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License to localize

There’s a car commercial out showing the usual stuff: a beautiful woman, gorgeous landscapes and a state-of-the-art dashboard resembling something from NASA.

As the red car drives off into the sunset, we see the license plate is painted red, rendering it unreadable.

This subtle trickery provides homogeneity, enabling the sponsor to broadcast the ad in virtually any market. Most customers can easily envision it being driven in their state or near their home, encouraging a sense of “ownership.”

It makes sense, if you consider it. Every state license plate has its own colors and slogan, and the world faces a rising tide of tribalism at every level.

Meaning the moment you show specific colors on the plate, you instantly regionalize the sales opportunities. Someone in Pennsylvania might think twice about buying a car blatantly sporting a California tag.

It’s important to build a relationship with your customer, where they not only feel you provide good quality, value and service, but that you and they belong to each other.

Like the seagulls in the movie “Finding Nemo,” whose sole line is “Mine! Mine!” consumers tend to feel proprietary about whatever they’re buying.

They want to be romanced and persuaded that you’re their provider, and that they’re more to you than just a number on a ledger.

By camouflaging that license plate, this car company has successfully eliminated the issue and allowed millions of prospective customers to subconsciously say, “Mine!”

Regardless of what you sell, you, too, can take advantage of this sleight of hand. We know people do business with those they know, like and trust, suggesting most folks will buy from those with whom they feel an attachment.

It explains why product testimonials from friends go much further than from celebrities. And why businesses hundreds of miles away use local area codes to call you, hoping you’ll answer a neighborhood merchant.

Consider your own audience to find ways of localizing your image. Mention your locations in your ads. Talk about how long you’ve served the region. Support Chambers of Commerce, Rotary clubs and religious organizations.

Maybe even tweak your company’s moniker to incorporate your town’s name.

Remember: Huge multinational brands may have bigger marketing budgets to work with, but nothing drives long-term success like community relationships.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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