Brand managers know it intuitively, major brands do better in awareness, preference, and sales growth when they activate their brand management at the local level.
More than 60% of the top-level brands say they are investing heavily in local marketing tactics and industry leaders are 5x more likely to have dedicated local marketing support than their contemporaries. That blend of global voice and local presence is impressively powerful. But it can also be challenging, time-consuming and expensive to achieve — especially if brand stewards and local marketing users aren’t always on the same page.
Based on our work with hundreds of Pageflex brands, we've outlined five key ways to help you maximize your local brand management and address the frustrations of local marketers before they get out of control.
- Plan for the Local Budget
Nothing upsets a local marketer more than being handed campaign materials that cost a small fortune to execute. Be sensitive to their budget parameters and design local marketing templates accordingly. When designing print ads, think about small-space units (quarter pages, even eighths) before the big full-page and double-page spreads. For direct mail, don’t forget about shared-mail sizes. Always remember that on-premise materials (flyers, counter cards, take ones, etc.,) are often all the support your local marketer will be able to afford. And of course, if you promote local email marketing, make sure to deliver an integrated email and landing page solution. Most local marketers perceive this channel as essentially cost free.
- Give Your Local Marketers the Ability to Choose
If you’re launching a brand-wide promotion, and want to maximize engagement at the local level, take the time to create some options for your local marketers to choose from. Even if the pieces are entirely “locked” in terms of content and layout, the simple act of making a choice promotes ownership and engagement.
- Pre-promotion is Key
Another challenge from local marketers is that their brands announce promotions on them with little to no warning. Too often, this is because the brand only thinks about local marketing after a new campaign has already been launched. The brand doesn’t provide any opportunity for franchisees or dealers to offer input beforehand, and they often don’t give local marketers enough time to get ready for the new promotions. How can you avoid this local brand management disconnect? And remember that most local marketers need lots of advance notice to execute a campaign, so pave the way with email alerts and “sneak peeks” at least a few weeks in advance.
- Make Purchasing Simple and Easy
If cost reimbursement is a part of your local marketing process, take pains to ensure that it proceeds without a hitch. If the local marketers leverage your campaigns, offer expedited reimbursement. If you can, take it one step further, with an offer to fund a minimum execution (set print or delivery quantities) with no out-of-pocket expense. The dollars you devote to campaign production will pay themselves back many times over in the form of local marketer loyalty.
- Celebrate Success
Make your local marketers the heroes of each campaign. Get your hands on their individual executions and publish them in a Best Practices Gallery or a Brand Hall of Fame. Use your brand’s social media megaphone to highlight local participation, and if you can feature those executions on your public-facing website, do it. Wherever possible, demonstrate that the brand is owned at the local level – not just at headquarters.
Getting the right mix of local flexibility and central control can be a real challenge for multi-location brands. But if you keep these five tips in mind, you can nurture local marketer loyalty and participation that will drive your marketing goals.