Big brands put localising on fast track amid social media backlash

Big brands put localising on fast track amid social media backlash

Large brands are quickly integrating local and regional nuances in their branding, apps, campaigns and marketing, as they have been facing increased flak from social media users of late over some allegedly controversial consumer interactions as well as advertisements.

For instance, last week, in a video that went viral on social media, a customer at a KFC store in Bengaluru was seen asking an employee to play Kannada songs instead of English ones at the outlet. “Karnataka is in India and no need of visa to be here, right? Hindi is the national language,” the KFC executive is heard as saying in the video. This led to the #RejectKFC hashtag trending on microblogging platform Twitter and a demonstration outside the store.

Following the social media brouhaha, the quick service restaurant chain said it would integrate regional sensibilities into the brand. “We are integrating regional nuances across all aspects of the brand – from the menu, food to in-restaurant elements, customer communication, local celebrities and more,” a KFC spokesperson said in response to ET’s query.


The brand “holds the highest regard for all cultures and languages,” the spokesperson added.

Separately, food delivery platform

said recently that it was building a Tamil version of its app and that it had already localised its marketing communication in the state. The restaurant aggregator also said it was in the process of building a Tamil support centre in Coimbatore. This came following a massive backlash on social media over an agent asking a user from the state to learn Hindi – the national language – when the customer called to complain about a missing item in the food order. Soon, the #RejectZomato started trending on social media. “We’ve actively been deploying regional communication, marketing and advertising through the last few years,” a spokesperson for Zomato said.

Other brands, too, are playing safe. Burger and fries chain McDonald’s India has “always remained a global brand with local relevance,” said chief operating officer – north and east, Rajeev Ranjan.

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