You don’t have to live in San Francisco to realize that all things “local” are having a moment right now – locally roasted coffee, locally sourced fashion, and other technology and services that either cater to residents or help visitors feel more connected to a certain place – they’re all booming. This localism trend, also called “locavores”, has been gaining momentum for several years now, and shows no sign of stopping. But in a world that’s increasingly connected – the “global village” so to speak – how does localism fit in to consumers’ lives?
Think about it this way: we’re all still physical beings (except Watson, but we’ll leave him out of this for now), and the vast majority of our daily lives takes place in the one location (village, city, or country) that we call home. In other words, place matters because so much of our lives happen in that place. Our “local” world is what surrounds us, literally. By being more tangible and accessible, that local world becomes more real to us.
To some degree, our local world also represents our place in the world – and that connection invokes feelings of pride and authenticity that run deep. Not to mention when we apply an economic lens, local products and services are often more convenient and local information can be more relevant – we want to know the goings-on, and what’s up next, right around us. On a more emotional level, locally produced goods can actually serve as antidotes to what can sometimes feel like a sterile, commoditized global marketplace; they represent belonging and a certain investment in one’s community. And we’re seeing the strength of localism beyond people’s lives as consumers; the UK’s majority vote to leave the EU suggests just how deep-seated these drivers can be.
Companies and organizations can have much to gain by embracing place. Check out the examples below to get inspired, and think about how localism lives in the eyes of your customers.
Fog Point: San Francisco’s Vodka, Time
The Hangar One distillery worked with a nonprofit to collect fog water from the city’s plentiful collection over six months. In that time, the partnership harvested enough water to make 2,400 bottles of Fog Point, each of which sell at $125. Here’s to city love, and debauchery.
Barclays: Fostering Local Business by Innovation, Cambridge Network
Barclays, a UK-based bank, opened its third incubator lab after unveiling plans last year proposing transformations for under-utilized spaces in its branches. The labs provide coveted space and tools for entrepreneurs and fast-growing small businesses to prototype and test new ideas.
UberPASSPORT: Connecting Two Cities, Fusion.net
The popular ride-sharing app now allows San Diego residents to make the popular trip to Tijuana via its UberX service. Prior to March 2016, drivers had to drop passengers at the border; now, users can pay an additional $20 to arrange a full trip – plus a reminder to bring all of the required documentation.