This presents somewhat of a conundrum. Do you let locations produce their own marketing material – with the risk of it being of questionable quality or ‘off brand’? Or do you restrict local content creation, frustrating these teams as they miss out on some great local sales and marketing opportunities?

Thankfully new technology has come to the rescue. The rise of powerful Local Area Marketing (LAM) applications allow local teams to create and order their own local marketing themselves with sophisticated templates and workflows – in a totally controlled and brand compliant manner.

The self-serve aspect of this technology saves head office marketing teams hundreds of support and co-ordination hours per month, while the brand team can rest easy it’s all looking good. It’s a great way to get the lawyers off your back too because critical content such as pricing and terms and conditions can be totally locked down if needed. Also, if required, an approval step can be built in so marketing can do a quick check before the high-res artwork is released or passed on to a supplier such a printer or media.

Local company Brand Machine’s technology can create templates for print, press (including a resize function), HTML emails, JPEGs (social tiles) and even animation (MPEG) files for digital screens and social media.

However, this self-serve, or ‘bottom up’ approach to local marketing may not always be the answer. The digital channels present some special challenges that usually require a more scalable, head office driven (‘top down’) strategy. For example, local outlets are unlikely to have the skills to set up a Facebook or Google campaign, even if they have a software solution like Brand Machine to create or source the content. Nor do local budgets usually warrant outsourcing – a $300 local campaign budget doesn’t justify the time required for an agency or head office person to set it up.

The good news is since Facebook added geotargeting to their ads manager a few years ago, a number of exciting technologies have emerged that allow head office to automate the set-up and localisation of paid and organic content across multiple local pages, and the same can be achieved with Google ads too. Aside from the obvious execution efficiencies, the brand management advantages are obvious. Even with multiple local pages set up to maximise local reach – the marketing team can completely control what gets posted and whether local teams have the freedom to post their own content or not.

In New Zealand brands have been slow to pick up on new LAM technology to improve both their local brand management and content creation efficiency. Those that do have the opportunity to gain significant competitive advantage.