Using print to foster a sense of community
Of the many changes to life in lockdown, one of the more positive is the way in which communities have been brought together – neighbours have come to know one another, and have shopped, eaten and exercised locally, often becoming loyal to just a few local stores, bars and restaurants.
According to the Retail Gazette, 59% of shoppers have used more local stores over the last 12 months, while in a separate survey, one in five said they appreciate their local community more and are now on first name terms with the people who run their local shops.
This switch to a more community-based life has also changed the competitive dynamic between retail chains and independents. Price is no longer the deciding factor. Instead, customers are more appreciative of a demonstration of loyalty to the local community.
Businesses can nurture this need for connection by personalising their print and comms to their local area.
Effective use of print personalisation
Personalisation in marketing is nothing new. Since the advent of loyalty programmes, shoppers, restaurant, and gym-goers have received individualised offers.
Now the emphasis is on ‘community’ and examples of businesses that do it well include McDonalds, with their ‘Think global, act local’ marketing strategy (comprising localised menus and comms) and the Co-op, whose membership programme supports local causes.
In the current environment, one-size-fits-all is no longer appropriate. Localised restrictions mean different rules – and your customers will expect that your communications reflect any nuances.
It doesn’t mean that managing disparate messages is necessarily complicated. Brand communications can be managed at head office, with regional marketing activity implemented on the ground. Similarly, personalised print can be produced and managed centrally, then distributed to individual locations.
Ideas to localise your stores
We’re helping high street retailers, and leisure and hospitality businesses to localise their print strategies. Here are some ideas.
- Include local place names and imagery in your displays.
- Introduce your local teams with their pictures and names prominently displayed – do the same with locally produced products.
- Incorporate your in-store marketing strategy with your social media and PR strategy. Get your local media onside and let them know about your involvement in community initiatives, introduce separate social media accounts for your individual locations, and encourage your teams to get involved in local Facebook groups.
- Think about using QR codes – the NHS Test and Trace app and QR menu scanning have seen a resurgence in the technology. Could you use them to provide up to date local information (opening times, store events), or link to local community web pages?
- Combine your print strategy with your customer habits – are some products more popular in certain locations? Could you offer promotions based on local preferences?
- Use flexible displays. Fabric frames and other easily changeable display options such as winow vinyls allow messages to be switched out quickly.
How can you nurture a sense of community with your displays?
Bringing your stores and their local communities close together will not only help to create connections with local people, they’ll also give your local teams a sense of belonging and pride in their local store and area.
If you would like further ideas or help in developing your local print marketing strategy, get in touch.