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Chefs_hat Jairo Senise is CEO of Gruma, a Mexico-based maker of flatbreads. In Strategy+Business, he explains the importance of adapting products to local tastes, which he calls "chefmanship."  (Okay, it could be "chefpersonship" I guess.)  He also demonstrates how local local can be.

Who knew that Texans generally like their tortillas fluffy, while Californians like them elastic and in Arizona they like them chewy?  The principle applies equally well to automobiles and detergents, he says.

Learning from Mickey

European bloggers have lots to say about travel to the U.S. and little of it is good.  For example, in this posting the London Telegraph's travel writer, Francisca Kellet, asks "why are American airports so dreadful?"  She gets no argument from her readers -- over two dozen took time to add their own horror stories. Miamiairport_2

But there may be hope.  Miami International Airport has begun to invest in customer service improvements.  It's sending staff to the Disney Institute in Orlando to learn how the Magic Kingdom does it.

Miami International Airport is a gateway to and from the Caribbean and Latin America. About 32.5 million passengers passed through the airport in 2006, including more than 14 million international passengers. But among 18 U.S. airports with 30 million or more passengers per year, only three airports performed worse in J.D. Power and Associates' 2007 North America Airport Satisfaction Study.

Most observers consider it a smart move on the airport's part, despite the cost ($15,000 for a half-day).  Now if only the customs and immigration service would sign up.

Glocal for Ramadan

Rebuilding Brand America encourages international companies to "glocalize" their brands, i.e., to adapt to local customs and tastes while respecting core values. Ramadan

One good current example is Starbucks, which introduced new coffee flavors and packaging across the Middle East to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.  Among the new flavors -- a date Frappucino and a special selection of Arabian coffees.  The cups even have a special holiday design of crescents and mosques. Read more in Al Bawaba out of the United Arab Emirates.

Penetrating the C-Suite

Chief Executive magazine invited me to tell its readers what they can do about growing anti-Americanism. Thwart_2 I was happy to do so in an article entitled "Rebuilding Brand USA."  But I was even happier to see a companion piece by investment banker Bob Kuhn on the same topic, from a slightly different point of view.  It's called "Thwarting Anti-Americanism" and a quick read.  Maybe the issue is starting to penetrate the "C-suites" of American business.