10 Examples of Localized Marketing that Worked & Why

Local consumer insights are a powerful asset.

For some time now, brands both big and small have seen huge success in tailoring large-scale and global campaigns to individual regions and markets.

The reason is simple: no two markets are the same. 

The ongoing shift from ‘reach’ to ‘relevance’ is urging more brands to follow suit – using data to guide smarter, localized campaigns for better results.

Using regional and local insight is also crucial to avoid mistargeting and to keep your reputation intact. Many brands have experienced a steep and expensive learning curve having had their regional campaigns fail to resonate, or worse, offend local audiences.

These 10 brands show us how localized marketing is done, and what you get from doing it right – expertly enhancing their brand position amongst local audiences.

1. Coca-Cola – ‘Share a Coke’

The Campaign

 

How does a global megabrand get personal with its audience? The answers is through individualization. 

The leading drinks brand researched the most popular names in its core markets and printed them on individual bottles to drive engagement and purchasing. By using popular regional names, coke spoke to individuals en masse. 

The Result

 

This generated a sharing frenzy, because the campaign specifically targeted consumers who use social media, asking them to post photos and stories online. 

By encouraging user-generated content in this way, people shared sentiments that were more personal to them, with Coke initiating the conversation and fitting naturally within these stories.

2. Lidl – ‘#LidlSurprises’

The Campaign

 

Lidl carried out research into their brand perception amongst their target market and found the assumption was their produce was of lower quality than other supermarkets. 

In an effort to disprove doubters, London food specialists were invited to an exclusive farmers market in the trendy east end. 

The agency documented the event, and popular food bloggers shared stories on social media about the high quality of the food. 

The campaign was spearheaded by Lidl’s creative agency, TBWA London, which aimed to dispel the idea that Lidl sold produce of lower quality than other major supermarkets. 

Once people expressed an interest, they were told the products came from Lidl, a brand whose price point  came as a pleasant surprise.

Why it Worked

 

Though focused on a small experiential event, Lidl sent a powerful message of intrigue, locality and surprise which was amplified on social media and received a national response in the digital sphere. 

People started reacting to the campaign and using the hashtag #LidlSurprises in their posts. This was captured and amplified by the photos hung as posters across local stores. 

Picture of poster featuring tweets in Lidl stores.

The success of the campaign directly hinged on their research into their target audience – they found out how they were perceived in that region and figured out how to change that perception.

3. Nike – ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’

The Campaign

 

The U.S.-based sportswear brand’s creative agency, Wieden + Kennedy, were tasked with developing a London-centric campaign

This resulted in a set of ads that epitomized the essence of what it means to be a young sportsperson in London.

Why it Worked

 

By using the lesser-known local areas of London such as Peckham and Dalston as the setting for the ad, they spoke to young people about a London they recognized. Similarly, using London-born celebrities boosted their message that talent comes from all corners of the city – not just the most affluent.

The campaign received outstanding recognition from both global and local publications and won awards at Cannes Lions, picking up a Titanium, Grand Prix, three Golds, three Silvers and eight shortlists. 

Online searches across London for Nike products also rose 93% following the ad’s release, according to fashion search platform Lyst. Nike searches were also up 72% in Manchester and 54% across the UK overall.

4. Snickers – You’re Not You when You’re Hungry

The Campaign

 

Snickers built their global campaign around a single prominent insight into the male psyche, tailoring it to local audiences. 

They found that men have an innate social desire to remain part of the pack, and when they’re hungry, they become bitter, angry or “whiny” which puts their position in the group in jeopardy. 

But the way BBDO, the agency behind the campaign, diversified its themes amongst its core markets was key to its success. 

Why it Worked

 

Using pastimes, features and celebrities local to each region, they tailored their insight with familiarity.

Here’s their TV ad targeting U.S. audiences:

The ads for the UK were centered around soccer, whilst Australia’s was set on a dirt bike track.  

According to Campaign, in its first full year, ‘You’re Not You when You’re Hungry’ supported a 15.9% increase in global sales, and grew market share in 56 of the 58 markets in which it ran.

It obtained every major effectiveness award, including two Effectiveness Lions, an IPA gold, and global and local Effies and AME Awards. 

5. Smirnoff – Soho Angels

The Campaign

 

As we make strides to become more inclusive in societies across the world, Smirnoff are supporting the transition by carrying out acts to promote inclusivity. 

From its own research, Smirnoff found 12% of millennials identified as ‘transgender or gender non-conforming’. 

It’s global campaign, titled ‘We’re Open’, was built on an experiential model, aiming to celebrate non-binary communities and raise awareness of the challenges faced by indeviduals.

As part of this, the drinks brand deployed helpers to the streets to help vulnerable groups return home safe at night.

This was part of an initiative by Westminster Council and LGBT Foundation to ensure night-time safety throughout the city, but this particular initiative was focused squarely on the LGBTQ+ community, who are often victimized based on sexual orientation. 

Why it Worked

 

Smirnoff’s promotion of inclusivity through individual actions was amplified across the digital sphere.

Although the campaigns results haven’t been released, Smirnoff’s head of Europe, Sam Salameh, explains it was their actions that drove their message:

“If you don’t back up a compelling story with some significant action, it becomes a little meaningless. We’re driving brand equity and we’ve seen that with every iteration of the We’re Open platform.”  

6. Mobily – Expat Product Targeting

The Campaign

 

Mobily, the fastest growing mobile operator in the Middle East and North Africa, used local insights to help create targeted product offerings.

Mobily felt that uptake of services amongst expats could be improved. 

Mazher Abidi, Head of Strategy at Initiative MENA, said “we wanted to give our recommendation on how Mobily should be targeting different nationalities with the best packages for them. But at the same time, we wanted to base it on solid research and insight to validate our whole approach”.

Here’s what GlobalWebIndex’s local data revealed about expat mobile communications in Saudi Arabia: 

Chart showing how expats in Saudi Arabia keep in touch.

Why it Worked

 

These observations led to Mobily completely rethinking their product-led targeting and messaging strategy.

It gave them greater insight into their audience, shattering the long-held myth that IDD dialing and traditional voice calls are the way forward for expats. Intead, the brand promoted data-led packages which represented new pastures for the brand in that area.

7. Activia – It Starts Inside

The Campaign

 

‘It Starts Inside’ was initiated by Activia to spark conversations around female wellbeing, inspiring women to live life to the fullest and rise above their ‘inner critic’.

A study conducted by Activia and research partner GlobalWebIndex revealed that 80% of women in the U.S. aged between 25 and 55 agree that they are their own worst critic.

The campaign featured candid interviews with American women talking about their experiences with self-doubt as well as their strength and determination to achieve their goals. 

Why it Worked

 

The “Don’t Tell Me I Can’t” video is an ideal example of audience-centric localized marketing at work, where real people are advocates of the brands message.

With sentiments proven to be relevant to U.S. women, it built radical empathy and shifted perceptions of Activia as more than a product, but part of a wider process that helps women the road to self confidence and positivity.

8. KitKat – Edible Postcard

The Campaign

 

In Japan, KitKat is famous for bringing good luck as it sounds similar to the Japanese phrase “Kitto Katsu”.

Leveraging this and the Japanese tradition of sending “good luck” cards for the new school year, the famous chocolate bar brand offered customers the chance to print personalized messages on the wrapper and send via Japan Post.

Picture depicting the KitKat edible postcard campaign.

Why it Worked

 

The campaign received PR coverage on national news and throughout the blogosphere, totaling more than $11 million in free media.

It also highlighted the opportunity of alternative points of sale, aside from major super markets.

9. Pampers – Golden Sleep

The Campaign

 

The company published results from a sleep report conducted by the Beijing Children’s Sleep Research Center, based on the finding that Chinese mothers are concerned about the quality of their baby’s sleep, because this is believed to be directly related to cognitive development. 

The importance of academic achievement for children was also amplified by the one-child policy. 

From their research they promoted that Pampers helped babies: 

  • Fall asleep 30% faster.
  • Sleep an extra 30 minutes.
  • Have 50% less sleep disruption through the night.

Why it Worked

 

The U.S.-based company are famous for selling high-quality diapers across many countries, globally. They’re also masters of ensuring their messaging is culturally sensitive to maximize its appeal to local audiences, having learned from past mistakes.

In this case, scientific findings centered around a cultural insight that formed the basis for their messaging nationwide, moving away from the Western sentiments of improving convenience, to the child’s cognitive welfare. 

Today, after years of research, Pampers is one of the top diaper companies in China.

10. Virgin Atlantic – The Brexit Calculator

The Campaign

 

Following the result of the Brexit vote, Virgin Atlantic uncovered that travelers were reluctant to fly to London. The turbulent political landscape had changed wider perceptions of the city. 

But, the political upheaval caused by Brexit also resulted in an unexpected economic benefit for tourists, making the capital cheaper than ever to visit. 

The campaign centered itself around ‘The Brexit Calculator’, a microsite allowing visitors to calculate their potential savings on a number of quintessential British attractions by travelling with Virgin Atlantic. 

The Result

 

Fig, the agency behind the campaign, reported a 2:1 return on marketing investment and received a Gold Effie award.

Virgin Atlantic also saw excellent success against benchmarks;

The brand doubled its awareness goal increasing from 75 to 81 points from spring 2016 to spring 2017. 

Advocacy increased by four points, beating all goals and reaching the highest rating in nine years of tracking. 

Jenna Lloyd, Head of Marketing at Virgin Atlantic stated, “we recognized that when Brexit was announced at the end of last year that – from an airline’s perspective – it represented both a challenge and an opportunity. 

With this campaign, we celebrate the opportunity it exposed for U.S.-based travellers to the UK in a clever way.”

Localize your marketing with local data

Gathering regional insights using GlobalWebIndex, here’s how:

  1. Create detailed audience segments based on:
  • Behaviors
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  1. Decide what you want to know about these consumers, such as:
  • Consumer trends
  • Purchasing patterns
  • Brand advocacy trends
  • Attitudes and perceptions to wider life
  1. Apply your segments and questions to a specific nation, region and/or city.
  1. Analyze segments, comparing data points against regional and global averages.
 

Local insights are the foundation of localized marketing. 

Identifying patterns across cultures and regions doesn’t only give your localized marketing more sticking power, it helps you negate risks associated with targeting specific groups with different behaviors, outlooks, interests and understandings. 

Regional survey data allows you not only to analyze the behaviors of local markets, but understand what matters to them as individuals.

Mostly, it gives you a lens through which you can measure opportunity and risk with clarity.

click to access our regional snapshot data.