Recently, Dave, our Head of Creative Strategy, hosted a webinar about ‘localism’ and what brands can do about the post-lockdown tourism downturn. Dave’s talk was so illuminating that we thought we’d give you a brief overview.
Since travelling is unravelling…
During the recent Time-That-Must-Not-Be-Named there was little choice but to turn to local amusements, amenities, and attractions. While this has been beneficial for the community around us, the downside – particularly for those in the leisure industry – is that the international tourism they rely on to survive has taken a serious downturn. So what do we do?
Let’s face the situation honestly:
1. International tourism will take time to recover
2. Recruitment difficulties are limiting what you’ve got to offer
3. Long term, sustainability has to become a focus.
If the numbers aren’t coming in from overseas, there’s only one way to turn. And it could be the silver lining to the long, dark Covid cloud. So let’s give it a bash.
We could try:
1. Driving up local and domestic visitor numbers to fill the short term shortfall
2. Making it easier to attract and retain capable, invested staff
3. Building sustainable relationships, from supply chain to sentiment.
And there’s already a name for it! This is the resurgence of ‘localism’.
Is it time to be a local hero?
This goes wider than tourism – ‘localism’ is, ironically, a global, cross-sector trend. If you don’t believe us, maybe you’ll believe a little Californian start-up called Google?
“We’re witnessing a renewed commitment to local communities. To win hearts and minds, global brands are rethinking their strategies by adapting to a more localized approach. They’re finding community connections and embracing local pride and thinking, all while adding a hyperlocal lens to creative work.”
And the stats back it up. There was a 63.3% rise in the number of people spending at local specialists like butchers, greengrocers and bakers. So, what’s the problem? What’s stopping us hitting that potential?
Well, in short, the local community can often be turned off it they feel that:
1. Tourists are your priority
2. Profit is your priority
3. Your brand is notauthentic.
The only solution is to make sure you’re being true to your brand and your community. Not condescending, not over-selling, and always genuine.
Consider these two questions:
1. What do you want to be famous for? A single, sharp brand idea that underpins what we choose to say and do. Our equivalent of Harley Davidson’s ‘Freedom’.
2. How do you want to come across? A clear set of personality traits that shape the way we say and do those things. Our equivalent of Nike’s inspiring, powerful tone.
If you’ve got solid answers to the two prompts above, it sounded like you’re ready for…
Our sever springboards to being a local hero
With these Seven Springboards to refer back to, you’ll have no trouble winning over the local market. Keep these in mind and bringing your brand home won’t be a bother!
#1 – ‘For’, Not ‘To’
Look at your community’s needs, issues, and barriers. Where could your brand credibly make a difference? It’s not about charity donations or CSR initiatives, it’s about using your strengths and resources to offer something the community actually wants.
#2 – Community Isn’t Competitive
How could you collaborate with local people, groups, and businesses to create something better than the sum of its parts?
#3 – Let Them Behind the Curtain
Move away from the ‘fake’, polished exterior – let people see the real deal behind the scenes. Encourage and enable teams to create, share, and enjoy themselves!
#4 – Help Tourists & Locals Swap Roles
Locals are in the know – they find the unspoilt gems. How can you give tourists a taste of that insider experience? Tourists are carefree, on an adventure, discovering new things. How can you give locals a taste of that freedom? Weaving them together could be fruitful long term.
#5 – The Real Thing
Local audiences are in the know and thrive on word of mouth – you can’t pull the wool. Avoid over-hyping things, or just paying lip service to your community. Embrace realism – visually and verbally.
What’s unique about your community’s character? How can you embrace that to build a feeling of belonging?
If you’re going to reference local culture, make sure you know it well.
#6 – Go to Them
Going beyond your fence – how can you take your attraction out into the community?
#7 – Treat it Like a Pilot
From exclusive new offerings to targeted campaigns,‘local’ could be a great place to test new approaches. Capture as you go – in film, photos and interviews. Locals need to see other locals enjoying your attraction before they’ll realise it’s for them too.
Could bringing your brand home be the short- and long-term answer you’ve been looking for? Thanks for reading, we hope you’ve found something to chew on. If you’d like to see what we can do for your brand’s strategy, get in touch Andy or Dave: