SOURCE: Communispace

Communispace

September 30, 2010 00:01 ET

Communispace Identifies Connection, Value and Product Life Cycle as Drivers to "Buy Local"

Global Online Research Study Uncovers Consumer Insights to Aid Business Success

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - September 30, 2010) -  Today, Communispace announced the findings of a proprietary research study called "Local Eyes: The Newly Focused Consumer Lens," which explores the growing consumer trend to purchase "local." Through a multi-method online approach, Communispace researchers tapped nearly 1,000 consumers from 10 different countries around the globe to learn how they define, prioritize and support local endeavors.

The research uncovers that consumers seek a sense of personal and civic connection to products, brands, manufacturers and retailers. This report provides companies with the consumer insight needed to develop practices and messaging to help them tap into the growing "hunger" for localism.

"Our Local Eyes research study provides brands with a better understanding of what the global consumer takes into consideration when it comes to buying local," said Manila Austin Ph.D., Communispace's Director of Research. "As the research indicates, 'buying local' isn't a top priority for consumers, but when 'local' is seen as a means to obtain a high quality, cost effective, safe and reliable product, localism becomes an important part of a product's overall value proposition."

Research Results 

  • Local is contextual and isn't just about food. The definition of local changes depending on where the consumer is based -- on an island, in the city or suburbs, in what country, etc. -- and on their own set of buying needs and personal priorities. The local phenomenon also goes beyond local food and the desire to be altruistic. Local purchases strengthen ties to family, to neighbors and to the land itself; they also contribute to the community and the economy at-large by generating both jobs and tax revenue.
  • Connection is key. Today's consumers are wired-in on a global level. Thus, one compelling aspect of local buying is, in our commoditized world, "local" can connect consumers to an authentic experience and ground purchasing decisions with a sense of history, tradition and community. Brands have an enormous opportunity to create this sense of connection through sharing their story and history, and sinking roots in local communities through corporate giving, hiring practices, and domestic support operations.
  • Local enhances the value proposition. When consumers are seeking a certain benefit from a product -- such as freshness, geographical convenience or supportive customer service -- they often see purchasing local products as a way to get what they want, not just to do good..
  • 'Local' is becoming a mainstream criteria for purchasing decisions. Consumers have a heightened awareness of how products are made and are taking a more holistic view of their purchases, considering pre-point-of-sale factors such as where the raw materials come from, where they're manufactured, what carbon footprint they create, etc. This "global" way of thinking has become more mainstream and consumer buying decisions are now based on this multi-faceted value proposition.

Implications for Brands 

The research indicates that any brand, no matter what size, can create a local presence in the community. To capitalize on the lessons of the "local" trend, brands must focus on connecting with consumers, being transparent with successes and challenges, and teaching employees -- their corporate community -- about the product's value proposition and life cycle so they can, in turn, educate the customer. Most importantly, they must remember to be flexible and consider the unique needs of the local community, wherever they are in the world.

For Additional Information:
Communispace's full "Local Eyes: The Newly Focused Consumer Lens" research report is available for download here: http://www.communispace.com/research/MacroTrends.aspx.

About Communispace:
The world's most admired brands turn to Communispace, the leader in generating game-changing insights via private online customer communities. Founded in 1999, the company has created more than 350 customer communities for industry leaders such as Kraft, Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab, Hallmark, Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline and Hilton Hotels Corporation. Headquartered in Watertown, Massachusetts, the company has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, London, New York, San Francisco, as well as Imperia, Italy, and Sydney, Australia. For more information, please visit: www.communispace.com.

Contact Information