Dec 14, 2012

Think and Gift Local this Season

This is a re-posting of a recent issue of Sustainable Neighborhood News.  To receive these kinds of articles in your inbox every month, subscribe here.

Do you have a favorite community coffee place or a go-to local boutique for jewelry?  If your first thought is a local independent business, you are on track with Seattle Good Business Network.

Since their "Think Local" campaign started in Fall 2010, Seattle Good Business Network has been working to promote a sustainable and self-sufficient local economy through public campaigns showcasing why local matters.  Locally businesses also often promote local values, show respect for the environment, and promote a sense of equity.

This year, they are taking the next step and asking us to take direct action to support local businesses.   The Gift Local campaign, which runs from November 19 through December 24, asks people to take an online pledge to shop at 3 local businesses in this holiday season. 
So far, 1500 people have taken the pledge - help them double that and Take the Pledge at now!

It only takes about a minute and you will receive a packet of offers in the mail to local businesses - including a free scoop of ice cream or cupcake at Cupcake Royale!  You will also be entered to win gift certificates and other prizes from local businesses.

S2 Staff Member Michelle just got
her packet in the mail!
400 businesses are involved in spreading the word about the campaign.  They show their support through sponsoring the campaign like BECU, providing an offer to send with the packet and raffle prizes as well as gift certificates for Seattle Good Business Network's street team, who is helping spread the word about the campaign.

From the start, Seattle Good Business Network, a localist champion of Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, worked closely with local business owners to determine their specific needs. When they first started, they developed a steering committee with representative from about 20 local businesses that ranged from BECU down to three-people shops.

From there, they saw an opportunity with the "Think Local" campaign.  This public campaign focuses on telling the story of why local matters, using local independent business owners as the spokespeople. 
For Christine Hanna, the co-director, it is important to use these owners as spokespeople because they are the endpoint for the work as well as financially support the campaign.

In addition to the Think Local signs that Seattleites may have seen around town in the windows of businesses, Seattle Good Business Network is also able to provide media connections to the Stranger, Seattle Weekly, Chinook Book and others.  For print publications, Seattle Good Business Network provides photos of local business owners at their place of business holding up a hand-written sign, with the contact information below. 

These media outlets are an important way to spread the word about all the campaigns, including Gift Local.  In addition, the stories the campaign tells can be told by the businesses themselves as well as consumer-to-consumer, spreading the message around the city.

Seattle Good Business Network is always looking for a new way to spread the word about the importance of the local economy.  According to Hanna, the organization's business plan is three-pronged: 1) Shifting demand to encourage buying locally, 2) Encouraging production to be local, and 3) Catalyzing local capital investment.

As seen in the Gift Local campaign, the next logical step for Seattle Good Business Network is to build an incentive for actually buying local, moving the consumer towards action.

Whatever happens next - whether it be Localista, a concept that won Seattle's Social Innovation Fast Pitch - or something else, Seattle Good Business Network will continue to work closely with businesses to determine what is needed next.  In addition to representatives from businesses, their advisory committees have included representatives from the Office of Economic Development and neighborhood business chambers.

Be involved in spreading the word about local businesses, learn more here.  And don't forget to Think Local!

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