by Aruna Handique, Planning Manager, India, MSLGROUP
Localization matters. Despite globalization and the connectedness it brings, we cannot overlook the importance of real relationships, at a real human level. The days of mass, uniform and global sameness are not acceptable anymore, because the fact is – who wants what everyone else has anyway?
Consumers are growing tired of uniform, impersonal, assembly-line products and show signs of the need for things that they have a connection with, things which are an extension of them, their culture, and their belief systems. Often this need is characterized by either a sense of pride, authenticity, convenience and/ or eco-concerns. Consumers are increasingly seeking out authentic and storied products that are made and consumed locally. This is for the simple reason that at the very core level, consumers as human beings want to connect in a real way. Local is authentic – it is real, accessible, and visible.
The special connection that consumers feel to their habitat is an impulse as old as human nature. But expectations of how that connection should be manifested and shared, and the role that brands should play, are evolving fast. Data is one of the catalysts for implementing localization.
A Shifting preference for local
- Brand-assisted Public Spaces: Consumers are expecting brands to come up with initiatives that display a lasting commitment to their local areas. Brands need to empathize with their consumers’ lives, seek out what the local community wants and then delight them. Saturated by the digitally connected world and crowded spaces, consumers are on the lookout for places where they can connect with like- minded people in real life.
- Relevance: Consumers want to be privy to the latest and relevant in their localities, and they expect the information in real-time. While access to the world is great, much of the time what consumers really want to know is what is happening around them. This information prepares them and helps them feel in control. People are using smartphones like never before to access information on the go.
- Exclusivity: We live in a time where everything is accessible at the click of a button. Tying to a specific geographical location and time span confers exclusivity. In this connected world of online, exclusivity triggers excitement. It also becomes a great way to show some love for the local community. Additionally, people are increasingly realizing the virtues of buying local.
- The Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) is Starbucks’ cult seasonal beverage, sold every fall across US and Europe.
- Pro-Environment Initiatives: Consumers are also more aware of their impact on the environment and are eagerly adopting sustainable lifestyles. They are interested in eco-friendly products and initiatives that not only minimize undesirable effects but also benefit the environment in the process.
- The Perennial is a sustainable restaurant in San Francisco which also acts as an incubator for new ideas about environmentalism in food.
- Celebration of Local Heritage: Taking pride in one’s community is natural. People are proudly celebrating their cultures, heritage, icons and quirks. People are taking pride in local, and embracing products that celebrate their place of inhabitancy.
- In Peru during December 2014, BBVA Continental Bank unveiled Cine Con Calle, a campaign celebrating Peruvian heritage.
Companies are discovering new opportunities by catering to local. By detailing the marketing map, companies are building a strong foundation for future growth.
To get insights into this trend, brands have to work really hard, especially in emerging markets where even reliable high-level data is hard to come by, let alone detailed data. Companies trying to go local are threatened by data accessibility, the usage of fancy technology and implementation issues, but a little resourcefulness and optimism can go a long way.
A few ways to tackle this:
- Work out a personalized technique: Executives at an Indian industrial-goods company achieved a 70 to 80 percent confidence level in their insights by gathering estimates from local market experts, channel partners, and senior sales representatives. They started with fairly basic spreadsheet models and tools to monitor performance and suggest sales leads. Another consumer goods company built a simple smartphone application to start with.
- Make use of available platforms to collect data and information: Take for example, LocalData – a cloud-based mapping platform that helps cities and communities make data-driven decisions by capturing and visualizing street-level information in real time. Public sector and non-profit professionals use LocalData to quickly collect and map street-level qualitative and quantitative data. Design custom map-based surveys, manage data online and instantly visualize geospatial data without a data expert.
- Buy data from e-commerce sites and applications: Aggregated data on consumers is being bought by analytics companies for analysis and insights.
Localization as a trend is here to stay. Connecting products or services to a specific locale will make them more relevant, more exclusive and as a result, more exciting and desirable – and data can help trail the way ahead.
This post is part of our People’s Insights report Data In. Data Out. Transforming Big Data into Smart Ideas.