Thousands of businesses use geographic segmentation in developing marketing strategies. It has proven effective in attracting and retaining customers and demonstrates the importance of geographic segmentation in building a brand.
Because it makes your branding solid and allows you to compete with your competitors. Not only does it strengthen your business, but it can also be very valuable in maximizing the profit your business can make in a particular region.
In this article, we’ll go over what geographic branding means, why it’s important to your marketing strategy, and how you can build your own geographic brand identity.
What Is Geographic Branding?
As the name implies, geographic branding focuses on building a brand within geographic boundaries. This can be within a region, a city, or even a country.
Usually, the branding strategy focuses on the specific characteristics of the area and the goal is to become a recognizable brand within a region.
Sometimes it’s also about shaping or changing the way a company is perceived within geographic boundaries.
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Why Should You Use Geographic Branding?
If you’re looking to expand your business into new territories or strengthen your expansion, it’s important to prioritize geographic branding in your marketing strategy. Here are a few reasons why;
A. Top-Of-Mind Awareness And Acquisition
As a brand, you always want to be present in the minds of your target audience. That’s why many companies invest in brand awareness campaigns as part of their marketing efforts.
Focusing more on geographic branding will help you capture a large market share in your industry.
For one, people see your brand as trustworthy and best suited for their needs. So you’ll always be the go-to business when your target audience is ready to make a purchase or commit to a brand. Plus, you’ll get more referrals over time.
B. Community Building And CSR
Because people in a region feel heard through your branding, they’re naturally more inclined to visit your store. The way people perceive your business has a big impact on whether or not they want to be associated with it.
Building communities is also becoming increasingly popular among businesses, and that makes it much easier to start one. With a solid community, you can positively impact your business numbers.
66% of professionals say their online community has had a positive impact on customer retention, 68% say it has helped them generate new leads, and 55% say they have made more sales.
As we’ll see later in this article, you’ll need to work on multiple local projects, and this can also promote corporate social responsibility.
How To Build Your Geographic Brand Identity
Are you ready to increase your brand awareness, double your acquisition numbers, and build a strong community for your business through geographic branding? Here’s how you can do it;
1. Segment Your Market
As with any other brand positioning strategy, you need to figure out what your target market is. In this case, you shouldn’t use personas but group your users by cities, regions, countries, or similar characteristics.
Let’s say you’re a travel agency that wants to work on geographic branding. The travel packages you design for Africans would be different from those in the EU. Normally, you’d sort the visa-free countries to better position yourself.
Also, there is a language barrier. If you’re specifically targeting Africans, you should group English-speaking African countries and separate them from French-speaking African countries.
The type of market segmentation depends on the end goal of your brand strategy. However, you can create customer segments based on three main criteria;
- Time zone: You can create branding strategies for users in specific time zones. This could be a specific region or grouping several counties together in one country, e.g. the USA.
- Language: Similar to what we’ve already noted, you can group audiences by their language. For example, if you want to work on your business branding in Canada, you need to develop strategies for the French and English-speaking regions.
- Location: These can be segments by region, zip code, country, etc
The beauty of segmenting by geographic location is that it only requires a few data points. So it’s very easy to group your potential market for further branding.
Pro Tips– Analyze your existing customers to better understand how they interact with your brand – whether by region, time zone, or language.
– Make sure you don’t create too many segments – stick to 3-5 geographic segments at most.
2. Focus On Local SEO
Once you’ve identified your potential market, it’s time to start local branding. And the easiest way to do that is with local SEO.
You can start building your local SEO by opening a Google My Business account. This won’t only make you visible on popular search platforms like Google Maps, but it’ll also allow you to publish your contact information online.
Here’s an example of businesses listed on Google My Business that show up for the search query “restaurants in Arizona.”
Another strategy could be content marketing. You could invest in creating helpful videos or blog content for your users. This way, you can get backlinks from reputable websites and use them to improve your page ranking. This way, you’ll be among the first results when people search for specific terms.
Finally, many people believe in reviews because they’re real-life experiences that other people tell about your business. So collect customer reviews from your existing users. If you’re an eCommerce brand, you can place them on your website and product pages.
Remember, it’s important to ask for these reviews on local sites like Yelp or Tripadvisor. Even if there’s a chance you’ll get a bad review, you can respond to it and control the narrative by being helpful.
These steps are important because they help the algorithm behind the SERPs recognize that your business offers the most valuable solution. They also serve as an instant vote of confidence. Not only will your target audience see you as a thought leader in your industry, but they’ll be willing to choose your business first.
Pro Tips– Conduct regular SEO audits to get clear insights for optimization.
– Make sure your contact information is consistent across all entries to avoid losing leads.
3. Get A Country-Specific Domain
If you’re planning branding campaigns for specific countries, the first step is to get a ccTLD (country code top-level domains). These are domain extensions like .es for Spain or .co.uk for England.
When you have a country code in the domain, you personalize your user experience for that specific target market. It also gives the impression that you have developed the website specifically for that region. This way, your visitors and the local target audience will easily trust your brand.
It’s also helpful for local search engine optimization. Because it shows the search engines that you’re focusing on a specific region. So your SEO efforts and ranking will be directly in those countries.
When you expand into regions that use their own search engines, like Baidu and Yandex, those search engines usually show results in their own ccTLDs. If you have that, your business is automatically on the same level as the local competition.
Many businesses take the low-cost approach by creating subdirectories instead. So instead of creating your own website, you create an extension for specific countries or languages. To do this, you first need the .com TLD. Then you’d have www.domain.com/fr for France.
The good thing about this method is that you can use all the existing traffic and backlinks from the other websites.
Pro Tips– Optimize the websites or landing pages by using the official languages and country nuances on these pages.
– Use hreflang or language meta tags, so Google better understands which languages you’re optimizing for.
4. Create An Emotional Connection
You need to understand the culture and dynamics of a region to build an emotional connection with your local customer base. Because when you understand what appeals to them, you can create an experience better tailored to them
Start by engaging location-specific influencers. This is why Nike often works with athletes from different countries. When people see a relatable face, they’re more likely to listen to what that person is saying. This could even be an act of patriotism – because it gives a sense of belonging. So get a familiar face as a partner.
We also recommend organizing events in the community. The more members of the local community talk about your brand, the more you can build your brand identity.
This could start with a holiday campaign or address a location-specific issue. You could also simply take a stand during a crisis. Just like many companies stood by Ukraine’s side in 2022.
To build community, however, you need advocates. That’s why businesses targeting schools often launch a campus ambassador program. Because students understand the struggle of other students and can easily influence them to choose a particular brand.
You shouldn’t limit yourself to organizing events but also participate in local events. This way, you can connect with people in the community. This is a great way to answer questions about your brand or share information that you think will be helpful.
Also, reach out to local publications, online and offline. As members of the local community interact with these platforms, you should be around them all the time.
Pro Tips– Partner with local brands to build your credibility as an industry leader.
– Work to create an identity for your community, for example – sustainability branding.
5. Have Region-Specific Social Media Handles
Many companies have a single social media account for all their locations. However, it’s difficult to personalize your posts, especially if you change languages, celebrate certain holidays, and more.
That’s why a region-specific social media handle can be very effective. Spotify is a good example of a brand that uses region-specific handles. To better engage with users in different regions, Spotify has handles for Africa, Canada, the UK, Australia, Russia, and other countries. On these pages, they can celebrate region-specific artists, charts, and shows.
Aside from connecting with your local audience by sharing posts with local nuances, you can use region-specific social media to gauge the sentiment of your users to improve your brand positioning strategy.
Many customers use social media channels for support. They ask questions and sometimes leave complaints. With tailored channels, you can respond faster and leave a lasting impression of your brand.
You can also build online communities through Facebook groups, Telegram groups, branded hashtags, and more.
Pro Tips– Make sure you set up a social media team of locals, so they’re familiar with the region and culture.
– Design regional approaches that align with your brand message – but they should be separate campaigns for different regions.
6. Remain Consistent Across Your Brand
As we have seen, it’s helpful to have specific social media handles, domains, communities, and more. However, you shouldn’t deviate from your original brand positioning. That’s why you need to stay consistent so that users can always immediately recognize your brand.
Regardless of the language differences, you should stay consistent with your copy. This applies to the spelling of your brand name, words you’d abbreviate, and those you wouldn’t. The address of your company should also be consistent.
Stay consistent with your design elements, too. This includes brand colors, logo placement, and even overall style. When everything is consistent, whether online or offline, it’s easier to recognize your brand anywhere in the world.
With this visibility in local markets, you can easily compete with larger brands in the area. Plus, you don’t have to worry about copycats taking advantage of your inconsistencies to scam or poach your potential users.
Pro Tips– Create a single brand message or positioning statement that will influence your other brand efforts.
– Have a branding design playbook for your team members to use.
7. Review, Revise, And Restrategize
The only way to know if your geographic branding is effective is to analyze the results you’re getting. Start by making a list of everything you hope to achieve.
Track social media metrics on your region-specific pages. Analyze ticket sales at community events. You could also measure social mentions to see if sentiment has changed after you launched your campaign. We recommend you use a CRM tool to help you keep track of these metrics.
The results you see, good or bad, will help you re-evaluate your brand positioning. You’ll know if you should double your efforts or look for better ways to personalize your experience.
We also recommend that you incorporate geographic branding into every aspect of your marketing initiative because it’s the fastest way to win over a local audience.
Pro Tips– Check if your brand delivers on the promises it originally made to its users.
– Check whether or not your branding represents the values and vision of your company.
Geographic branding is important for companies with multiple locations. Not only does it help you establish yourself in new locations, but it also ensures that you build a connection with your target market to attract and retain users. The tips above will help you solidify your brand name in multiple locations.