An easy way to kick start this process is through promotions or contests. At Cherish Local we love implementing these because it allows us to connect our clients to the communities they reside in on a deeper level than they could with advertising alone. One of the clients we work with is a grocery store, called Hy-Vee, in a small town in Minnesota. In order to better connect that Hy-Vee to its community we started up a local hero contest where residents would nominate heroes within their community and then vote on who they believed to be the overall Hero of 2016. The results have been outstanding, not only did the residents in that small Minnesota town step up to nominate their own local heroes, but they took notice of how Hy-Vee was making that recognition possible and appreciated it. That appreciation and recognition results new customers coming to the store.
Even in Grand Blanc we have seen similar results. From our time working with our local Cottage Inn Pizza we have set them up in doing a handful of promotions and giveaways, but they’ve also made steps to get involved with the community on their own. One example of that is their support for the Grand Blanc High School hockey team; whenever the team shuts out an opponent or scores a hat trick Cottage Inn supplies free large pizza for the entire team. Our job is showing the rest of the community, that may not have a direct link to GBHS or their hockey team, how Cottage Inn is supporting its community’s students. Below are comments made after Cam Smith of the Grand Blanc Varsity Hockey Team scored his third hat-trick in last night's game. Comments such as the ones from Paul Hayes show why businesses supporting their local community is so important; he said "That's awesome that your business does this ... my next pizza will be from Cottage Inn Pizza".
Connecting and engaging with customers is only the first step in establishing a fan base for your business and brand. Customers will demand consistency, for example if the Hy-Vee in Marshall, MN or the Cottage Inn Pizza in Grand Blanc, MI were to stop supporting their local community so openly people would notice and lose interest in them. Supporting the community will also only get a business so far, they also need to be able to provide the goods or services that they claim to do. Gaining the attention of new customers is only the beginning, maintaining their trust and loyalty takes a lot of work. This is why anything less than genuine interest in ones market and consumers will not be enough to generate and maintain loyal customers and raving fans.
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Author - Megan Carry
Marketing & Creative Manager at Cherish Local