How to craft connections between brands and cities in content

Feb 1 2020, 9:21 pm

No matter what you’re selling, hyperlocal content can help you better connect your brand to a specific city. But creating it means understanding the locals themselves. This includes how they feel about their city, the events that intrigue them, and the offbeat cafés and lesser-known restaurants they visit.

Hive Labs works with local, national, and international brands to create content for audiences in seven major cities across Canada and the US. A high percentage of the campaigns we execute are customized to suit each city, giving brands the opportunity to form a trust-based relationship with readers. We even hire experts based in each city to help us create content that’s not only relevant and backed by data, but also piques our readers’ interests.

That being said, there are key elements to consider when launching a hyperlocal campaign. Let’s start with the most important aspect.

Connecting through common themes

Starbucks/Hive Labs

Initially, you might find it tough to draw a connection between the product you’re marketing and the city you’re speaking to — and that’s totally normal. Taking a hyperlocal approach may be the solution. In 2018, Starbucks ran a campaign with Hive Labs following the launch of its bottled cold brew coffee. Our team linked the brand’s energizing, refreshing products to content that was all about tackling your city through active adventures.

We focused on topics that Starbucks’ target audience was interested in, such as day trips to take from Vancouver and ranked lists of the city’s best beaches and hiking trails. These pieces performed exceptionally well by placing the brand in front of a dedicated, relevant audience, with each article ranging from 2,000 to almost 9,000 page views.

Offering relevant, actionable advice

Tourism Richmond/Hive Labs

The ways in which people are influenced by brands are constantly changing, but one thing is certain: consumers want advice.

We took this to heart in a recent campaign for Tourism Richmond, in which they wanted to promote visits to the Illumination Summer Night Market. The writer visited the market, tasked to find the most interesting and useful products we believed our readers would care about.

The result? Relatable articles (check the “see also” section at the end of the article for two additional sponsored pieces from this campaign) that showed readers exactly what they could see, taste, and experience at the market, with a strong CTA to plan a visit themselves.

Highlighting cities and neighbourhoods

Samsung/Hive Labs

When you drive home a hyperlocal focus, it allows the audience to feel more connected to their neighbourhood, the publisher, and the brand. It also helps a piece stand out from the crowd of broad, generic content being produced these days.

Working with Samsung, we designed an adorable article inspired by photos of dogs in a Vancouver neighbourhood known for its love of dogs. The response was clear: the content amassed over 6,000 views and earned lots of praise on social media.

In 2017, we created a customized playlist for Vancouver for a Spotify campaign. This unique piece of content referenced major events of the year, achieving the client’s goals of establishing a connection with the audience in a specific city and boosting listenership.

Not a local yourself? Looking at the geographic location of a city can assist you in understanding what appeals to people in a specific city, whether it’s inland and within driving distance of ski resorts, or situated along the coast with options for water sports. Searching event guides and city-specific hashtags on social media can also give you a sense of the culture.

Ensuring the content feels organic

Crazy Rich Asians/Hive Labs

Whether you’re creating marketing content for a publication or the blog section of a client’s website, it’s crucial to maintain the same tone as preexisting content. Hive Labs creates sponsored content that matches the tone of Daily Hive’s editorial content, further creating an organic reading experience.

This presents the opportunity to craft content that will last as a valuable reference after the time of publishing, too. For instance, an article we wrote to advertise Warner Brothers’ Crazy Rich Asians highlighted how an outfit we sourced from the movie cost more than the average rent in Vancouver. This sparked reader interest by addressing a city-specific issue that was linked to the extravagance of an upcoming film release, in Daily Hive’s own unique tone.

Hyperlocal content allows brands to reach their target audience and develop new connections in any city they desire. It takes some local charm and a bucket full of creativity, but the results are well worth your time and energy.

To see the work Hive Labs has created with brands and agencies and to learn more about working with us, visit

Catriona HughesCatriona Hughes

+ Hive Labs