Jean-Marc Demers

How do you communicate as a global brand when local is trending?

In 2022, consumers want to buy local products as much as possible. This trend seems to have gained momentum during the pandemic, which highlighted the importance of supporting local economies. In this context, how do you go about marketing and advertising a major brand? Our local marketing agency provides some answers in this article.

Couple de seniors achetant des légumes frais au marché local|Senior couple buying fresh vegetables at the local market

The numbers

According to a survey conducted in 2021,[1] 82% of consumers in Quebec have made an effort to buy local since the pandemic began. More than four out of five respondents indicated that they have bought a little more (67%), or a lot more (15%) of made in Quebec products.

This trend is clear in the food industry: according to a study,[2] 30.7 % of Quebecers consume mostly local food, and this habit is widespread across Canada: in Prince Edward Island, 39.5% of residents purchase their food almost exclusively from local merchants! Consumers over 65 are the most likely to do so: 92% across the country purchase most of their food locally!

This trend to buy local is confirmed by a survey,[3] that shows that the most food products purchased by Canadians are local (43%) in origin.

Local marketing for non-local brand products

Is local marketing really that important? Well, Google searches including the term “local” increased by 900% in the last 2 years,[1] and that 50% of local searches are followed by a visit to the point of sale within 24 hours.[2] These searches have one goal: to find the location of a retailer offering the desired products (or services). So the answer is yes.

To appear in these searches, if your major brand has brick and mortar points of sale, our local marketing agency recommends that you:

  • Make sure that the geolocation of each point of sale is optimized for the web;
  • List your points of sale in local directories (Yellow Pages, Booking, Yelp, Bing Place, etc.);
  • Put your points of sale on Google Business Profile and make your page active and attractive;
  • Make a Google listing and ask your satisfied clients to leave comments.

This way, you can compete with companies offering locally made products.

Promoting your products

Major foreign-owned brands should promote their products or services strategically, first by highlighting some of the positive impacts that the company has on the local community:

  • Emphasize the company’s contribution to the local economy in terms of job creation (if there are manufacturing facilities in the region). Also mention that the operations are managed with the well-being of employees in mind, and that the company is involved in the community (charitable donations, or other types of local involvement).
  • Have employees participate in advertising campaigns that feature their expertise as well as the products and brand.
  • Focus on marketing that uses local cultural references and trends: in Quebec, for example, going back to our roots, to nature, the man of the woods. Black and red checkered flannel shirts (that coureurs des bois and farmers commonly used to wear) have been adopted by city hipsters. So, why not use this pattern on your products?
  • Connect with the local community on social media and through traditional media (radio and television). Have a weekly presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, by posting often. Hire a community manager to interact with your page followers, post recipes, make people laugh on TikTok, hire an influencer to endorse certain products, and so you can promote your products, local employees and your brand image.You can also choose a likeable local personality (tv star, comedian or other) to represent your company and products. This will immediately create a connection with consumers and a desire to engage with your brand.
  • Relate your products or services to a sense of community and pride: for example, for Choice Hotels Canada (a subsidiary of Choice Hotels International, an American hotel group with more than 6,300 hotels worldwide, including Comfort Inns and Quality Hotels), our local marketing agency focused the brand awareness campaign on the beauty of local landscapes and richness of cultural attractions.

Keep up with other consumer trends

Local marketing is now a must for large companies with brick and mortar points of sale. To attract consumers away from the products sold by small local merchants to buy your products, you have to capitalize on other consumer trends, since consumers aren’t just looking to buy local. Times are changing, and Canadians’ current purchasing intentions are the following:

  • Food industry: Follow the Seven Food Trends for 2022, which include the intention to eat fresh, healthy, natural products (80% of Canadian consumers spend more on fresh products). As well, reduced sugar is important to 35% of them, while the ability to identify the ingredients and origin is a priority for 71% of buyers, who find it important to understand where their food comes from for ethical and health-related reasons.
  • Retail: In 2022, online shopping is trending, and will soon be the most common way to make retail purchases in Canada. Online sales grew by 75% in 2020 and have been climbing by more than 10% per year since.[1] Most major brands now offer an online store and delivery service.

Some brands also offer the possibility to shop in real time via video (live shopping), or present their products in augmented reality, to offer a more “real” online shopping experience than ever before. Customers can place products in their environment and see the size and colour (which is practical for furniture and clothing). Virtual reality helps convert prospects to buyers, since products have already been tried, so to speak.

  • All products combined: One of the major consumer trends in 2022 is the quest for ethical products and engaged brands. 55% of Canadians have become more environmentally and ethically conscious since the beginning of the pandemic;[2] 72% of consumers want plant-based alternatives to meat and cow’s milk, as well as products from manufacturers with environmentally responsible practices; 58% of Canadian consumers would be more likely to buy a product that clearly indicates it is reusable or recyclable;[3] and 61% are concerned about the amount of packaging used for their online orders.[4]

So look for ways to reduce your ecological footprint, offer recyclable or reusable packaging and think about ways to reduce your waste. As well, don’t hesitate to communicate your brand’s environmentally responsible values on your various communications platforms.

Hire local marketing experts

Agence Braque’s local marketing experts know how to sell your global brand in local markets. In addition to knowing how to reach consumers on which platforms, we know all about SEO so that your target customers will see you when they do their online research.

Don’t lose your typically loyal customers to local products. Our local marketing agency can help you maintain and increase the popularity of your brand.

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