Mitchell Communications, a big-time PR firm that works on campaigns for companies like Walmart and Marriott, set out to understand “local” as it relates to branding and customer connection. How are today’s customers conceiving of “local?” This seemed especially relevant for the craft beer industry. Is just the brewery down the street local? Or is an independent craft brewery distributing in my area also “local” in that “not corporate” way?
The findings of this “OmniLocal Consumer Report” shows that any brand, including large national brands, can be local, and local can be anywhere in the minds of Millennial and Gen Z consumers. OmniLocal consumers increasingly define “community” by shared interests and mindset instead of geography or proximity. At the core of the OmniLocal consumer is the fundamentally distinct way they perceive the concepts of “community” and “local.”
Some stats from the report:
- 74% of Millennial and Gen Z consumers do not define “community” by specific geographic location.
- 55% of these consumers define community by shared interests and mindset, without regard to shared geography.
- 51% of OmniLocal consumers find that digitally connecting with people of shared interests makes them feel that “local can be anywhere.”
- 63% of respondents agree that brands demonstrating local knowledge of their community are appealing.
- Local Brand Interest Matters: By more than 2 to 1, respondents agreed that a blogger/influencer who shares their interest for a local brand is a local influencer even if they do not live in their community.
- The top three most trusted sources of local news for OmniLocal consumers are local newspapers (mobile/digital), local newspapers (print) and local TV news.
“The data indicates that the brands that are going to win in this new age of OmniLocal marketing are the ones that understand how to be local at all times,” said Sarah Clark, CEO of Mitchell. “Whether a consumer engages that brand online with their phone or in a store, whether they are buying from the boutique down the street or the website on their mobile device.”
The agency particularly focused on younger consumers – Millennials and Gen Z. Findings demonstrate that:
… audiences want the expansive access and connections that only digital can deliver, as well as the geographically-driven local experiences defined by what they can see, hear, taste or touch. The data showed that consumers are increasingly seeking an OmniLocal brand experience that blends the digital with the geographic.
Don’t totally get what that last sentence means, but there you have it.