Global Versus Hyper-Local.

In recent times the “Global Invasion” or more appropriately termed global expansion of retail businesses has proceeded at pace. Due to the pressures of shareholders constantly agitating for growth stories and fueled by the capabilities provided by technology and willing landlords, international retailers have been taking any and every realistic opportunity to increase their coverage.

What this has created is a rapidly evolving marketplace where two polarized trends are gaining ground at the expense of those caught in the middle.

Welcome to the new world of ‘Global versus Hyper-Local’.

In this new world, consumers have access to the best and most magnetic retail offers in the world. Communicated through global promotional campaigns, glamorous product placement and social media endorsement by superstars, consumers have the capability to either reach out online to access the brands and products that attract them or increasingly, by them as the international brands bring their stores to this country.

The resultant impact is that domestic businesses that have historically copied international brands and products and relied on geographic protection as a competitive advantage are either radically altering their business models or perishing.

Rejecters of international brands are not settling for local me-too options as replacements but instead searching for genuine uniqueness at a local level. Uniqueness based on a functional and emotional story that connects because of its reliance on or support of local consumers and their lifestyle enhancement at a deeper personal level.

This is something global brands cannot and do not need to compete with. After all, their ‘worldiness’ is the very essence of their appeal so any attempt to localize actually attacks the very reason people are attracted to them.

The interesting side benefit of hyper-local in some instances, is that this genuine provenance often grows into a unique international appeal in its own right. Obvious examples of this can be found in French champagne or Rimmel’s “The London Look”. RM Williams as a brand ripe for international appeal from a HyperLocal appeal.

The lesson for all retailers is clear. If you are not an international or national power brand you have no choice but to evolve your business into a HyperLocal competitor. And there is no doubt that if you do that well, your profit potential will grow exponentially.