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Regional marketing: is the communications industry contributing to a ‘divided nation’?

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London is our nation’s capital. Nobody can underestimate the importance of that but it’s also worth highlighting the marketing opportunities that live outside of it.

The capital’s influence as an opinion forming, trend-setting centre endures: all major TV networks and national radio stations are based here, as well as our national press. So, when it comes to experiential, if a key campaign output is PR, then London still holds the power.

However, when it comes to consumer engagement, London may not be the best place to be. The London consumer is a hurried individual with, generally, less time and less interest in promotional activity.

87% of the UK’s population do not live inside the M25, and there are 68 other cities in the UK, many with huge (1m +) populations. For brands seeking high footfall areas, non London centres could actually be better suited to a brand’s values or brief, as they can offer more specialism:

  • if seeking a GenZ audience, brands would be well placed to consider one of the 150 student hubs in the UK
  • if there’s a tech story to tell, ‘Smart City’ Bristol, or the ‘Silicon Fen’ in Cambridge are great choices
  • if it’s arts and culture, then cities like Brighton and Hove, or Liverpool, would arguably answer the location brief better than parts of London could…

...and all at a fraction of the cost (typically London is 3-4 times more expensive than other cities).

We recently ran a panel discussion with four brand side marketeers who have a strong regional strategy and are innovating in the events and experiential sector.

Fiona McPherson from Lego, Richard Exton from Nando’s, and Rachel Hall from PinTarget were all aligned that we need to pop the London bubble and venture out of London and identified three golden rules imperatives for developing a successful regional experiential strategy:

1. Do your homework: work with a local ‘coach ‘to understand the nuances of an area before activating.

2. Understand what’s important to people: whether it’s by using local staff to resonate with people, or changing the campaign because what’s important in Germany isn’t the same in France, don’t employ a one size fits all approach.

3. Don’t assume behaviours are the same across the country: when activating in London, so many people are concentrated in one area, for instance the commute. This isn’t the same across the country with over 50% of people driving to work everyday. Understand how your audience behaves in order to target them.

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