Triumph in the new digital era

Harnessing geolocation to pinpoint preference

5 minute read

In the years ahead, digital maps will offer more than just directions on how to get from A to B. They will become digital – and shoppable – auxiliaries to the world around us.

Google has already made it possible to book hotels and restaurants, hire taxis, and place delivery orders on Maps, while advances in Geographic Information System (GIS) technology mean that brands can create their own mapping systems for consumers. From tailoring hyper-convenient experiences to deepening consumers’ relationships to the world around them, geolocation is ripe ground for brands looking to develop memorable phygital experiences.


“5G has radically improved the resolution of geolocation. Brands have a real opportunity to take this more accurate positioning and turn it into a much better, more memorable experience for their customers”


“5G has radically improved the resolution of geolocation. Brands have a real opportunity to take this more accurate positioning and turn it into a much better, more memorable experience for their customers,” says Hinssen. “For instance, I could be waiting in line at a busy coffee shop and receive a notification that there’s an empty branch a short walk away. I order my latte on the app, pay online, and it’s ready to pick up once I arrive. These sorts of seamless, hyper-convenient experiences are bound to boost brand loyalty.”

However, in location-based brand activations, the careful handling of consumer location data is all-important. Around half of US consumers say they are more likely to trust a company that asks only for information relevant to its products or that limits the amount of personal information requested. “You’ve got to really try to build something for consumers that isn’t just fun or nice-to-have, but that delivers true value by being both highly relevant and helpful to consumers,” says Hinssen


  • By harnessing geolocation technology, brands can create hyper-convenient consumer experiences that help to drive discovery and add value to boost loyalty.

  • As international travel returns, travel brands can use digital maps to orientate visitors to new travel locations and the brands and businesses within them.

  • Geolocation technologies are poised to help brands meet consumer demand for greater transparency within the supply chain, aiding a new era of consumer-brand loyalty.


Beyond convenience, geolocation is an important tool for driving discovery. Consumers are leveraging digital maps to discover nearby places to go, and locate businesses within these areas. For example, amid a surge in searches for Black-owned businesses in 2020, Google Maps introduced a tool to help people locate Black-owned businesses nearby. Brands can similarly use geolocation to guide consumer footfall to physical locations, while location data will help brands tailor marketing messages to individuals based on where they are. For example, alcohol brands can target consumers when they enter or are in close proximity to a retail store, partner bar or restaurant with advertising or special promotions.

Last year, Burger King had great success with it’s ‘Whopper Detour’, offering 1¢ Whoppers to anyone who downloaded the Burger King app while inside (or close to) a McDonald’s. The campaign generated 1.5 million app downloads and 3.5 billion earned media impressions.

Combining geolocation with gamification could also add an exciting new dimension to travel experiences as well as providing ripe ground for engaging brand activations across food and drink. Following in the footsteps of Pokémon Go, apps that rose in popularity during the lockdowns of 2020, such as Randonautica and Flash Invaders, employed geolocation to gamify urban discovery, helping people explore the landscapes around them. What could a similar travel experience that gamifies discovering a new city look like, for instance?

Insights and opportunities


From holidaying domestically to supporting businesses that play a role in the nearby community, a localised mindset has been a near-constant factor of the pandemic, and it looks set to stay. In the UK, 53% of people report spending more locally in the past year, while 57% claim they’re more likely to shop with brands that support their communities. As people come to spend more time and money in their local areas, geolocation-based tools that facilitate exploration – and spending – are likely to chime with sustained appetites for local experiences. Snap Maps, for example, has introduced a feature called Places, which will help users discover local businesses via Place profiles, that exhibit other users’ snaps from the location, its opening hours, and reviews from TripAdvisor and Foursquare.

Beyond marketing activations, geolocation technology could also help to bring greater transparency to supply chains. Unilever, for example, is trialling the use of geolocation technology to monitor its palm oil supply chain more effectively. As the increasingly conscious consumer pays greater attention to the ethics and sustainability of businesses they support, geolocation has promising potential to bring greater clarity to back-end operations.

Download the full report here.