For decades, large companies like Best Buy and Wal-Mart have found success through standardization. These companies standardize their advertising, product lines, packaging and the layout of their stores. Regardless of region, most of the characteristics of these companies remain consistent. However, in recent years, it has become apparent that consumers want a more customized experience. This change has led to a move toward localization. The need for localization has been so prevalent that even the above companies have taken notice and have altered their efforts in order to cater to such demands. If your company is leaning toward localizing for specific areas or demographics, here are a few tips to remember as you make those adjustments:
Data collection. The key to localization is learning about the consumer and acting on that knowledge. Effective data collection is necessary for successful localization. Relevant information about pertinent areas can be gleaned from census data, surveys, store scanners and figures from Internet sales. Using information from Nielsen, Wal-Mart was able to add over 100 regional ice cream brands to their shelves. Research is an irreplaceable tool for any business in terms of localization.
Product line diversity. Upon doing research, it might be decided that aspects of your product mix need to be adjusted. This adjustment could pertain to a geographical region or a demographic. For example, over the years, Victoria’s Secret has created new product lines in order to appeal to members of younger demographics.
Adapting communication. When focusing on localization with regard to advertising, cultural differences should always be taken into consideration. This is because certain wording and images might be pleasing for one region and unacceptable to another. Wal-Mart learned this when they discovered that consumers in the northern U.S. prefer the word “ant” to the word “roach” with regard to the wording on pest control products.
Create a regional presence on social media. Social media can be a valuable tool when localizing your brand. It helps you bring your product and message closer to the consumer. This is because, with social media, messaging can be appropriate and applicable to your customers in a specific area. The goal of localization is to personalize your brand. In this way, social media is an essential tool.
Keeping a balance. Successful localization is dependent on keeping a balance. Too much localization could result in the destruction of brand image. Not all aspects of a business warrant localized adjustments. For instance, one company might wish to change its advertising efforts, another might feel a need to alter its product packaging. A careful examination of the company as well as the possible effects of desired changes is always recommended. Whatever the case, overall brand image should always be taken into consideration.
Companies big and small, from numerous industries like Health Care and B2B, have utilized localization to improve their marketing efforts. Do you have a great example of a brand using a localized approach? Share it below!