We’ve all been there. You get an email from a friend who is coming to visit, and they want to know what they should do when they’re in town. I’m willing to bet you suggested the local farmer’s market, the coffee house around the corner where the barista knows your name, the toy store that has that amazing toy you had as a kid — and the list goes on. More often than not, we subconsciously list out all of our local haunts, rather than the world’s largest chain stores like Target or Publix.
It has been touted as a movement in all things purchasing. You are encouraged to “Buy Local” in the window of your grocery store, and the farmer’s market around the corner is the hottest spot to be on Saturday morning. American Express has coined the Saturday after Black Friday as “Small Business Saturday” to encourage the support of local small businesses. The local movement strengthens our economy, creates jobs, and encourages growth. It has a fantastic ripple effect.
As consumers, we are embracing the movement, but what about as marketers and business owners. Shouldn’t we be considering the effect of Going Local in our business lives, too? Supporting your community as a business can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding brand movements out there.
“A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.” (Institute for Local Self-Reliance 2012)
As marketers and business owners, Going Local can seem like a daunting task, but there are several small things we can all do to get started.
Recently, ExactTarget announced its commitment to investing in the Atlanta job market by adding 225 jobs and making Atlanta a regional headquarters for the Indiana-based company. Though this may seem extreme, all business owners have the opportunity to hire within their community. Don’t overlook the immense pool of talent that could be right outside your door, and don’t forget to consider the impact your hiring will ultimately have on the growth of the community surrounding your business.
“Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and provide the most jobs to residents in our communities.” (SustainableConnections.org)
Go Local with Events
We can all get caught up in sponsoring, attending, and supporting the large events during the year, but don’t forget the smaller events that take place every week in your community — for example, the B2BCamps and AiMA events in Atlanta. These are the types of events where you can make connections and create lasting community involvement. Making your business known as a community supporter only serves to build the positive influence of your brand and show your investment in the future of your community.
“Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.” (SustainableConnections.org)
As marketers, we can apply the same idea of supporting our local economy to the way we are running our businesses and connecting with our communities. Showing your support of the other business around you and participating in local events are great ways to build your brand right from your doorstep.
Image source can be found here.