It’s an understatement to say that our shopping habits have changed with COVID-19. One recent study suggests consumer habits may change permanently.
The EY Future Consumer Index tracked sentiment and behavior across several countries and found that 42% of respondents believed the way they shop would fundamentally change due to the Coronavirus. As one example, when it came to brands and products specifically, 34% of respondents shared they would pay more for local brands, 25% for trusted brands and 23% for ethical products.
Paired with the fact that groceries, snacks and household supplies are the only categories in which U.S. shoppers currently expect and plan to increase spending (besides home entertainment, all other categories decline), CPG brands are in a unique position to amplify their brands in a meaningful way.
Customers plan to spend on CPG, and they want to spend with brands who are local and align with their values.
Having worked with natural CPGs ranging from industry disruptors to market leaders across food, beverage, supplements, cleaning products, pet products, skincare, beauty and more, one of the most powerful strategies that brands can use to build awareness, increase sales and create loyal advocates is to activate their local markets.
Real results from market activation campaigns we’ve executed for CPG brands have included:
- Transforming a market into the company’s highest sales generating region
- Creating new retail partnerships
- Selling out of new products upon launching
- Saturating local media with dozens of press features
- Turning founders into recognized thought leaders in their local communities
The list of results goes on and on. This is why local market activation campaigns are one of the strategies we highly recommend to our CPG clients when sell-through, market share and wallet share are monumentally important.
If you’re a CPG brand, it’s time to activate your local market to drive your brand’s visibility and viability.
Here are three ways CPG brands can get started today.
1. Highlight how you are helping and ask your community to join
Right now, the biggest commodity that brands can build is trust. If this is the first time you’ve activated your local market, one of the quickest ways to establish trust is by connecting with consumers over shared values and shared purpose, instead of just selling.
Use your social media channels, blogs, newsletter and local media outlets to tell stories about how your company is helping locals, employees, vendors, farmers — whoever it is.
Amplify your efforts by enlisting your community to step in and help. This creates an intimate relationship with your customers and begins to foster fierce brand loyalty that, under normal circumstances, can take a long time to build.
Right now, we’re in a season where the timeline for creating loyal brand advocates is condensed because people want to take action and their attention is easier to capture–if done the right way. Create a spot for your brand in consumer hearts and minds by doing something good together.
2. Partner with influencers in your local market to amplify your reach beyond your current audience
When speaking with brand owners and marketing leaders, many are apprehensive about partnering with influencers. Influencers often get a bad reputation with product-based brands because the few who reach out for free products to share with purchased Instagram followers have left a bad taste in many brand owners’ mouths.
While there are certainly “influencers” out there who aren’t very influential at all, there are many, especially at the local level, who are incredibly impactful brand partners. Even micro and nano-influencers with small followings have major clout with their communities (who are often locals in said market, too).
Look for influencers who want to help prop up the brands they believe in, have similar values to you, who live in the market you’re activating and who’s community does, too.
Influencers who highlight your brand on social media provide valuable social proof, third-party validation, content that you can re-share, an introduction to new audiences and more. A strategic local influencer marketing campaign can also give consumers the sense that your brand is everywhere at the same time. This is a powerful amplifier that CPG brands who typically leverage in-person opportunities to increase awareness–experiential events, festivals, sampling, street teams–shouldn’t overlook.
If you’re unsure of how to leverage influencers in a strategic way that provides ROI for your brand, schedule a call and let’s chat. We’ve been developing and executing influencer campaigns for budding brands to global corporations for 10+ years and are experts at right-sizing a strategy for CPG.
3. Get local on social
Use social media to reach locals virtually when you can’t meet in person. Content can be used as a trust bridge to highlight your company values, tell stories and create dialogue with your ideal customers.
Right now is the time to “show & tell” vs. just sell. Studies show that consumers plan to buy CPG no matter what. Use this opportunity to humanize your brand and stand out above “how-to” content and calls-to-action that simply tell people to buy.
The type of content that is performing especially well right now includes campaigns that tap into nostalgia, celebrating what makes a local market special and showcasing the people behind a brand.
Our agency is always focused on supporting the brands that make our lives healthier. Right now, our efforts are especially focused on helping the brands in our backyard thrive. If you’re a Texas-based brand looking for support on activating your local market, book a complimentary consultation call and let’s chat.