Everything is local.

The average British southerner moves no more than 6 miles from their birthplace.  (I’ve currently managed 6.4). The average northerner no more than 3 (they’re firmly attached to their roots in the North).

Of course that doesn’t stop you being a global citizen and in our trade we all work with global media these days.  But home is where the heart is, and the new Local Media Awards are a welcome reminder of the truth that very local media can deliver a powerful boost to a communications mix that if too often perhaps overlooked in the rush for the new.
However huge or global an idea might be it is literally experienced locally.  Our senses are local.  Even if what we’re experiencing has broad appeal we are physically in a specific place and that’s where we’re receiving the message.  Recognising this and leveraging it can deliver much needed competitive advantage in many categories where the plans are focussed on getting traction in social media and can ignore the possibilities that local media can provide for delivering up close and personal meaning.

The local newspaper medium itself has woken up to the possibilities of innovation.  Just as one example think of the Sky and Johnston Press Adsmart partnership which delivers welcome new local marketplace opportunities.

There’s a huge amount of possibility if you think local of course.  Digital out of home can be deliver postcode specific messaging relevant to time of day and type of audience. Mobile ads are local in your pocket.  But let’s not forget print. Do you know how many local newspapers there are? There are 1100 local newspapers and 1700 associated websites up and down the UK. At some stages of life trust in local papers rides high.

The reasons people have for buying and reading local have fundamentally changed since Google, EBay and property portals. Local press used primarily to be utilitarian in the days when classified print ads ruled.  Now it’s for local gossip, campaigns to save the local library or lido, scandal at the local school, curiosity about the new shops on the main high street and sadly news of local crime.  Difficult though this may be to believe for some readers there’s times in your life when the excitement of Kimye does actually become background to the imperatives of your local community, especially when your children are young or your parents are elderly.  When you may feel closer to your locale than you do to 1000 friends around the globe on Facebook.

Being close is one of the crucial techniques for delivering truth and authenticity.  And it’s often under exploited. There’s opportunity for driving advantage here.  For any campaign it’s worth asking these questions.  Can you tailor your messages to make them locally relevant? Is there any brand in your competitive set which is really close emotionally to the consumer? Can your brand get closer by creating local meaning ? The Edelman trust survey shows the continuing growth of trust in “people like me”.  Can you make heroes of your local employees to leverage that trust?


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