Embracing Hyperlocal Creative at Scale

Businesses know that they need to connect locally with consumers in the cities and neighborhoods where they’re buying products. Consumers’ culture — their tastes, values, interests, habits — are heavily influenced by where they live and how they’re raised. No one single approach will work across all markets; what works in Seattle may not work in St. Louis or Philadelphia. Local markets, much like the people that make them up, are unique, particular, and discerning of generic marketing bullshit. 

Businesses with multiple locations are faced with the herculean task of understanding each local demographic enough to create compelling, hyperlocal content in order to attract and engage with potential customers.  

There are countless channels through which to connect on the hyperlocal level — social channels like Facebook and Instagram, email and digital marketing, outdoor and out-of-home, search and beyond. With so many ways to get in front of consumers, generic promotional content for both national brands as well as local franchises or businesses is easily lost or glossed over. 

According to a Time Inc. study, 89% of consumers believe authentic content helps brands break through the online clutter, and 57% of brands are more creative and interesting with authentic content. When it comes to brand or business storytelling, authenticity must be a key part of all messaging. But what is authenticity? 

Today’s consumer makes no secret that the generic, cookie-cutter approach of marketing does not resonate. A premium has been put on personalization. Technology has made it possible for brands and businesses to interact with their audiences on a one-to-one level, and now this highly individualized consumer experience is demanded. People are responding to brands with content and experiences that appeal to their individual needs. 

The challenge: doing this at scale, in a way that is brand safe, across all markets. While creating custom content could seem like a feasible task for international companies with endless resources at their fingertips, even legacy brands all too often struggle with personalized, custom, local content at scale. It’s equally as challenging for local businesses like franchises, small agencies, and Mom-and-Pop shops who are charged with many business tasks outside of content creation. One of the pivotal concerns in digital marketing as it applies to content and content creation is having an efficient process to scale content production. 

So, how can franchises, local businesses, and brands scale their creative marketing content to better reach local markets?

Embrace local markets. The tools exist to address the growing visual demands of today’s digital ecosystem and its multiple marketing channels in a way that resonates with consumers in their own neighborhoods. These technological advancements have given marketers opportunities to improve the creation and management of content. For many digital marketers and business owners, the most daunting part of campaigns that hinge on engaging local markets is deploying content at scale across a large country (or even globally). Creative content is not a “Do It Yourself” model. Businesses must engage with creative partners that will amplify messaging to hyperlocal areas in ways that come across as authentic and genuine to the local market. 

Understand the platforms on which you want to push content. Today’s (and more importantly, tomorrow’s) consumers are savvy and will immediately identify content that looks incongruous or out of place. According to a study on custom content, 89% of consumers believe brands that publish custom visual content break through the noise of deafening social news feeds. Even when designed for a hyperlocal market, not all content should be created equal, but all content should feel consistent with the business identity. For example, posting Snapchat-style images on Pinterest won’t work, and vice versa. But both posts should nod to the consumer’s world in order to resonate in a meaningful way. 

Fully leverage audience insight data to understand each target consumer. Are they millennials? Do they respond better to content that’s whimsical and fun or pointed and motivational? Brands, businesses, and franchises interested in making meaningful strides in local creative content must also do their due diligence in order to understand these consumers on a community level as well as an individual level. It is imperative for these businesses to create highly relevant content that reaches their ideal demographic at the optimal moment and location. 

A brand, franchise or local business’s identity is constructed from every branded visual element it uses to interact with consumers. Despite the growth of social platforms bringing people closer together than ever, the physical and hyperlocal constraints of consumer culture remain in place. Custom content that’s bold, unique, locally relevant and tells a compelling and relatable story is more likely to break through the clutter when employed at scale.

Grant Munro is GM at Shutterstock Custom.

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