I’m thrilled to see that the Be Local … Buy Local (BLBL) campaign initiated by the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Northfield Downtown Development Corporation is not only web-savvy but recognizes the role that the local blogosphere plays in both the local economy and the information ecosystem. The HTML code they provide for BLBL images includes these explanations:
Small web graphic; for home pages and blog sidebar placement. (150 x 44)
Medium web graphic; for blog post titles and online magazine columns (200 x 30)
Towards the bottom of the page, there’s a Local Media Coverage section in which they also link to BLBL-related posts on the NDDC and Northfield.org blogs. And they even list LoGroNo as a local resource.
I don’t know Amy Acheson at Acheson Creative who, according this blog post by Ross, was hired for this campaign. But kudos to her, the Chamber and the NDDC.
Hey Griff –
Kathy and I included a number of key players from our network on this project, including NDDC Board Members Jessica Paxton, Julie Bixby, and Rob Schanilec. The inclusion of so many creative minds might explain how we miraculously managed to gain your kudos.
Ruth, I can’t speak for the BLBL organizers but the 3/50 project’s definition of an independent business seems to be against local franchises. So to support 3/50, one would be saying, in effect, to:
* buy a membership at at the Northfield Athletic Club but not at Tristan Cox’s Snap Fitness
* stay at the Archer House but not at Jeff Haase’s AmericInn
* eat at the Tavern but not at Tom Zenk’s Culver’s
I think local franchise owners contribute much to the local economy. So a ‘buy local’ campaign that effectively means “don’t drive to the Cities to shop and don’t buy online” is a better bet, isn’t it?
Why did Northfield entities feel it necessary to create (and pay for) a purely local effort when there is a *national* campaign – the 3/50 Project – available for any local community and business to join?
The 3/50 project, founded in Minneapolis (of all places!), began in March 2009. The project’s web site provides some great *free* resources for businesses and communities that want to sign up (at no charge). Downloadable items include printable flyers, web-ready logos, ads/PSAs for local media.
The 3/50 project has been featured in/on Oprah, CNN, WSJ, Fox, Consumer Reports and other major media outlets.
I emailed some Northfield leaders about the 3/50 project as far back as last July. We in Northfield could have piggybacked on this effort and saved time and money and been part of a national effort to encourage local businesses. http://www.the350project.net/home.html
Ross: Have you told the City of this concept?
Ruth, I agree with your recommendation of a sensible approach for supporting local businesses but your comment above was critical of the NDDC and the Chamber for not joining forces with the 3/50 Project. Criteria like these are probably why they didn’t, as it would rule out a lot of local franchises:
* The business relies solely on its unique name and reputation (ie, does not “wear” a nationally recognized brand name)
* The business is registered only in its home state, and has no affiliation with an out of state headquarters or corporate office
* Full decision making function for the business is held by the local owner(s), including the name, signage, brand, appearance, purchasing, etc.
I think Northfielders are intelligent enough to know that franchises owned by locals are an important component of our local business community. So my interpretation of 3/50 is to support businesses owned/franchised by *local* owners.
The idea is to support at least 3 (three) local businesses. It doesn’t mean that you will completely give up buying online or shopping in the Cities. (Be realistic!) It *does* mean that you will try to pay special attention to businesses that directly support the local economy.
Personally, I think that there were both tangible and conceptual benefits from bringing a bunch of local folks together to meet with a local designer for the BLBL campaign.
One of the points brought up by everyone was that we should work to have local images and local stories to illustrate our local campaign.
Be Local…Be Northfield.
Thanks for your post, Ross.
I would like to reiterate that as one of the “worker bees” behind this new initiative, we’ve paid close attention to the examples of other similar “campaigns” in existence around the country, such as the 3/50 program. These examples serve as important models for what we can (and should) do right here in Northfield. But as Ross mentioned, we also felt that it was important to have something unique to our own very unique community.
One of the wonderful things about the BLBL campaign is that it’s a collaborative effort between the Chamber and the NDDC. And this collaboration extends to the entire community — the BLBL logos, tool kit, resources, etc., are being provided FREE OF CHARGE to any business/organization in the area that wants to use them in conjunction with their own individual marketing/advertising efforts.
I can assure you that the money spent on this joint effort was nominal (although the dedicated persons involved with the creation of the campaign gave generously of their time & talent). The result is a fresh approach to a long-running important message (to shop local and support one’s local business community), made available to anyone and everyone in the community (whether they are a Chamber member or not).
My sincere thanks to everyone involved. Now we just need to spread the word about this important initiative.
I buy local as much as I can. And I do it because I like to see people around me do well, and as such, so will I, and I like to see no blight or crime. I do wonder however how much money of what I give to one store goes right out to xcel energy or charter cable, phone companies, that is, the utilities in general. How much goes to the credit card companies, oh, so far away and how much actually stays in the community.
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