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The secret to authentic campaigns in 2021... Go hyper-local

social media
tone of voice

The past year has put demographics we thought we knew in a state of flux. Instead of targeting consumers based on their lifestyle, we are now focusing on their postcodes.

The migration of demographics

There have been many recent reports of people swapping their lives in the city for the countryside’s more relaxed surroundings. Property site Rightmove has just revealed that Cornwall had overtaken London as the number one most searched for location for UK movers.

But, this “great escape” applies to those who have the means - a luxury for those who can easily and efficiently switch to remote working.

Local customer behaviour is changing

However, in many parts of the world, the city is still a magnet for industry. Common sense tells us that remote mass working doesn’t apply to manufacturing or service-based economies where opportunities are clustered around city environments.

Take the data below, for example. Research by the Global Web Index shows that migration from the city is desired in Western countries - but that this isn’t induced by fear of COVID-19, but rather by a shift in consumer priorities. And, crucially for marketers, our changing attitudes to city life during the pandemic can advise the way we speak to communities effectively through social media.

The research shows that where people want to relocate is primarily about a change in lifestyle (31%) and a quest for a quieter location (29%) as opposed to what the city can offer.

The future is hyper-local

So what does that mean for your social media content and ad spend? It means it’s time to prepare for a hyper-local future!

Hyper-localisation is all about creating content based on very specific data, drilling down to your user’s specific region and city level, and looking at exactly where and what they are shopping for. When you target your content to a hyper-local area, you build a personalised connection with that audience and gain a competitive advantage in the process.

A hyper-local approach to your content adds a personal touch for your users that your competitors simply do not offer. We’ve always been familiar with this concept of targeting. Now, it’s more important than ever.

Just like the way we interact with our cities has changed, so too have the businesses in them, taking a local approach to fit in with our new lifestyle choices. Co-op, for example, plans to open 65 new stores to meet new demand as shoppers now choose to shop locally, while the once-bustling shops of Pret-A-Manger, now without commuter footfall, are standing empty and closing down their locations.

As copywriter, the beauty of my job is writing content based on specific data: looking at which ads have performed best and what piece of content has gotten the most engagement. The question I ask now is, ‘How close are your customers?’

The idea of a hyper-local city isn’t new. Even before the pandemic, the idea of a “15-minute city” was touted as the future of dense cities like Paris.

Highly targeted, authentic campaigns

Today, segmenting your target audience by location with regional and spatial granular data has never been more significant. Cities aren’t dead; they’re evolving. And that means it’s time to speak to them on a local level, with campaigns rooted in the surroundings they use and relate to every day.

And that means it’s time to speak to your customers on a local level, with campaigns rooted in our surroundings and services we use day-to-day. Even the biggest brands in the world can benefit from focussing on small, niche audiences.

Local-driven paid ads can boost brands through localised special offers and discounts specific to one region or even one retail outlet. You can also think of promotional events the same way, building local brand awareness in a highly targeted, specific area. 

This hyper-localisation, ultimately, is the secret to building a personal and authentic message. As Budweiser is discovering with its current campaigns, even the biggest brands in the world can benefit from focussing on small, niche audiences. It’s less about top-down but a bottom-up approach. Look closer: your next customer might be around the corner.

So, what do you think? Will 2021 be the year of a change in the physical urban landscape? Or will the shift be in our urban psychology? Comment below and share your thoughts!

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