According to recent research from Kantar, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving a surge in ‘localism’ around the world — that is a preference for one’s own area or region. This move toward localism was signaled by an increase in local consumption of goods and services, and is being driven to some extent by concerns about the safety of imported goods. While this trend was in place among sustainability-conscious consumers before the pandemic, the sentiment has become more mainstream as more consumers now think that the brands they use should bring production back to their own country.
This trend toward localism is being applied at an even more granular level within local communities. The personal and economic disruption experienced by Americans over the past several months has created a personal desire to support local communities and local businesses first — supporting friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Periods of disruption — whether a recession, natural disaster, or pandemic like the coronavirus — accelerate change, and it only takes a month or two for changes to stick and become new habits. This trend toward localism will likely become even more important to consumers in the post-pandemic recovery period, which means marketers should prepare to follow it closely.
National marketers may shift budgets to local marketing as communities enter the post-pandemic period at different times. Cost efficiency and effectiveness are even more important today as brands look for outlets to build or re-build their brands and share of voice. Minimizing waste and maximizing impact is critical during a recession. Identifying customers when and where they are actively looking for goods and services is key.
Local marketers too should continue to have a presence in their communities and work to establish trust and loyalty. The COVID-19 pandemic quickly changed the media landscape and shifted consumers’ media habits. Marketers during this time need to be nimble in order to be successful. Brands need to be able to shift strategies to target their customers, as well as engage with them in the channels they are choosing to trust for information and entertainment as they navigate the new normal. As many workers return to work and businesses reopen, media consumption will continue to change. Agile marketers that connect with their consumers on a local level have the best chance of recovery and growth.
Today’s new normal is very different from our pre-pandemic normal. My local market’s new normal is likely different from your local market’s new normal. At True Media, we will continue to help brands navigate these unique local marketplaces, trends, and changes in media habits. One of our goals is to identify relevant opportunities to deliver above and beyond established KPIs on a local market basis to help brands grow.
As SVP Activation Strategy, Vaughn provides strategic direction to our agency, playing a crucial role in planning for the future growth of the agency, including molding and training activation teams. He understands the correlation between brand, content, and channel to drive incremental, measurable results. His background in media strategy from start to finish allows him to lead his team in focusing on the acquisition of the most efficient, relevant, engaging and effective media touchpoints for client media plans, while always looking for innovative solutions along the way.