MIAMI — Empowering local stores to tell stories is crucial as global retailers look to spur meaningful interaction with various communities.

The “Content That Connects” session at the Global PR Summit 2013 was led by Mitchell Communications president Sarah Clarke.

David Tovar, who was recently promoted to VP of corporate communications at Wal-Mart, said despite the company’s $460bn in global sales, customer perception is shaped by “their local store experience.”

In the US, Wal-Mart manages 4,1000 local Facebook pages -- one for each of its regional stores to make it easier for store managers to connect directly with their localities.

“We can push certain content down for from corporate headquarters like price changes,” Tovar said. “But the rest of it has to be empowered with store managers.”

Naoko Katayama, executive planning director for the Japan-based marketing behemoth, Dentsu addressed how its worldwide network tackles the issue.

Brad Wahl, VP of marketing at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, pointed two examples that focused on the company’s overall brand experience. One was an ad campaign focused on the “home is where the heart is” sentiment, while a news story featured the person who collects the Americana memorabilia that decorates stores.

“We work with our field operations to gather stories and we also engage with them at our annual meetings,” Wahl said. “We’ve talked about having a more formal process, but right now, we like letting stories emerge organically right now.”