Yesterday, local co-op advertising dollars were intended to drive advertising efficiency for franchise organizations. Using local knowledge, a national brand could integrate into the fabric of a community. Today, many co-ops have left this original premise in the dust. These important local dollars now serve to boost programs at the national level. It is time that co-ops recapture these dollars and build efficient local ad programs. Here are 5 ways co-ops can increase the impact of their local spend through local knowledge:
1.) Leverage Local
It’s rare that a co-op’s media buying agency is in their local market. Media buying companies lack the capability to penetrate the local fabric of a community. They focus on the lowest cost per point, and rarely look at the softer side of the buy. Local operators know the market better than anyone else. They see them walk through their doors everyday. A high functioning co-op uses the local knowledge to get more impact from their buy. If WAAA is sponsoring the Crowdlapalooza, co-ops should leverage this opportunity with their brand. Co-ops can work with an agency partner to negotiate better buys with added value. Working with the right partner, co-op media buys deliver more and extend the impact of the buy.
2) Partnerships Are A Plus
Every market is full of venues, events, and activities that need some marketing help. Often, they don’t have the budget to do it? Co-ops can partner with exhibits, museums, amusement parks, or one time events. The co-op provides ad dollar for the partner in the form of a tag or integrated campaign. And the partner can leverage their venue as added value to the co-op. Offering tickets, meeting space for co-op team building, or just local credibility. Building local partnerships can bring new customers, and build community engagement with existing customers.
3) Location, location,location
If a co-op’s ad budget covers the entire market, its a good bet that the co-op has plenty of locations . Good co-ops use their locations to extend their brand in the community. They can build goodwill by providing an access point to events all over the city. Providing vouchers or coupons to to the venues. Not selling ticket prevents POS night mares and maintains good franchise agreement protocol.
4) Wag the dog
Co-op advertising dollars are the tail end of the advertising food chain. First comes national dollars, then regional then co-op dollars. This is until one market starts to show results and make the needle move. Most franchises create a committee of franchisees to take part in the brand discussion. Co-ops that have market success are often asked to lead these groups. Brands test marketing concepts without significant risk by going to single markets. Success at the co-op level identifies certain markets as key influencers. This success leads to more opportunity to drive brand leadership.
5) Respect the brand
Unique and innovative local marketing programs should not run counter to brand guidelines. System wide brand guidelines present a cohesive message to consumers. Local co-op efforts should compliment national efforts to have an impact on sales. Prepackaged ad products by corporate are good to have, but not the best in some circumstances. Co-ops should strive to explore localized creative execution that is within the brand guidelines.