Why local matters
We define local businesses as any small-to-medium business (SMBs) that is part of a national brand, whether through agents, dealers, franchisees or owners. Ranging from a real estate agent who’s part of a large insurance brand to an individually owned fast food franchise, this model is seen across a variety of industries. These local businesses may be owned and operated separately from national organizations, but they still serve as the backbone for many large brands’ revenue models.
When a national and local business start working together, large brands tap into the mutual benefits and individual advantages of these forces. At a national level, there is a recognizable brand name and associated resources that help drive brand awareness. Locally, there are faces that provide customers with the familiarity and feeling of a neighborhood business, helping forge connections in the community and driving long-term customer value.
Through the use of strategic marketing efforts, large brands can help their local owners and franchisees connect more deeply with customers and drive further business growth. Here’s how.
Meet customers on mobile
Much of how consumers are supporting local businesses is made possible through mobile, where on average people spend more than four hours of their day.1 The pandemic only solidified mobile’s reign over our lives when it became not only how we communicated with one another and stayed updated on information, but also how we streamlined the conveniences of our lives. In 2020, mobile was increasingly used for shopping research, browsing, brand communication and BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store), which increased 208% year over year.2
By meeting people where they are, specifically their mobile devices, large brands can start to deliver more targeted, personalized and relevant messaging to break through the clutter. As people spend more time on mobile, they become more receptive to ads. We saw this during the pandemic when customer engagement with mobile advertisers increased 15% in the U.S. when stay-at-home orders were in place.3
National brands should consider their approach to mobile advertising, allocating budget for digital and social advertising. As they work with local counterparts, national teams can proactively share assets that local teams can tailor for local preferences through imagery and messaging. This will help ensure the media that is bought drives results in the community.
Educating local owners
Despite communities being increasingly fostered online, people still look to form connections based on where they live. This is evident as we consider 42% of online communities are connected by geography, almost as high as the 50% that are connected by interests.4
Knowing this, large brands have an opportunity to increase communication and support of local businesses. Part of this is through sharing best practices and the “rules of engagement” for digital channels—that is, information that national teams are more likely to receive directly from agencies and partners. And since national often owns the development of brand assets and other creative elements, these organizations should work to disseminate this to SMBs. Doing so ensures local businesses learn how to more effectively activate local campaigns and leverage digital and mobile channels, such as Facebook and Instagram.
Partnering with Facebook
Facebook partners with large brands to support their local businesses. With Facebook’s ability to reach people at great scale both nationally and locally, national and local brands are able to coordinate their marketing efforts to drive people from awareness to sale. One example of this is Power Ford, which partnered with Dealers United to adjust its media mix to maximize Facebook’s local reach.
Power Ford, the Albuquerque, New Mexico, franchisee of Ford Motor Company, pivoted its marketing strategy and actually reduced media spend by 21%, reallocating from TV, radio and direct mail to a better-performing channel like social. This coordinated strategy saw a 10% gain in market share. As a result, Power Ford claimed the No. 1 selling Ford dealership title in New Mexico four times in 2020 despite its competitor having that title for 28 consecutive years.5
"If you’re in charge of a local business that’s looking to retain and find new customers to grow, there's no better time than now to get back to basics and focus on creating awareness for your brand,” says Michelle Morris, VP-global marketing solutions at Facebook. “Smart marketers don’t passively wait for purchase intent. They proactively create purchase intent to drive discovery of their products. This is exactly what Power Ford did by adjusting its media mix, and as you can see saw great results.”
Large brands can start today by connecting local owners with their Facebook partners. Together we can educate and activate local teams by providing easy to use, scalable and customizable solutions for brands that help drive business outcomes.