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  • Writer's pictureRichard

Power to the people. Is ‘localism’ marketing the new ‘national’?

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

Regardless of our age, we’ve all grown up as worshippers of national brand icons. The retailers, trendsetters, headline grabbers and drivers of quiet understanding of what shopping where, or owning what product, might say about you.

But is localism now becoming the new ‘national’ as part of our increasingly referenced bagel economy? The badge of smart buying, of values driven communities, and of what people share in ‘have-you-tried’ conversations with friends?

We now know more of our neighbours, we don’t commute, we have kept away from shopping centres, have home cooked more, have understood the challenges, spirit, and balls of local key workers, and reinvented family values at home for the better. Most of us will find at least some of those statements true.

So, sorry big brands, no snub intended here, but the spirit of community will flourish in fresh ways and local retail, producers and businesses will see the benefit. This isn’t the death of supermarkets or brands of course, but a parallel rise of the local champion.

When cinemas fully reopen for their communities, it would be good to see the refreshments featuring some more personal, local food and drink partnerships. Will independents and Everyman style venues become community champions and a showcase of great artisan craft?

Likewise will pubs and their menus become even more attuned to crediting where food comes from ultra-locally, building a virtuous circle of passed on recommendations?

Will we see a supermarket chain introduce a local market corner, showcasing the best of the local region and instantly upgrading their personal community status? We are in the new rules era…

Will regional radio embrace the opportunity to produce and champion much more unique local content? Will regional print and digital media become more feature led, building the profiles of local business innovators? And will the increasing number of street and community level ‘what’s app’ groups and local forums become super micro influencers in their own right?

The potential to build here is powerful for local manufacturers who embrace front food marketing, is important for local government to get behind creatively and practically, and is an opportunity for local media channels to rebuild new levels of relevance, resonance and audience trust.

Big brands won’t lose their place fully in people’s hearts, especially if they start to think more grassroots in their campaigns and storytelling in response to threat and in response to understanding the new consumer values.

But there is certainly room for a new breed of brands and suppliers alongside them who can find their voice and channels and lock in a trusted status that will stick and get talked about. In finding positives from adversity, this is one to pursue hard.


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