LSA17: Winning the Last Mile – The Challenges of Localizing for Brands

Winning the last Mike

LSA17 Panel Speakers:  Allyson Carper, Brandify; Kyle Eggleston, Walgreens; Paul Elliott, Brandmuscle; and Robert Blatt, Momentfeed.

In a panel with top location solution providers and practitioners this panel breaks down the challenges of turning a brand into a local and valuable presence.

Q: What does ‘Localizing for brands’ mean?

Localizing for brands is about “making sure last touch moments like mobile is accurate and consistent”, said Kyle, “positive experiences is what matters most, local is how you drive it.”

From Brandify, Allyson agrees adding, “building brand consistency and personalization is essential.”

Q: Evangelize local marketing internally; is there internal skepticism?

A great question to ask because although Local has been around for a while, national brands are still adjusting to the shift.

At Walgreens, Kyle notes that internally many people have yet to know of or understand what data syndication to engines means. Having internal buy-in is important to move from theory to practice in Local.

Q: The approach of managing top down, bottom up or both?

A question that many of us debate, what is the right approach to executing locally. Our panel has various perspectives.

Rob of Momentfeed says that having a strategy that is centralized around the local manager is a great approach, adding, “we find the strategy is ever-changing yet the need to help provide support throughout that journey is essential.”

“Brands want to have the ability to give local managers power but often times we find they don’t for operational reasons yet, when proper training is provided it becomes possible”, said Allyson.

Paul, Brandmuscle, continues by highlighting that, “Local engagement and empowering local mangers is more than a template. There is a delicate balance between technology and localized content.”

It is safe to conclude that approaching Local with a top down or bottom up strategy can be successful with the right tool, process and support.

Q: How can brands scale local content?

The question prompts conversation across key components of Local including reputation management.

85%-95% of consumer engagement for brands now happens through location assets, like local pages and listings. A compelling stat from Rob that highlights the consumer behavior across search. The stats highlights their preference to search in places most convenient to them, whether it be Facebook or Yelp or Google.

Kyle, Walgreens, agrees but still begs the question: How do you scale for thousands of locations? “We delegate to stores using district and store manager ability to add content to pages with approval. We verify content and that process allows us to scale local content more seamlessly.”

“We will want to ask questions with local detail like, do you have WiFi? Is my dog allowed?” Consumers will ask these questions and if brands do not have a scaleable way to answer these questions, it will hinder the brand.”

Q: So what happens when a consumer does show up and they get upset that the local information is not correct… it is likely that in turn a bad review will be left. What can a brand do to manage this?

“Have a systematic way of capturing these reviews. Authenticity, for reviews is key. At scale it can be a challenge but with the right tools and process it will be manageable,” said Allyson.

Paul followed up to the question with, “The process has to be more than replying back and forth to a review, most people just want to be heard. Approaching it as a customer service strategy is important.”

Q: What are the factors or organizational variables that separate the successful from the failing brands?

“Evangelization for local is the main variable to help win externally. But I think as google moves away from citations they are going to rely on data that you will deliver to them directly. It is more authoritative when you send it automatically. So I recommend staying on top on that.”

Rob agrees and adds, “Focus on WHY. Understand what are the brands business challenges. Their success is essential. When they don’t succeed we all fail.”

“It is to recognize it’s not either or: take away the friction between the national and local strategy,” said Paul.

Allyson concludes this questions and panel with, “It’s about the return of investment, if you can prove success it will give them a great understanding of the value in local. We can’t miss that. Online to offline attribution is going to be our future to success.”

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