The resurgence of "local" brands

August 20, 2013

Local brands are gaining steam as large companies look to balance a global view with regional relevance. Which companies do you think are doing local best?

It's all about location, location, location

When I was in business school ten years ago I thought I would scream if I heard the word "globalization" one more time. It seemed that every job I searched for wanted international experience – even if the firm's customer base was domestic. The future was in a far away, distant land and everyone was rushing to tap into it or build partnership network to claim global status.

Recently, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. Local has become the dominant theme of late. The local food movement is all the rage with farmers markets and farm-to-table food where menus list the origin of ingredients. The microbreweries and local craft beer industry has grown more than 10-fold in the last five years. Local news has returned with force with upstarts like Patch and Daily Voice and renewed effort by large corporations such as CBS Local. Yelp, as it expands beyond their legacy of restaurant reviews, has become an invaluable tool to help people navigate local communities, whether they live there or are just visiting. And, although not necessarily local, the cottage industry in the United States has risen dramatically with the likes of Etsy and eBay stores.

Local Brew

On the flip side, there are plenty of cases where local doesn't seem to be able to compete. Bookstores and mom & pop grocery markets are two examples of local not being able to compete.

We've noticed at CoreBrand that companies are coming to us to help them understand not just how their brands fair nationally, but also how they perform on the micro-level. While every brand needs to stay true to its core promise that holds all communication together, the ability to respond to the needs of regional populations is becoming a strategic priority. Depending on the aspirations of the company, the balance between a global/national view and a regional/local view will become a critical factor in brand success. Some are doing it better than others.

So, tell us: What are your favorite local brands? What are the brands you think have done the best in building a global or national brand while remaining relevant locally?

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