Aside from the number of awards its advertising has won, it's been a fairly sorry tale for Yellow in the past few years. But, last year, in the face of some horrific finances, Yellow stumped up with a $40 million investment in the business, more sales people and a strategy that focused more heavily on digital offerings. Well, it's just launched a new digital directory called YellowLocal.co.nz. And it's heading down a similar hyperlocal path to that of its soon-to-launch NZ Post-run competitor Localist.
There's already been plenty of argy bargy between the pair recently, with Yellow engaging in some fairly juvenile tactics and buying up a host of domain names that were very similar to Localist. That argument was eventually sorted out in court when Yellow handed the addresses over, but it wasn't a good look. So, in juvenile terms, NZ Post 1. Yellow 0. But although Localist had its launch party on Thursday last week to announce the Top 100, a group of 'super users' who will start the content ball rolling on the site and add to the content provided by contributing editors, it is yet to launch. So, Yellow 1. NZ Post 0.
Basically, the proposition is this: there are 205 local sites for various Auckland suburbs, where the wisdom of the (registered) crowd will be used to deduce the good options and spread the word (understandably, as it's still in beta phase, there aren't many reviews yet). Each site features nine categories covering information on community; events; shopping; real estate; restaurants and bars; health; schools; sport; and things to do. Listings are free, as are classifieds, so it differs from Localist in that regard.
One of the major issues with Yellow has been that, in comparison to Google, the user interface was particularly average and the search results were often inaccurate. After playing around on the new Local site for a bit, that has been greatly improved. Added to that, the decision to buy group buying site Groupy early this year seems to make more sense now this YellowLocals site has gone live. As yet, however, there are no hyperlocal deals to be found, but that will presumably change as more businesses sign up.
“YellowLocal.co.nz is where locals can talk to locals”, says Yellow digital director, Peter Crowe. “Users can visit the site to find and share community information, notices, events and reviews, as well as search for local businesses. They can also like and share content via Facebook from their Yellow local site with friends and other locals.”
Marketing gurus have been banging on about the trend towards hyperlocal for years. But, whether in the form of news, daily deals, location-based marketing or, in Yellow's case and the case of Localist, online directories, technology is making it real. And, despite the ubiquity—and popularity—of malls filled with chain stores, research by TNS Conversa found that 60 percent of Kiwis prefer to shop locally and 83 percent want to support their local community.
Aucklanders use an average of four different search products in any one week to source information and YellowLocal allows users the opportunity to find whatever they are looking for in their local suburb on one site.
The launch was announced with a wraparound in the Herald on Sunday and is being backed up with two solid TVCs out of Colenso and the Down Low Concept. There's also press, billboards, radio and online activity.
“Locals approached us with stories and events going on in their neighbourhood and some of these people ended up being profiled in the campaign”, says marketing director, Kellie Nathan. “People wanted to be able to communicate with others in their local suburb and share information in a timely way, from everything to recommending a local restaurant, to trying to find a lost pet."
- A local Primary School competition is being run as part of the YellowLocal.co.nz launch. Schools in the region will have the opportunity to win as many as five of the 50 iPads being given away. The public will be able to nominate a school online when they register on YellowLocal.co.nz and points will be awarded. The schools who earn the most points will win iPads. For more information go to YellowLocal.co.nz/Schools