As we move in to the second month of 2017, it’s safe to say that 2016, the year that saw the beginnings of Brexit and Donald Trump, will not be forgotten in a hurry. It will go down as the year that many who thought they were tuned into public opinion realised they had lost touch with large swathes of society.
Big businesses are no different, and whilst they invest heavily in understanding their target market; how they think, how they behave, and importantly how they make purchasing decisions, many will be concerned by recent research from the insight unit at Freuds which has concluded that 81% of people believe ‘big businesses have become greedy and are taking more out of society than they put in’.
So the challenge is; how do you bridge the gap between society and big business to avoid that disconnect? At Trinity Mirror we believe one way is to regionalise and localise communication with communities. In our own research into ‘Modal Britain’, conducted with CrowdDNA, we found that 62% of people want brands to be more involved in local communities, and most say they are more likely to buy brands that are visible locally.
Regional pride is strong and the strength of negative feeling towards so much London-centricity within popular culture is very real. People see their local cities thriving which is reflected in our survey, where two thirds of people told us they believe their area is a better place to live than it’s ever been before.
Of course there are many ways for national brands to target people according to where they live. Data-driven geo-targeting can dynamically serve location-specific advertising to people in digital and social media platforms. But we’d highlight an important distinction – between ‘implicit targeting’ (where people are not necessarily aware they are being targeted) and ‘explicit targeting’ (which leverages the context of trusted local media brands). In a recent research experiment we found that purchase-intent was twice as high when localised ads were served in a regional newsbrand website than via a global social platform.
Businesses need to embrace this sense of pride and take a more active role in communities.
Regardless of Brexit divides, socio-economic classifications and rural or city based stereotypes, people express themselves in their lifestyle and purchasing decisions according to their sense of belonging in society’s modern mainstream. They want to feel that they can associate with the products and services they purchase. The brands that best embrace this feeling will be the winners in 2017.
Head of Modal Britain