Is "Local" the new thing in town?


In 1969 Chevrolet launched the nova 4-door saloon car on the South American markets. It was an excellent, mid-market car, bringing together advanced technologies (for that time) in a neat package, affordable for the mass market. And yet, the product had limited commercial success. Was it due to the macro-economic landscape? Was it due to slack in GMs marketing department? Was it due to the pricing strategy? Maybe. But the fact that nova translates to no go in Spanish might have had also an impact. It was a local thing.

In marketing, we talk a lot about understanding the consumer. Understanding its environment, its challenges, and its objectives. Whit this know-how, we can build products that best suit their needs. Every piece of information helps. And every piece of information should be put to use. Houses are built brick by brick. And this is true also about brands. Because in the end, what is a brand? A promise to consumers that a product will deliver a predefined benefit, consistently, across time and across geographies. That's why you enter with the same confidence in any McDonald's, regardless if the location is Anchorage, Arad, or Auckland.

The pandemic reminded us of the importance of local. Shoppers were turning away from big box stores towards proximity retail and people, in general, were rediscovering the local communities. Even though lockdowns are hopefully behind us now, we believe that some of this shopper behavior will stick around. What does it mean for retail marketing to focus on local?

First of all, understanding that campaigns don't have to happen across entire retail chains, but maybe only in selected venues. And the mechanics that work best in one region might not work so great in another. Secondly, acknowledging that shoppers' needs might differ from one store to another. Maybe in the catchment area of one particular store, you will find mainly young families as opposed to senior citizens for another store. Can we tweak the language of our in-store communication materials in order to speak best to each audience? Can we change the prizes, or even the redemption mechanism, if we're talking about a promotion?

It can also pay out to think about brand activation not only at blockbuster festivals but also at small-scale local events. Bringing your brand to the middle of a community can be a great tool for building goodwill and loyalty among shoppers.

But how can you do all of this without diluting the brand? How can you ensure consistency? Well, it all starts with a clear understanding of your brand's essence. What are its values, what does it care about, and how does it talk to shoppers. Once you know what is the underlying mission of the brand, you can find countless ways to bring it to life in retail. Of course, the operational headaches of implementing custom tactics at a local level can be significant. Here technology can make a difference. The digital field staff management solutions used by agencies within EFMP allow you to easily launch multiple mini-campaigns in different retail venues.

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