Keeping it Local – a message for the “International Brands”.

Have a local story and know your media!
 

Every Tuesday the Breakfast show on RTE 2FM runs a piece called “Medium Sized Town, Fairly Big Story” where the presenter trawls the local papers for interesting stories that are big in a particular area and these stories are presented on the national stage.  This little feature is one of the most popular of the week and has spawned similar style features on other National radio shows. Its success is down to the fascination we have about what happens on our own doorstep.  Of course this is nothing new, for years the PR and ad landers have talked in respectful tones about the strength of local radio and local press in Ireland and I believe that there is a lesson here for international brands selling into the Irish market.  “Find a local angle and make it work for you in a local tone of voice across the right media choice”.

Last year, our sister company, The Keogh Partnership was tasked by HTC to find an angle to amplify” its UK sponsorship of the MOBO’s (Music of Black Origin) Awards.  Whilst Ireland is now “multi-cultural” we haven’t had a real black headliner since the days of Phillo and Thin Lizzy, (with no disrespect intended to Samantha Mumba or DOVE!).  Well the answer leapt forward when we noticed one “Maverick Sabre” on the list of nominees.  Maverick, for the uninitiated, is a modern day “soul” sensation who grew up in North London with Irish parentage.  Interestingly he also spent much of his teens in Co. Wexford.  By finding the local angle and HTC was able to bring the MOBO’s to life with a campaign that included a hugely successful intimate, invite – only gig for HTC social media fans, customers and national radio and print competition winners.  By cracking the “local angle” the payback was huge.

But lest you think it’s all about the “PR-ability” of a local story it’s also about knowing and understanding your local audiences media habits.  There are huge differences in media consumption between ourselves and the “mainland”.  Ask anyone who has ever presented “The Irish Star” on a media schedule to a UK based marketing team and they will be familiar with the raised eyebrow that greets them.  It’s the same online when we recommend groups like Boards.ie or specialist bloggers like Suzanne Jackson at Sosueme.ie.  It also raises an eyebrow if we don’t strongly recommend Google+.
It’s almost sacrilege in UK and international  online marketing terms to say you don’t yet recommend Google+!  But at the moment in Ireland, I believe that Google+ is only really being embraced by the SEO types. We all recognise that Google+ is catching up with Facebook in terms of  user numbers, but how much of that is because of Gmail usage? How many are really active locally?  From an SEO viewpoint  it’s best practice  to keep on the right side of our Cyber overlords but am I alone in not really embracing Google+ yet?
An unscientific bit of landscape mapping carried out across my client’s competitors would indicate that the profiles are registered but there’s still  not a lot of engagement going on.  Does the  “tree falling in the forest make a noise” and all of those clichés spring to mind?

In the UK 75% of the top 100 brands have Google+ pages, but again engagement seems  to be less than the other big social media presences.
·         Some of those using it well include in the UK to date include:
·         ASOS (the online fashion retailer) – with  daily posts  and interesting Google+ exclusive content. And yes of course Google+ also fulfils a need for an online retailers SEO!
·         Cadbury – as you’d expect from the confectionary giant
·         Toyota –  possibly taking its lead from the US with regular Google+ exclusive content.

So what should you do now if you’re in charge of the marketing budget for Ireland?  Well first thing is  know your local media and decide just how much time and budget you can allocate to the various media.  In the case of Google+, “Land grab” your space now, don’t cede it to a competitor, mischief maker or well-meaning brand fan!
Next, set a budget and draw up a holding strategy and content plan.  Now here’s the controversial part, if your time & budget is too limited our advice is to concentrate that resource primarily on Facebook for the moment!  But keep a watching eye on Google+ and the imminent arrival of Google Now as the search giant really embraces mobile and have a plan in place for when you see it reaching a tipping point.  You’ll be able to use a lot of your Facebook content repackaged anyway  There we’ve gone and said it!
Now watch our website slip down the rankings before disappearing forever!  Hopefully Not!

PS, Google, you’re still the best Search Engine, by miles and miles!

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