Having a strong sense of community spirit and a genuine interest in the success of those around you, is strongly correlated to the willingness to shop locally. Communities who have suggested that they have a loyal group of local shoppers, also seem to have other aspects of local pride attached to them.
But how do you create community pride? Can it be manufactured? In short, I think yes, you can….however, it needs to be genuine. i.e. you can’t fake it!
To start with you need to look at your community’s identity. How is it currently branded? Most communities will have something that they are known for, but of course, you want to focus on the positive things that can help bring people together. If the current branding is weak or undesirable, you might need to look at re-branding, but to something that is not too much of a stretch from the current positioning.
Once you have this nailed down, you need to look at how you can use this to build a level of community pride that can be transferred to people thinking about shopping locally. This is where you need to start to be a bit creative, as there is no blueprint for this, given that each community will focus on different things.
As an example, I will look at my own home town of Narrabri. Narrabri has a proud sporting background, and also was awarded ‘Australia’s Sportiest Town’ by a morning breakfast show many years ago. Although many could argue if Narrabri is in fact ‘Australia’s Sportiest Town’, locals do know that sport plays a big part of the town, and so this is as good as anything to base a local brand around.
So here are just a few ways in how this branding could be used to create community pride that converts to local shopping:
Businesses actively promote the fact that they sponsor local sporting clubs, and that it is this sponsorship that helps Narrabri continue to have sporting success. This message can be taken further to show that the more that local shoppers can support local businesses, the more money that can be given in sponsorship.
Businesses offering discounts to people that are involved with particular local sporting clubs.
Window dressing in local businesses linked to local sporting teams.
Promotions linked to local sporting success. E.g. each time the local sporting team wins on the weekend, there is 20% off store-wide on the following Monday. This could be even more effective if done across many stores.
Using local sporting participants in advertising for local businesses. i.e. using local sporting identities, or even using kids that are involved at the grassroots of local sport. Both of these could be used in different ways, but would still create the desired attachment.
These are just a few simple examples which link up to using local sport as a way to create community pride (which is likely to resonate with a lot of communities). However, the main thing you want to look for is ways to stir up emotion in local shoppers that will transfer to attachment to local businesses.