level.”

    For more on what marketers and their partners need to do to succeed on a global level, check out The Drum’s Globalization Deep Dive.

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