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  5. Why local press works for big national brands
James Murphy
James Murphy

James Murphy, is a co-founder of top creative agency Adam&Eve whose clients include  Halifax, Unilever, John Lewis Partnership, Volkswagen and Hasbro, and was listed third in Campaign’s top 100 ad agencies this year. Here he argues that local media can be “immensely effective” for national brands because of its trusted relationship with local communities.

Globalisation and the rise of international ad networks serving hundreds of markets across the globe have created huge opportunities for the ad industry.

Networks have enabled agencies to share resources and pool knowledge in a way that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago.Likewise, rapid advances in technology have given consumers the ability to connect with people on the other side of the world in the blink of an eye.

In this context, it seems counterintuitive to say that local is more important than ever before. But the fact is that local community remains hugely important, with people spending a great deal of their time and money close to home. For brands, this is significant because it suggests that local insight and understanding continue to have a hugely important role to play in effective communications. By tapping into regional insights, an advertiser can position itself as an ally to people in a particular geography, reflecting and articulating local concerns, aspirations or humour.

And when brands get this right it can be immensely effective. Local media, local newspapers in print and digital, is a natural platform for this kind of activity. The industry combines the sheer scale of 40 million readers each week with a deep rooted connection with local community, based on a shared investment in local issues.

Local papers campaign on things that matter to their readers – whether it’s keeping the local hospital open, raising funds for a school, or exposing town hall waste – with real, tangible results. No other media can match this unique, highly trusted, and participatory relationship with its audience.

As judge of the new creative category in this year’s Local Media Works Awards, I will be asking creatives from across the industry to think about some of these issues. Entrants are tasked with answering the brief, What Does Local Mean to You? to come up with an execution for Local Media Works – the home of marketing for local newspapers and their digital platforms – which effectively promotes local press.

The winning ad will capture the unique relationship that local press has with its audiences and demonstrate how this can benefit national brands. Globalisation may have enabled people and businesses from opposite sides of the world to connect instantly, but local is still hugely important to people’s lives.

I believe that by better understanding this and, when appropriate, reflecting local concerns and aspirations, communicators can help clients to achieve a much deeper and more meaningful relationship with their audiences.