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Top Brands Explain What it Takes to Build a Successful Localized Marketing Strategy


As a multi-location marketer, wouldn’t it be nice to know what some of the largest and most successful multi-location businesses are doing in localized marketing? SOCi’s own Rob Reed, Strategic Advisor, Enterprise Brands, has done precisely this. Through his Clicks 2 Bricks podcast, Rob Reed sits down with senior-level management at some of the most well-known franchises worldwide and gets insight into what it took for them to find success with their multi-location business. 


Some of the brands interviewed in this podcast series include Torchy’s Tacos, Chipotle, Domino’s, Smashburger, Walgreens, Applebee’s, and more. We’ll share some of the most common themes we found across the various podcasts within this blog and highlight how you can implement these tactics into your localized marketing efforts. 


Utilize Location Intelligence


One of the most significant themes that we saw across the board throughout the interviews with senior-level brand executives was the need for location intelligence. Location intelligence is the process of deriving meaningful insights from local data to solve a particular problem. When looking at multi-location businesses, this means that your business must understand what is happening at the local level across business locations to solve issues that might arise. 


Local intelligence can also be used in terms of messaging. The way you would speak to your target audience in New York may differ from how you talk to your target audience in Texas. If you’re aware of what is happening at the local level, whether it’s weather-related or something more simple like the type of food that is locally popular, by leveraging localized intelligence to make your marketing tactics seem personalized, it will go a long way. Applebee’s has a great example of a robust localized marketing strategy. One of Applebee’s slogans is “Eating Good in the Neighborhood.” Joel Yashinsky, Applebee’s CMO, explains that Applebee’s utilizes localized messaging across locations to help their consumers understand that Applebee’s is a place where they can go to relax and spend their hard-earned money. 


If your multi-location business isn’t using location intelligence to inform your localized marketing efforts, you could be missing out on opportunities. Ensure that your consumers feel connected to your brand by speaking to them at the local level and meeting them where they’re at. A great way to understand if your local messaging is working across locations is by monitoring your multi-location business’s brand health.


Monitor Brand Health


While brand health may sound vague, various brands interviewed in the podcast series emphasized the importance of a healthy brand. Brand health is a collection of metrics that shows how well your brand is doing. Brand health can be measured in a variety of ways but can include some of the following metrics: 

  • Engagement on social media
  • Volume of reviews
  • Average star ratings 
  • New leads generated through localized marketing efforts
  • Percentage of local pages adopted


If your multi-location business isn’t already using these metrics to determine how your brand is performing, it’s time to get started. If you’re wondering where your brand should be in terms of the metrics mentioned above, our Q3 2020 State of Multi-Location Marketing Report should help. For instance, the report shows that in Q2 of 2020, the top platforms multi-location marketers were using include Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp. Scott Hudler, CMO of Torchy’s Tacos, explained that local social pages helped amplify Torchy’s brand to the masses. If your multi-location business isn’t already active locally on these platforms, it’s time to get started. While an active presence on local search and social platforms is critical, these local efforts could fall flat without an experienced brand and team. 


Brand Experience is Essential


You may have noticed a common theme among all of the brands featured in the Clicks 2 Bricks podcast – they are all recognizable, and most have been around for years. Brand experience is a crucial component of building a successful multi-location business. If your multi-location business is brand new or only a few years old, don’t worry! Experience doesn’t necessarily correlate with age. You can boost your multi-location business by hiring experienced employees. For instance, Art D’elia has only been the Executive Vice President at Domino’s for two years, but he has plenty of previous experience. If your multi-location business puts effort into who you hire, you will see results regarding your localized marketing efforts. 


Another great way to build brand experience is by hiring many people who have worked in various aspects of marketing. Rather than hiring an entire team that has only worked in digital marketing, consider hiring some employees who have had experience on the company’s sales side or who have worked in email marketing or a different marketing strategy than your multi-location business utilizes. If your business has employees with experience and backgrounds, it will boost your brand experience while also allowing opportunities to develop innovative ideas that haven’t been used in localized marketing before. 


Innovate and Think Outside the Box


Innovation is key if you want your multi-location business’s localized marketing efforts to be successful. Your multi-location business must ensure that you’re always staying ahead of the curve regarding new localized marketing tactics, platform updates, and new features. Testing new features on local search and social platforms or utilizing new localized marketing tactics will give your multi-location business a leg up on the competition.


For instance, at the beginning of the pandemic, many multi-location businesses had shelter in place orders, which forced them to think outside the box when it came to serving and reaching customers. Scott Johnson, Vice President and Head of Marketing for Smashburger, explained that to stay afloat, Smashburger created a pandemic marketing plan that focused on safety, innovation, and community. From a community standpoint, Smashburger created a program called Feed the Frontliners. This program allowed consumers to donate money to feed frontline workers, and Smashburger matched every dollar donated and then delivered the meals to the people working so hard throughout COVID-19. This new marketing tactic was innovative and brought positive attention to the brand, allowing them to continue making sales through this difficult time. 


If your multi-location business can’t do a program at the scale of Smashburger’s, there are other ways you can be innovative. For instance, is there a way to localize a consumer’s digital experience through chatbots or local social pages? Can you ensure that your business is more easily accessible through the pandemic with curbside and delivery offerings? Small innovative ideas can go a long way and help you find success in localized marketing. 


 As a multi-location marketer, we know that it can be challenging to stay on top of the latest trends, but our Industry News blogs can help. Published every few weeks, these industry news blogs highlight the latest localized marketing trends and provide tactics for implementing these trends into your localized marketing efforts. 


Maintaining a winning localized marketing strategy isn’t easy, but it’s worth the time and effort. Now that you know what top brands are doing to build a successful localized marketing strategy, it’s time to get started building your own. With 100s or 1,000s of business locations, this can be a difficult task for your marketing team to tackle on its own, but SOCi is here to help. SOCi is the central command for localized marketing and the all-in-one platform for your localized marketing needs. For more information on how SOCi can help your multi-location business level-up its localized marketing strategy, request a demo today!

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