In her Marketing Week article “The Value of Nationalism” posted just prior to the Scottish Referendum on 18th September 2014, Lucy Tesseras pointed out that the Scotland debates had “posed a longer-term question for marketers regardless of the result – the role of nationalism and national heritage in brand marketing.”
She went on to explain that “national origin is one of the oldest, and potentially most effective, foundations on which to build a brand. But as well as conferring a sense of identity, it can also have the unwelcome effect of narrowing a brand’s market.”
The article also cites the comprehensive FutureBrand ‘Made In’ survey of over 1,000 consumers in several countries, together with branding experts and focus groups, looking at the strength of national origin as a branding attribute. Topping the list came France for food, the USA for beauty and fashion, Germany for automotive and Switzerland for luxury goods.
Within national boundaries there are similar benefits that can be conferred by various localities. Universities with strong reputations can do this, particularly for businesses in science, technology and innovative industries. Oxford and Cambridge addresses can prove advantageous for the success of many businesses and their international status for academic achievement, research and leading edge developments negates the downside of a narrow local market effect.
In general, especially in a business to business context, it is helpful for companies to associate themselves with the area in which they are based. Consumers may not be aware, and probably don’t care, about where the head office of a supermarket may be, but it is important for companies to know where potential business partners are based.
There is the obvious reason of convenience in attending meetings and day-to-day communication, but there are questions of perception too. A strong sense of establishment and connection with a community can provide an impression of reliability and permanence. Short of a very good reason for not doing so, corporate websites should therefore always show clearly the contact details of the business to reinforce its sense of place and stability.
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, where BBI Brandboost is based, has successfully re-positioned itself from being strongly associated with furniture manufacture to having a far broader mix of industries and businesses. Declining local industries can reflect negatively on an area for a time but, as has been the case with High Wycombe, communities with active and committed businesses in their area will bounce back all the stronger.
The developing power of the internet and improvements in global communications and infrastructure have made it easier for many businesses to operate in widely differing urban and rural addresses while still keeping their finger on the pulse. That is a message that can be well worth putting across in marketing and communications activities, promoting not only what you are and what you do as a business but also where you are and why you are there.
Contact BBI Brandboost on 01494 452600, by email or via the Live Chat function on our website to discuss business strategies relating to location and community.
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