Due to the pressures of shareholders constantly agitating for growth stories and fuelled 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 polarised 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, buy 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 localise 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 is a brand ripe for international appeal and hyper local 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 hyper local competitor.
And there is no doubt that if you do that well, your profit potential will grow exponentially.
Peter James Ryan is head of Red Communication. He can be contacted on (02) 9481 7215 or at www.redcommunication.com.
© Copyright 2014. Red Communication Australia.