Glocalization: All Contexts Into Consideration



The following is an excerpt from The Evangelists: Insights from Leaders of the Nation’s Most Beloved Brands. Written by Micah Avery Guiao, this chapter is titled “Glocalization: All Contexts Into Consideration.” In it, Chito Maniago, the Country Head for Communications and Government Affairs of Glaxosmithkline, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in considering the both local and global markets.  


Although based here in the Philippines, Chito Maniago has taken several country and  regional roles for various multinational companies in different industries, which led to his  mantra of being local in perspective but global in mindset. He recently assumed the position  of Country Head for Communications and Government Affairs at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)  Philippines—the transfer a pivotal move considering the role of the healthcare industry in  the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

When he first entered the corporate world, he quickly learned the value of engaging all key  stakeholders—from barangay captains to cabinet members—to foster company solidarity  to the entire country, paving way to his role of becoming an adept communicator. After all,  Maniago also served as the President of Philippine Association of National Advertisers, an  organization for all marketing communicators in the country, and President of Ad Standards  Council, the main arm of the business sector in terms of self-regulation in advertising.  It’s his wide range of experience and his knowledge on both law management and media  operations that granted him an edge when it comes to being a public relations leader. 

“Here in the Philippines, we have an evolving political landscape. The value of public relations  is to ensure that we remain relevant in our markets through the proper engagement of our  stakeholders. By doing so, we are able to aid in nation-building,” he said.  

All those stepping stones have led him to where he is today—his new assignment with  GSK, a long stint with CEMEX, and his previous roles with Shell and Pfizer. Since the field  of public relations requires extensive knowledge about a complex mix of stakeholders, it  doesn’t always come smooth-sailing for Maniago in spite of his expertise. For instance,  his global role in CEMEX came with several challenges—for one, loose geographics that  compose the Asia, Middle East, and South Africa (AMEA) region make it difficult to target  specific nationalities.  

In the Middle East alone, there are over 60 languages as it is considered one of the most  linguistically diverse regions today. Part of the usual process for Maniago is to consider  language barriers and political dynamics to ensure effectiveness in stakeholder engagement.  Not only does this double the workload in comparison to a regular communications head,  but it also requires meticulous checking of content, tone, and delivery execution to ensure  that the message is properly interpreted to the intended language.  

Aside from this constant consideration of language barriers and political dynamics, there  is a constant need to practice cultural sensitivity unlike in regions where countries tend to  be similar in customs. The tension between middle eastern countries as a hotpot of socio political conflicts has taught Maniago to exercise extra vigilance when communicating with  both countries: “I cannot release a message at the same time involving some of my internal  audiences due to political considerations. You need to have a separate announcement for  your stakeholders.”

Although based here in the Philippines, Chito Maniago has taken several country and  regional roles for various multinational companies in different industries, which led to his  mantra of being local in perspective but global in mindset. He recently assumed the position  of Country Head for Communications and Government Affairs at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)  Philippines—the transfer a pivotal move considering the role of the healthcare industry in  the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

When he first entered the corporate world, he quickly learned the value of engaging all key  stakeholders—from barangay captains to cabinet members—to foster company solidarity  to the entire country, paving way to his role of becoming an adept communicator. After all,  Maniago also served as the President of Philippine Association of National Advertisers, an  organization for all marketing communicators in the country, and President of Ad Standards  Council, the main arm of the business sector in terms of self-regulation in advertising.  It’s his wide range of experience and his knowledge on both law management and media  operations that granted him an edge when it comes to being a public relations leader. 

“Here in the Philippines, we have an evolving political landscape. The value of public relations  is to ensure that we remain relevant in our markets through the proper engagement of our  stakeholders. By doing so, we are able to aid in nation-building,” he said.  

All those stepping stones have led him to where he is today—his new assignment with  GSK, a long stint with CEMEX, and his previous roles with Shell and Pfizer. Since the field  of public relations requires extensive knowledge about a complex mix of stakeholders, it  doesn’t always come smooth-sailing for Maniago in spite of his expertise. For instance,  his global role in CEMEX came with several challenges—for one, loose geographics that  compose the Asia, Middle East, and South Africa (AMEA) region make it difficult to target  specific nationalities.  

In the Middle East alone, there are over 60 languages as it is considered one of the most  linguistically diverse regions today. Part of the usual process for Maniago is to consider  language barriers and political dynamics to ensure effectiveness in stakeholder engagement.  Not only does this double the workload in comparison to a regular communications head,  but it also requires meticulous checking of content, tone, and delivery execution to ensure  that the message is properly interpreted to the intended language.  

Aside from this constant consideration of language barriers and political dynamics, there  is a constant need to practice cultural sensitivity unlike in regions where countries tend to  be similar in customs. The tension between middle eastern countries as a hotpot of socio political conflicts has taught Maniago to exercise extra vigilance when communicating with  both countries: “I cannot release a message at the same time involving some of my internal  audiences due to political considerations. You need to have a separate announcement for  your stakeholders.”

He also makes it a point to encourage knowledge sharing, emphasizing that striving for  best practices is never a competition. Other corporations are expected to follow suit  when it comes to huge breakouts in the field. Gatekeeping knowledge isn’t practical when  all companies strive towards the same goal: “We ought to do things not just for image 

building but also nation-building,” he said. For Maniago, authenticity is a prerequisite for  growth—whether in practicing glocalization, maintaining media rapport, or striving towards  sustainability.

To get more insights from other marketing leaders like Chito Maniago, please check out the full book, available for purchase here

The Evangelists - and other business books about the Philippines and Asia Pacific - will soon be streaming on Audiophile, our platform for exclusive Filipino audiobooks. 



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