Why Brands Need To Win The Battle For Local Consumers

by Koen Smeets DAC Group

When was the last time you searched for your product or service category on mobile? Try it now. What do you see? Whether your brand is prominently featured or lags behind the competition, one thing should be clear: local brands — and successfully localised  brands — are winning. Big time.

But how did we get here? Why is local so important? And how do large businesses with distributed local footprints ensure their approach to local is cohesive, compelling, and engaging?

The Giants Changed The Game

As mobile rose up to become the world’s de facto medium, platforms like Google, Facebook and Instagram started to personalise the consumer experience depending on where they are.

That shift towards locality has now become the norm. Just a few short years ago, you still had to type in location identifiers, like city or postcode, to get local results. Now Google assumes you are looking for local results, and Facebook prioritises businesses and events happening near you to provide a richer, more relevant social experience.

So, consumers have very reasonably come to expect locally relevant experiences. Anything less feels underwhelming, irrelevant, and generic — not the kind of qualities you want consumers to associate with your brand.

Adopting An Enterprise-To-Local Mindset

So how do regional, national, and even international brands start winning hearts, minds, and wallets at the local level?

  • Start by maximising the visibility and relevance of each of your brick-and-mortar locations. Local presence management solutions ensure location information is accurate, consistent, and enriched across all the main directory platforms, delivering maximum search visibility and relevance for each location at the local level.
  • Ensure your products and services are made relevant at the local level. Content pertaining to key products and services should be linked (thematically and literally) to specific locations in order to boost visibility and relevance for local consumers.
  • Next, invest in paid media that creates locally relevant experiences for your target audiences. With a Customer Journey mindset, you can gently guide prospects along their decision journey — starting with general awareness and gradually building up to highly qualified, store-specific messaging.
  • Finally, maximise each customer’s lifetime value by communicating with them in a personalised way that accounts for where they are as well as who they are. This is where a granular (and local!) approach to social and CRM is worth its weight in gold.

Although the roadmap may seem surprisingly straightforward, it takes time, investment, and nuance — and a whole lot of local expertise — to truly capitalise on your brand’s local potential.

Outrageous Results—And Transformative Growth

Brands that deploy Enterprise-to-Local roadmaps are generating outrageous results; we see it time and again. Bridgestone’s paid search programs went from disjointed to decorated, racking up industry awards as a series of locally focused tactics were implemented—including overlaying geographic sales data with Google Store Visits data to refine messaging and drive sales based on local demand. After a seven-year relationship, we are still discovering new local opportunities which result in doubling KPIs versus the previous year.

Clas Ohlson’s paid media efforts underwent a similar transformation. In fact, “local” was the prime consideration in an extensive CRO program that layered in contextual and geographic bid adjustments to maximise performance. The results? An impressive 90 per cent increase in both paid media revenue and ROAS.

Of course, revenue and conversions are not the only metrics that matter. By focusing on customer needs at the local level, brands are able to identify faster opportunities to service these needs better, giving them a competitive edge against their national and local rivals.

Is It Time To Reimagine Your Local Strategy?

With consumers demanding more local experiences — and global media owners focusing on delivering that very same thing — brands need to adapt their approach to local if they want to win in this competitive space.

National and international brands have their work cut out. In fact, they often have to work much harder than local businesses to establish an authentic, relevant presence at the local level using a mix of local media, content, and technology.

This is DAC’s speciality. Explore our Enterprise-to-Local playbook for further insights into local — or simply get in touch with the world’s largest local marketing agency, which has been connecting brands with local customers for almost 50 years.

Koen will be speaking about big brands going local at our Digital Marketing Summit on Thursday 25 April 2019. For more information regarding the event you can view the full agenda here.