At Eleven Twenty-Three, we work with a multitude of franchises. Both as the corporate agency of record, or the local franchise direct. Most often franchises are locally owned and operated, so even though they carry that big company name, they are, in all other aspects of their business, local. With many consumers looking for options to support local businesses, it's important that the local owners and corporate brands carve out a plan to educate customers that they are vested member of the community. With our experience in this area, we would like to share 5 tips of our own to help localize regional or national marketing efforts.
1. Partner with local non-profits to give back to communities.
One of the best ways to engage with a local community is to align with a well-established local non-profit organization. Helping a local non-profit that is specific to the community you are trying to target such as a food bank, animal rescue, special needs organization, or youth education can help you establish your local roots. Just make sure you pick someone that aligns with your brand's mission as well. Donate time, products/services, or money publicly to provide that personal connection between your business and employees. Utilize your brands strength to communicate the good the non-profit is doing in the community, and why you are proud to support them. You can never go wrong by doing right by others!
2. Offer special discounts and promotions for teachers, healthcare workers and first responders.
Take care of your public service workers and they will take care of you! A little nod of kindness to these folks will go a long way in not only getting their regular business but also their recommendations to their friends and family.
3. Sponsor local events or celebrations.
Your customer’s perception is your reality, so you want to be perceived as a business that cares about local events and celebrations. While your company will likely be given some logo-love on posters, programs, and signage, what the community really sees is that your organization has the same values as the local people. Win the heart, win the business.
4. Walk their Walk: Use advertising tactics that are relevant to the local area.
When devising your advertising strategies, you want to utilize local tactics that are relevant to the area. The biggest mistake we commonly see is companies assuming that social media is popular everywhere. In our work with local franchises, we have come to learn that this just isn’t the case and could be a huge waste of advertising dollars. You have to do the research to learn where people are consuming their information. Social may work for many areas, but there are a number of smaller communities across the US that still subscribe to their local newspaper or listen to a heritage radio station regularly. Doing something digitally paired with one or two additional tactics can make a difference in your local positioning and success. It’s important for trends like this to be reflected in your local efforts so that you are maximizing your ad dollars and supporting media partners that also live in the community.
5. Talk their Talk: Take note of regional dialects and slang and use them appropriately in your campaigns.
If you’ve never heard of linguistics, you could be totally missing the mark on your local advertising efforts if you are a regional or national brand. Linguistics is the study of human language and how it applies to social and cultural behaviors. There are several linguistic features that can go into forming advertising campaigns, but for the sake of keeping this simple, let’s focus on dialect. The fact is, different areas of our country, or even different social groups, speak and use language differently. So, if you want your target audience to best identify and remember your campaign message, you’ll either want to be dialect-neutral or match the local dialect and slang appropriately. With these tips you are well on your way to building a network of partners that will spread the good word about your brand! By establishing your foundation in the community, you will establish long term positive relationships that will help you grow your business. If you need help with your local cause marketing strategy, give us a call! We've helped connect local and corporate brands to a cause that aligns with their mission. We are ready to help you too! Contact us here to learn more.
By: Dana Nuzum, Account Executive at Eleven Twenty-Three. Dana has over 15 years in marketing and advertising for local and national brands. With her work with national brands Scooter’s Coffee and Re-Bath, she has helped curate over 100 cause marketing initiatives around the country.