Despite companies’ eagerness to create universal, global brands, they are finding that the world-wide economic downturn has many consumers acting more cautiously when it comes to globalization. And as a result, companies are playing up their local relevance. We last reported on the importance of balancing the global/local aspects of a brand, what some call “glocalization,” in our Oct/Nov 2008 issue (archived

>Capturing the ‘sole’ of America

Said to be the only company still manufacturing athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance is playing up its domestic origins by featuring hangtags and box stickers on select shoe packages. The packaging materials display the text “Committed to American Workers” while also disclosing the 993, 1063 and 769 footwear models as either Made or Assembled in America. Shoes are labeled “Made in USA” when their domestic value is at least 70 percent; however, if it falls under 70 percent, the labels reference the domestic and imported material mix.

“We made our first pair of running shoes in 1938 and have never wavered in our commitment to domestic manufacturing,” says Rob DeMartini, CEO, New Balance. “During this tough economic time, we are proud to showcase the powerful unity of our American workforce and their local community.”

To demonstrate its commitment to American workers, New Balance has launched a national awareness campaign, including print, radio and online advertising.

Currently, one-fourth of the company’s athletic shoe production is made or assembled in the United States each year. (Package design: New Balance Creative Services,