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England’s green and pleasant land?

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On a train from London to Manchester recently, I became aware of the view outside my window as the varying landscapes of England flashed past.

The graffiti bridges and long traffic queues of London gave way to fields boxed by hedgerows with cows, sheep and horses standing quietly, calmly feeding. Tightly packed houses and flats turned into a proliferation of flowering weeds tumbling over trackside fences and running into meadows.

These dramatic changes in landscape took place even before the train ran passed the sign on the M1 for the Watford Gap services.

As we raced from the South East to the North West, galloping across the rolling English midlands, a wide variety of different geographies unravelled before us. School playing fields sat cheek by jowl with new build housing estates. Old white farmhouses with dark slate roofs brooded on distant hilltops. Power station chimneys competed with church steeples, punctuating the landscape like exclamation marks pointing skyward.

The predominantly pale grey and cream houses of the South East contrasted with the darker red and brown bricks of the Midlands and the North West. Even the different trees displayed their unique personalities; cedars and poplars standing proudly alone while oaks, ash and beech gathered in convivial clusters.

Tailoring advertising to specific local audiences is a great way of demonstrating how adaptable a business can be in fitting their offering to the needs and requirements of their customers.

This varying topography across the UK really brings to mind the many different audiences we reach through our media campaigns. Each person we speak with has their own unique and highly subjective way of receiving our message depending on the specific circumstances of their lives including where and how they live.

A recent survey by rural insurer NFU Mutual showed that nearly seven in ten of today’s rural residents moved to the countryside from more urban areas, the key reasons for moving included:

  • Friendlier people and a stronger sense of community
  • A quieter, calmer pace of life
  • A good place to bring up children

The survey shows that the same people felt that they, themselves, had changed once they left their busy urban life behind and embraced a happier rural existence. They had become warmer, more open and more engaged with what was happening in their local community.

It’s worth thinking about this when launching a national campaign with the same message delivered to everyone. How will the same demographic audience living in different areas of the UK receive that message? Where they live could give them a different mindset and change their perceptions.

Locally targeted media gives advertisers the opportunity to focus their message and make it highly relevant to a specific geographic audience. Modifying the tone and content of the creative to suit the area will help customers feel closer to a brand. Tailoring advertising to specific local audiences is a great way of demonstrating how adaptable a business can be in fitting their offering to the needs and requirements of their customers.

As my journey ended with a walk through Manchester’s city centre, I noticed, as I had often done before, that the temperature was a few degrees cooler than it had been in London. However, the Mancunian streets were just as ruggedly vibrant and crowded as ever and the walk warmed me. They may both be busy cities with their roads hosting many of the same high street retail brands but there’s a quirky individuality that gives each one a distinctly different personality and sets it apart from any other.

Vanessa Lenton, Head of Regional Media

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