Global Companies And The Opportunity Behind “Local”

I recently went to Oman with my family in-law. It was a fantastic experience. We drove across the country and explored its scenery and culture.

Despite how different life is in this angle of the planet, in my visit to the souk (Arab street market) in Nizwa, I realised that the behaviour was the exact same as in any other local market: people get together around the goods and socialise. Now, each one of these local points around the world have its unique characteristics (language, dress code, type of food, location, etc) which means that if you place a local shop from Paris in Nizwa, it’ll more likely not work.

Later on, this good article from Clara Shih about Facebook timeline for brands came to my head. Here’s the extract:

“Facebook is the place where friends have conversations with friends, and conversations are ever-changing. Sometimes, those conversations are with brands. Other times, the conversations are about brands. Businesses which are best at telling stories and creating emotional connection with fans get talked with and talked about the most. It’s that simple.
By eliminating fan-gating and no longer making it possible to apply old marketing tricks to the new medium, Facebook is issuing a challenge to all marketers: be yourself, stay in touch, tell your stories in authentic and engaging ways.
This begs the question: how do businesses come across as authentic and engaging? The key is to appeal to the issues, passions, and pain points that matter most to fans by getting highly targeted and local…”

This is not a piece of advise for Facebook execution only. Any global brand that drops the corporate one-message-fits-all approach and focuses on local, meaningful interactions will be making progress getting closer to prospects and customers.

This “local” we’re talking about goes beyond “localisation” (adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture, and desired local “look-and-feel.”). Creating useful content that “appeals to the issues, passions, and pain points” of your customers and prospects is the real challenge and the only way your company will build a long lasting relationship.

Imagine your company acting as the local market. People coming to you because you offer something of value that goes beyond the very transaction. Imagine building social nodes where relevant people interact with each other and eventually come for your help.

From a different  angle, Gary Vaynerchuk also talks about “Local” and the importance of bringing some “small town sensibility” within the organisation.

What do you think?