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Six ways to tune your brand into what local customers want.

According to a recent poll amongst 2,000 of its members, Nextdoor, the hyperlocal social networking service for neighbourhoods, found that nearly two thirds (64%) shop locally more than they did two years ago.

As We Are Acuity have said several times before, the pandemic has really shifted people’s mindsets and behaviours and made them much more emotionally connected with their communities.

Being local is natural for small, independent businesses, and naturally many have jumped on this as an opportunity to drum up support in the area – shouting loud and proudly about their independence. But how do larger national or even global brands engage with local audiences and become truly relevant in local communities to achieve success? Well, we can tell you it's something savvy brands have cottoned recently and have been quietly implementing across many sectors.

Just look at the retail for one. From Neighbourhood Goods in the US fostering a new culture around local shopping and the type of experience you can expect to IKEA’s Ingka Centres in the UK creating spaces where people can not only shop locally, but also meet, get inspired, eat, learn, experience something new and spend time. There’s no denying being local is vital to building goodwill in all communities.

So how do you become ‘local’ as a national brand, and how do you engage will local communities? Well thankfully Nextdoor has used their expertise and research put together six guiding principles:

1. Give Back - modern day consumers expect a two-way value exchange for operating in their communities, with three quarters of Nextdoor members expecting brands to fundraise for local causes. Co-op is a great example of a company that is celebrated for its community fundraising – raising over £100m to support local communities.

2. Demonstrate Impact - brands should demonstrate the impact they are having in local communities, by creating jobs or improving local infrastructure. In the past month, announcements of store openings by Trespass, Screwfix, Hobbycraft, Card Factory and Home Bargains and have all led with job creation.

3. Create Connections - by increasing local relevancy in communications brands show they really care about these places. So much so that two thirds of Nextdoor members have this as an expectation. Zoopla is a good example of an online brand that updates neighbourhood names to further personalize its messaging and engage consumers.

4. Treat every area differently – each neighbourhood and community across the country is different and need to be treated that way. Only 23% of Nextdoor members say national chains in their area show an understanding of local culture.

5. Get to know the community – it’s crucial that brands get to know their customers. If you have a network of local partners then empower them, but of you don’t engage with neighbours, businesses and public services.

6. Be respectful – there really is a place for national brands amongst independents, but they need to be very much part of the bigger local ecosystem. Employ local, source local and engage local. Tesco, for example, got it right when beer gardens opened for the first time since lockdown by taking out an ad encouraging people to visit their local pub.

We feel Nextdoor have got these principles spot on. We’ve said many times before, companies who take the time and effort to engage with local communities will be rewarded with more local engagement, greater brand awareness and stronger brand loyalty. And when compared against national activity, none of these principles are difficult or particularly costly to put in place, it just takes a slightly different mindset. A savvy local one!

If you’d like to talk about your brand’s local marketing why not schedule a FREE 30-minute assessment today here? It will be well worth your time.

Or alternatively read more about Local Marketing on our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog

#marketing #local #retail

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Whether you’ve got a brief ready to go, or just want to talk to someone about your local business marketing challenges, drop us a message and we’ll get back to you within one to two business days.

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