Laying the foundations of becoming a global brand starts at a local level, writes Paul Teahan.
It’s easy to look at international brands, such as Coca-Cola and Diageo, and believe that they are well known solely due to strong marketing and years of brand building.
However, what every multinational company has focused on is local integration into the desired marketplace in an effort to build brand loyalty across the world.
It’s imperative to look at local strategies before applying a similar approach to international models. Whether you’re a multinational or a regional brand, there are a number of key tactics to succeed at a local level.
Customer service is key
Consumers drive the capability for local businesses to gain a positive reputation. Offering a quality product/service is principal in business, so every company must start with this if they have any chance of succeeding. Word of mouth is extremely important and in recent years, these words have also been spoken through online reviews.
Members of the public today rarely purchase from a store or dine in a restaurant without having done some research. Whether they visited the company website and got a good first impression, or read through some of the company’s online reviews, the value of an online presence is immense. Within any industry, valuable companies build positive reputations and gain credibility quickly. As the internet includes an overwhelming amount of information, it’s a necessity to build a positive online social presence.
We have built thebestof by appointing local champions who understand the needs of their local communities, the businesses in them and are passionate about seeing them prosper.
The value of social media
Building on the point that customer service is key, there is a growing awareness that social media is quickly becoming vital for businesses to engage with or face being left behind.
Business will not increase solely from having a presence on social media, but through careful selection of the right social media to promote your company, followed by continually building an online network rather than just hoping people will find you. A social media strategy should be put in place and evaluated time and time again to reduce the risk of repeating the same sales message over and over, which in turn, will alienate your audience and sometimes cause more damage than good.
Social media networks are an excellent listening platform to quickly gauge trends in your industry, as well as see what the general public are saying about you and your competitors. Sometimes there can be too much focus on using social media for promotional activity and not enough on engaging and listening to customers’ wants and needs.
Time and time again, we see both national and multinational business creating brand awareness through sponsorship. Sponsorship offers a multitude of opportunities for businesses to raise their profile, as well as generate valuable goodwill.
When looking for sponsorship opportunities, such as sponsoring a local event, cause or sports team, it is important to consider who your target audience is and the objectives you wish to achieve. You may want to expand on your current customer base, and engage with a slightly different demographic, so approach organisations, such as charities or trade organisations that have access to your market of choice and offer the opportunities you are looking for. Brand awareness is crucial when entering into any sponsorship, so look for openings to display your logo, whether it is on communication material, sports kits or event websites and e-zines.
Driving community projects
In past years, community projects have generally concentrated on regeneration, diversity inclusion and youth action, however recently, there has been a stronger focus on supporting local retailers.
One initiative thebestof champions is ‘I love to buy local’ in which local businesses that have been reviewed and recommended by members of the public, are supported through marketing and brand awareness.
Bringing us back to the point that global brands start at a local level, the importance of maintaining an understanding and connection to the local buyer is necessary to be successful, both for small businesses and large corporations. Companies must remember that focusing on ways to influence a single person into purchasing from their business should be at the heart of any marketing strategy. Therefore, every business owner should remain focused on perfecting the end user experience, whether it is at a local or global level.
Paul Teahan is the master franchisor for thebestof Ireland, an outsourced local marketing franchise.