The Future Of Marketing Is Hyperlocal

Every brand has recognised the importance of a vernacular marketing approach, deploying region and language-specific social media campaigns, pages, and ambassadors

Step into a McDonald’s outlet anywhere in the world and you can reliably count on a few things to hold true. The French fries will be golden and crispy, the service will be quick and efficient, and you’ll always eat your meal in a restaurant crowned with the brand’s iconic golden arches. But although the standardisation of both their menu and service model is one of the primary hallmarks of McDonald’s, dig a little deeper and you might be surprised at the degree of variety their individual outlets offer at a regional and national level. While McDonald’s have gone to great lengths to tailor their products to their audience in every country they have a presence, this strategy is far from unique to them.

Virtually every multinational brand adopts a similar strategy. This is especially true for brands operating in India. With its massive population base, India is an integral part of many company’s global strategies. As such, brands are willing to do anything to make their products more appealing to the average Indian consumer, introducing vernacular products that cater to the demands of specific regions and communities across the country. For example, a rising interest in ayurvedic products drew a quick response from multinationals such as Unilever and Colgate.

This philosophy of flexibility and adaptability has also found its way into the marketing industry. Today, virtually every brand has recognised the importance of a vernacular marketing approach, deploying region and language-specific social media campaigns, pages, and ambassadors.

This vernacular approach is critical to any brand’s success in India due to the massive diversity of language, community, and culture within the country. In order to overcome this obstacle, many brands rope in local celebrities and influencers to be the face of their product. For example, former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly is a permanent fixture in any campaign targeting East India. Similarly, the massive sway that the stars of Kollywood and Tollywood have in the south has led to many brand campaigns being built entirely around them.

But while this approach may result in a measure of success, the overall impact of this approach is generally limited. With a fanbase that’s generally geographically bound and confined to select metros, there’s only so much mileage to be gained from hinging all of your hopes on a single, massive celebrity. In a nation that’s home to over 120 officially recognised languages and more than 19,000 dialects, a hyperlocal marketing focus is the only guaranteed way to reach every potential market.

A reliance on celebrity ambassadors and macroinfluencers leads to brands only interacting with a limited cluster of consumers. In this scenario, brands must instead put the power into the hands of their users through word-of-mouth marketing. This approach prioritises a brand’s direct interaction with their consumer base, encouraging and incentivizing them to create authentic user-generated content (UGC). By harnessing the voice of customers who have an understanding of the on-ground reality and the ability to connect with their peers, companies can engage with new users they would never otherwise have reached and turn silent fans into vocal consumer advocates. Social media tools and platforms such as Brandie enable brands to directly connect with these voices.

The authenticity of these voices, and their ability to resonate with like-minded consumers, has repeatedly been proven. Research has shown that 92 percent of online shoppers trust feedback on a product from friends and family over any marketing material produced by a brand. Similarly, conversion rates for products climb up to three times higher when a consumer’s image is included when advertising a product. These are statistics that any brand would kill for, and all it takes is trusting your customer base.

As previously marginalised groups continue to find their voices on online platforms, the responsibility to cater to their demands becomes ever more imperative. A brand that’s willing to embrace this shift and change its marketing approach accordingly will ultimately find that the effort’s well worth it.

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