This week, we got into the hot topic or, better yet, the hot trend of buying local goods and what that means. Throw “local” on a brand or a product, and you can almost guarantee that it well sell faster and probably at a higher price. More and more consumers are being fed the idea that local = better. While sourcing locally and purchasing locally can be great for the environment and the economy, it is a more complex issue than marketers and branders let on. Sure, it gets consumers to buy your products…but how does it impact the system? Will the cost increase significantly? I’ve learned that yes, most likely, local = more expensive. And while to me, buying local is worth the extra increase in cost, it simply may not be feasible for a budget of a twentysomething fresh out of college with student loan debt to pay off.
Another important question: what happens to the current manufacturers that aren’t “local?” Sure, jobs are being created within our borders or within a certain geographical region nearby, but there is a cost to that benefit. Someone else loses their job.
To me, at this point, it seems that local and “big company” break even. From here, I see that there is a big opportunity for a hybrid of the two – where a large, household brand may operate locally and allow each office or each branch or each retail store to get their resources and employees from their respective regions. The problem with this solution, however, is that a unified brand is hard to maintain when you’re empowering multiple branches and stores in various regions to take control of their own stores and products based on the local resources. This negative, however, could also be seen as a positive – more jobs for marketers!
I’m only just now discovering how complex of an issue going local really is. I think it really depends on the market you’re in, what you’re trying to sell, who you’re trying to sell it to, HOW you’re trying to sell it, and where you get the resources to make it.
These are all so dynamic and constantly changing, which is why goog local isn’t as easy as slapping a sticker on a product package that says “made local.”