How to execute both simultaneously and successfully
Prior to the 1990s, the decade the internet was widely assumed to be adopted1, the marketers’ game was generally local. While national advertising may have been a core spend, reaching the world’s location at the click of a search result, was the stuff of fantasy.
Fast forward to today, and with advancements in technology having connected us all to one another at an exponential rate, with over 21.5 billion interconnected devices globally2, we find ourselves taking a step back to yesteryear. As the world advances, alongside new channels of communication, the traditional approach to marketing at a local level has undergone somewhat of a paradigm shift. Right from the times of considering Yellow Page placements, ads in local papers or billboards in town squares to gain local attention, today we have the option of precise location targeting with the help of sharply defined marketing techniques known as hyperlocal marketing.
But is it worth the investment for global brands? In short, yes, but as part of your global strategy. Aside from targeted reach, hyperlocal marketing provides incredible ROI levels, with brands practically ringing their target audiences’ doorbells… People that can, in effect, walk to the shop in question that very same day. What’s more, hyperlocal digital marketing helps garner online reviews which can boost local rankings of a brand even further.3
Hyperlocal marketing investment is powered by the ripple effect, building brand recognition in an area and close by to where a business is based. People become familiar with a brand’s name, as well as where their products or services are located locally.
Hyperlocal or global, the audience forms the most important component of any marketing strategy, across any sector – and no matter what generation of audience we consider, typically speaking, they’re largely on smartphones. In the US, mobile phone penetration is vast, and adults spend more than five hours a day on them, generating 52% of total internet traffic. And they’re not just scrolling – in fact mobile e-commerce sales hit $3.56 trillion in 2021.4 While the importance of mobile-compatible content marketing strategies won’t come as groundbreaking news to the savvy marketer, what may surprise you is the growing power and presence of hyper-local searches. Over 49% of all Google searches each day are for hyperlocal businesses, with Google positioning the overall global business opportunity for hyperlocal at $3 trillion. And while mobile-first campaigns have the power to cut through to all audiences, hyperlocal strategies are of particular relevance to Gen Z and Gen Y, with data showing that 58% and 61% respectively conduct these searches. What’s more, 50% of all transactional searches are hyperlocal.5
While these statistics may seem staggering, it’s only going to rise. Wordstream identified ‘research online, purchase offline’ as one of the biggest growing e-commerce trends6, set to drive even more demand for locally focused search results over time. Local searches with “near me” and “where to buy” have increased by over 200% in the last few years, and searches with other location qualifiers like postcodes or city names, have grown 150%.7
But this doesn’t mean a global business should abandon their global marketing strategies altogether – far from it. Getting the right formula between global and hyperlocal campaigns is paramount. Going global can bring a wealth of opportunity – entry into new markets, increased business growth, expanding your talent pool being just a few examples. But it can also be a huge investment, with language and cultural barrier challenges to overcome… Not to mention, as a recent survey conducted by 90 Seconds at the Global MarTech Summit around the challenges brands face when creating hyperlocal campaigns on a global scale revealed, a lack of global strategy to navigate. Whereas on the other side of the coin, a hyperlocal focus comes with less cost, and allows for prompt decision and time sensitive promotions to be rolled out quickly. That said, while hyperlocal marketing can be more efficient, it is also limiting and can be unexpectedly consuming with customers demanding rapid responses and immediate connection. Striking the right balance – i.e. creating hyperlocal content campaigns on a global scale – is the golden ticket and in this article we explore how to go about that and to do so in a sustainable way, a topic recently explored at the aforementioned Global MarTech Summit, which saw 90 Seconds’ very own Jessica Triffitt, Managing Director for Asia, take to the stage, in partnership with Meera Jane Navaratnam, Accenture’s Director for Strategy and Consulting, and Bryan Camoens, Communications Leader, Partner Sales and Service Provider, Asia Pacific & Japan at Cisco Systems.
But before we dig into the how, let’s first explore why content is paramount to this. Put simply, developing local content increases a brand’s SEO rankings and direct sales8. A marketer needs to first focus on what their audience wants to consume, not what they wish to sell. And the answer to that is video, video, video.
The average person is predicted to spend 100 minutes per day watching video this year9 – and this appetite is in no way going to be sated soon, with nine out of 10 consumers overtly wanting to see more videos from brands and businesses in 2022.10 From an industry point of view, 93% of marketers state video is an important part of their strategy for 202211 and 96% are planning to maintain or even increase their video spend in 202212.
When creating video content – irrespective of whether it’s for a global or hyperlocal campaign – ensure it is shareable. As Global Virtual MarTech Summit panelist Meera Jane Navaratnam highlighted, “what gets more awareness for your product and more eyes on your brand is shareable content. Content that is shared, shared and shared again creates natural advocates. When producing content, brands need to carefully consider how they can make this happen.”
TikTok, Google My Business pages, Facebook, LinkedIn, all great and important platforms for consideration, just don’t forget the single most important video consumption platform. If YouTube were a country, it would be the most populated one in the world, followed by China and India with two billion active monthly users13. YouTube truly is the global platform of choice with the average user spending 40 minutes on this platform via their mobile each day14 and as the second most popular website in the world (behind Google), you need to think twice if YouTube doesn’t form a core component of your distribution plans.
YouTube is arguably the most global social sharing platform, with 80% of its audience being outside of the US15. But it also brings very real hyperlocal benefits, with over 100 localised YouTube landing pages, as well as reach of an unrivalled diversity of viewers, reaching more 18–49-year-olds than any other cable network television in the US16. For marketers, YouTube brings more than just exposure and brand awareness benefits too, with 70% off viewers having bought a product they saw featured on the platform17.
In terms of the creation of your content, doing so locally enables you to not only benefit your own business, but the local community through measures like employment of talent and use of infrastructure – factors that play well with a local audience.
90 Seconds model is based on this hyperlocal model premise – using local crews and talent from a network of 13,800+ professionals to produce high-calibre content in over 160 countries around the world. The result is quality content, with input and insights that one wouldn’t get from a crew flown in from a regional or global head office. It’s also considerably more sustainable, and with environmental concern at the top of consumer priorities according to the UK Ethical Economy18, this needs to be a key consideration for any marketer.
Accenture’s Meera Jane Navaratnam honed in on the vital importance of sustainable marketing strategies. Sharing the considered assessment Accenture employs ahead of any campaign, which focuses on sustainability across an encompassing spectrum, Meera stressed the need for harnessing local crew during production, but also explored the often unconsidered concept of financial sustainability – i.e. recycling content in cohesion with the cyclical consumer cycle. Bryan Camoens, Communications Lead for Cisco further highlighted the need for sustainable local production, questioning the efficiency of brands who choose to fly out extensive numbers of people from the same team to oversee production: “What I’ve learned is that if the crew on the ground are sophisticated and experienced enough, no one has to fly out,” citing recent work conducted with 90 Seconds.
But by producing content at a hyperlocal level, you’re bringing more benefit to your content than simply those of an environmental and cost-saving nature; you’re also producing content that is going to cut through the masses and resonate deeply with a localised audience. Local talent understands the intricacies of cultural nuances and the complexities involved. Rather than ending up with a ‘one size fits all’ global approach to video content, with the only nod to the region being subtitled captions in local language, you’re creating a piece of genuine and authentic content that is going to connect on a fundamental level with the audiences you’re trying to engage. Take this example from French brand, Moet Hennessy, whose team in APAC created a campaign specifically for the Chinese market in the run up to the Chinese festive season.
In short, creating hyperlocal content with 90 Seconds is a win, win win in terms of sustainability, cost and efficacy.
Captions are no longer an option – even if a piece of content is produced in local language and distributed accordingly. With 69% of consumers now watching videos with the sound off19 and 80% of people being more likely to watch a video for its duration if captions are available, in 2022 we know that the preferred way of consuming video is to read it.
But it’s not enough to just simply translate, caption content and press send globally. Most recently at the aforementioned Global Virtual MarTech Summit, 90 Seconds’ Managing Director for Asia, Jessica Triffitt discussed the importance of transcreation over translation – essentially, going above and beyond a simple translation and caption job, but looking closely at what resonates and connects to a local audience. She urged marketers to consider transcreation – the process of adapting content from one language to another, while maintaining the existing tone, intent and style. While translation can be perfectly fine for informative text, when copy is designed to trigger an action from the reader – as marketing text usually is – transcreation is a far better and more effective solution.20
Cisco does this incredibly well and despite being one of the largest tech companies in the world ranking 63rd in the Fortune 500, they employ a ‘local language first’ approach when it comes to content creation. At the session, panelist Cisco’s Bryan Camoens explained how, despite the global nature of their business, they understand that in order to be truly successful globally, they must tell and share stories that resonate with customers locally:
“While approximately 70% of our brand guidelines and strategy are driven globally, we have a vital 30% where we can really embrace local nuance and make a campaign relevant for audiences in a local country,” Bryan said. A mutually beneficial partnership which sees the local teams “given strong parameters, and the regional or global teams important insight into a country and market they’ve never seen before.”
Transcreated content is especially important when it comes to creative copywriting techniques like puns and humour – techniques that often fall utterly flat when directly translated. While creative translation will generally include a portion of original content, transcreation often encompasses a complete reimagining of copy content so that it better resonates with a specific culture. Successful transcreation will also take into account copy length and style. Many languages are much longer than English, or one may lack specific vocabulary over another21. This means even the most award-winning content can turn into something altogether ineffective in another language with repetitive or awkward wording, miscomprehension or incorrect syntax. For scaling global content at a hyperlocal level, transcreating copy is worth every effort and for best effect, consider rewriting altogether locally in short, crisp language22.
If you’ve decided to hyperlocalise global marketing efforts, don’t forget that you’re dealing with multiple audience sub-segments within each segment. Don’t just focus on getting content right in a specific language, whether that be English, Malay, Japanese or Spanish. Consider who you’re talking to within each group. How do you get your message across to everyone on the metaphorical bus? Or literal if shelter placement is your thing! The 21-year-old on their way to university, the parent with their pushchair, the retiree, or the suited and booted professional on their way to work. Sure one could potentially assume they all speak the same language, but how is that particular chosen set of words going to land?
In their Beyond the Barre campaign, Marriott do this very well when publicising their Middle Eastern offering. Shooting across Marriott hotels in Dubai, Cairo and Kuwait, using famed Egyptian ballerina, Engy El Shazaly, they forge connections with the depth and breadth of their Middle-Eastern audience, connecting with prospective clients, all of whom span multiple generations across multiple geographies.
It’s worth every effort in investing in content professionals who are adept at this, as highlighted by panelists. Posting local content personalised to the target audience goes the majority of the way in terms of customer acquisition and raising brand awareness. To reach the collective, consider taking advantage of local stereotypes, trans-generational jokes or customs that can be used in content campaigns to connect with the masses. For example, perhaps a summer campaign in Dubai can make light of the excessive heat, whereas a summer campaign in Ireland may make light of the very lack of it!
Consider humour as your silver bullet when trying to communicate across multiple cultural and generational groups. People actively search for content that makes them laugh with 71% of consumers watching videos on social for this very purpose23. Avoid using jargon and keep it simple – if it has to be explained to be funny, it’s best avoided. This example, from Giant Singapore exemplifies this well with a lightly humorous and quirky video with 90 Seconds – mixing up the traditional format and injecting simple humour to capture attention and communicate the health benefits of its products. This video is unique in that its use of humour ensures mass-appeal to a wider, trans-generational audience, with children appreciating the characterisation and animation, and adults taking joy from its simple quirkiness and use of puns.
While there’s no doubt creating hyperlocal campaigns on a global scale requires greater strategy, resource and consideration, its efforts pay off in dividends. By working with the above advice, you can ensure you’re scaling sustainably and to maximum effect; and with a footprint in 160 countries, having taken some of the world’s most trusted brands on this journey already – brands like Amazon, Marriott and Unilever – 90 Seconds is the perfect partner to guide you as you navigate bridging the hyperlocal and global content gap.