Over the last two decades, many global brands have also discovered the critical importance of innovating for local needs, tastes, and values. For example, when P&G initially tested its Febreze air freshener in Japan, most consumers rejected the product. Rather than give up on it, P&G’s team decided to rethink almost everything about Febreze except its core technology—including the bottle design, the fragrance profile, the viscosity of the product, and the spray pattern—in order to match Japanese preferences. Following these changes, Febreze went on to be phenomenally successful in Japan.

McDonald’s has also become extremely good at adapting and redesigning its offerings to local cultures, culinary tastes, and religious customs. In India, for instance, the fast-food chain does not sell any beef products because Hindus, of course, venerate the cow. Instead, McDonald’s has spiced up its menu with local products like Chicken McCurry, fiery Paneer Wraps, McAloo Tikki burgers, Masala Grill Veg, and the chicken Maharaja-Mac. In Israel, McDonald’s operates kosher restaurants where all burgers are charcoal-grilled instead of fried, and meat and dairy products are never mixed (so you won’t find a cheeseburger, and the milkshakes and ice cream are sold in the booth next door). Local favorites include the McShawarma and McKebab, both served on flatbread. ...

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