“Branding is Local,” and it is big business. The $97 billion local advertising market was on the agenda at yesterday’s Local Ad World conference in NYC:
Consumers interact with brands locally every hour of every day – on television, on the radio, in the newspaper, while driving and in stores, and more. With expanded creativity around media from agencies, brands and media owners, these media touchpoints are expanding rapidly – brands are now present on televisions at gas station pumps and in pharmacies, and on grocery store conveyor belts! How do large organizations managing a brand across different regions, markets and locations do so while ensuring flexibility across their local markets?Bank of America has encapsulated its strategy, “Make a national brand local.”
Jay Livingston, Senior Vice President, Bank of America, has regional responsibilities for Sponsorship Marketing & Local Market Planning, and he says his company’s brand is “non-negotiable.” How does Bank of America negotiate a localized marketing strategy then?
Livingston recounted a Bank of America NOT best practices story. Once upon a branding time, local branches were free-wheeling with their marketing practices and the Bank of America logo was “wantonly” emblazoned on diverse products. When a national marketing exec saw the Bank of America logo stamped on a “piece of cake,” a memo went out advising: Local branches will no longer be allowed to “eat the brand!”
Bank of America’s solution? Centralize the development of consistent, national brand messaging and collateral and enable local markets to “attach” them to local marketing initiatives and sponsorships.
Livingston cautioned, however, that in a consumer-facing service business, high-level branding messages must be reinforced by local staffing. For Bank of America, each of its “associates” in the field is a brand ambassador and receives three days of training aimed at instilling the Bank of America corporate philosophy.
What is Bank of America’s philosophy? Its brand tag line touts “Higher Standards.”