November 2020 in Germany: If sales in the Christmas business by low customer frequency or a shift to online trading by the local retail trade, many companies are facing the end. The trade association currently speaks of around 60 percent (HDE, 01/2021). As a result, there will be dramatic vacancies in the shopping streets in numerous municipalities. It was already becoming apparent what the lockdown has exacerbated to this day.
What can we do to protect inner cities from the looming loss of diversity, attractiveness and economic power? What can we do to avoid imminent business closures and counter vacancies in city centers? The IHK Nordwestfalen asked itself these questions in mid-November 2020.
An alliance, led by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry North Westphalia and the agency husare, was in agreement: Good words alone are not enough, deeds have to follow. To be more precise: a communication campaign for the IHK region that “shakes people up” without causing fear. That encourages shopping in the city centers – without handing out against online retail or questioning measures to protect against infection.
An initiative was jointly conceived and implemented to strengthen the inner cities and the retail outlets there. Ready to go from the first weekend in Advent. The particular challenge: there were 5 (!) Working days between the briefing and the concept presentation. From concept presentation to implementation: another 5 days (!).
The aim was to sensitize the majority of the 2.6 million inhabitants within the IHK district, consisting of the independent cities of Münster, Gelsenkirchen and Bottrop as well as the districts of Borken, Coesfeld, Recklinghausen, Steinfurt and Warendorf, with a campaign that retail benefits from every single customer. That it depends on each individual visitor to keep the city centers as colorful and diverse as they were before the pandemic.
In terms of content, the aim was to strengthen the local dealers, to give them a voice and a face and to emphasize the specific advantages: a relationship to the business, to the salespeople and to a lively town center.
The campaign is aimed at three target groups:
- All retailers in the IHK district of North Westphalia to support the visibility of the campaign
- All consumers in the IHK district of North Westphalia in order to maintain the diversity and attractiveness of the local retail trade by making a purchase.
- All mayors of the 78 municipalities of the IHK district of North Westphalia, in order to increase the awareness and relevance of the campaign.
DAS GUTE FINDET INNENSTADT (The Good takes place downtown) emphasizes the special relationship between consumers and retailers. We remind you of rummaging in atmospheric shops, of competent advice, of inspiration – of special moments that only local retailers can offer. WITH distance, hygiene and everyday mask. WITH support for a lively inner city.
For Explanation: INNENSTADT in German is the translation for “inner city”, in the pronunciation it also stands for “it takes place inside”.
To underline the importance of this campaign, we find other initiators who are committed to the retail sector. Because even as an employer, retail is an important pillar of the economy. In addition, we find sponsors to give the campaign the necessary media pressure.
Holistic communication – from the breadth of the content to the depth. We address the target groups emotionally using various incentives and clear storytelling. We use social media ads to generate attention for the campaign message. This is followed by blog and social media content that appeals to the target group. Strong and activating call-to-actions turn users into local multipliers. Entertaining stories on the social media profiles ensure dialogue and interaction with retailers. We rely on high user involvement on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn & Co. as a success factor for this regional campaign. At the same time, municipalities and dealers receive packages to bring the campaign into the city center.
The logo shows the heartbeat of the city centers. The star and the gold stand for the start of the campaign at Christmas time. The campaign relies on a strong online presence and storytelling via social media (Facebook, Instagram) with the involvement of local dealers. But classic media such as radio and daily newspapers (PR & advertising) were also used to address people with a wide reach. The PR work with the involvement of the mayors and local multipliers ensured a boost in reach. The right initiators have been found in the Münster Chamber of Crafts, Münsterland e.V., WIN Emscher-Lippe and the North Rhine-Westphalia Trade Association. The savings banks, Volks- and VR-Banken were won as sponsors. The joint open letter was the official starting shot. Eight dealer portraits were produced (film, text, photos). All municipalities were provided with information with the call to support the campaign as part of their press work or via the municipality’s social media channels. The municipalities acted as distributors for the dealer packages, consisting of campaign information and stickers for the shop windows. In addition, we have placed the campaign in various LinkedIn groups such as “Corona crisis: Dealers help dealers” with over 3,700 members. Consistent community management ensured a constant background noise on the social media channels.
Period from the request to the start on November 27th, 2020: 10 days
Campaign period: 11/27/2020 – 12/14/2020 (second lockdown)
Total campaign reach: >20,000,000
PR Reach: 7.95 million
In addition to its own content, there were numerous interviews with city leaders and dealers. And clear messages of how dramatic the situation is.
Media equivalent value: EUR 271,233.76
Social media Ads reach: 4,697,426
Reach Facebook, Instagram organic: 500,000
User post interactions: 223,508
Media budget for social media: EUR 5,757.97
Range: 1.3 million
Media budget: approx. 60,000 EUR
Range of radio spots: 4.8 million
Media budget: approx. 10,000 EUR
Range city center:
Over 500 dealer packages were distributed to merchants in the district. A specific range can therefore not be measured.
DAS GUTE FINDET INNENSTADT (The Good takes place downtown) – the campaign by the IHK North Westphalia to strengthen retail trade in cities and municipalities has reached a reach of over 20 million within 3 weeks. The target groups were actively involved through the skilful cross-media linking of PR, emotional storytelling via social media, visibility at the point of sale, in print advertisements and radio spots. Mayors joined in, retailers were portrayed, and consumers underlined the need for the campaign. The message arrives! Over 200,000 post interactions are encouraging and speak in favor of a continuation after the lockdown.
The People in charge:
Christoph Sauerland – Etat Director
Thekla Jakobi – Creative Director
Mark Bourichter – PR
Martin Kleinberns – Concept