A Shop Local campaign has been helping Dunbartonshire businesses by encouraging local people to shop local, think local and support local enterprises.
Launched in October of 2020 in response the coronavirus pandemic, the “Loves Local” Campaign has been rolled out in 5 towns across Dunbartonshire including Bearsden, Bishopbriggs, Alexandria, Dumbarton and Clydebank.
Funded by Scottish Government via Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the aim of the campaign is to make a positive impact on businesses in and around the towns by encouraging local people to shop and use their local businesses.
Around 175 businesses are now being promoted across 5 new town websites and a social media and advertising campaign has helped to share information about local businesses and encourage local communities to “#ThinkLocalFirst”.
With the latest guidance from the Scottish Government to stay home and to stay local, the Loves Local campaign is now more important than ever with particular emphasis on the many online businesses and takeaways, as well as the essential businesses that can stay open.
Peter O’Neil from Bishopbriggs School of Music said: “In these very difficult times the Loves Local team have been a godsend to us. They worked very hard at getting everyone’s message out and I would say they have provided us with 10 new students who saw their post about our Music School.”
Following a big push towards the key Christmas trading period, the campaign will continue to focus on opportunities to align with key themes and dates in the retail calendar including Valentine’s and Mothers Days.
Businesses have been responding very positively to the campaign which has helped bring much-needed promotional support to boost awareness and sales. Sian Wilkie from Wilkie and Rider opticians and jewellers in Dumbarton and Alexandria said: “The Loves Local campaigns in both Dumbarton & the Vale have been great for raising the profile of our business among members of the community, and have encouraged people to think – and shop – more locally. In these uncertain times it is great to have these projects to raise awareness of our brand – both the specialist eye care as well as the jewellery and gifts side – especially in the run up to the festive period.”
Damon Scott, Project Co-ordinator and Chief Executive, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “As we all stay home in an effort to stem the spread of the virus, local communities are now, more than ever, at the heart of where we shop, what we can do and where we eat. The essential shops that remain open in Dunbartonshire are working hard to offer, as much as possible, what’s needed for day to day living. More than ever, it is critical that we support all the fantastic local businesses offering online goods and services. By making a proactive effort to use the businesses in our area we will ensure that they survive and thrive.
“Choosing to shop, eat and think locally makes more than just economic sense – it is more sustainable and better for the environment, reduces our carbon footprint and helps to build a fairer, greener society.”
Loves Local is a national campaign, funded by the Scottish Government through Scotland’s Town Partnership and has been delivered locally by the Chamber of Commerce working in partnership with both East and West Dunbartonshire Councils and Business Gateway. Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership said: “A resolution to back local businesses need not just be a New Year fad, but one that we can stick to – one that makes a real difference to our town centres and high streets, protecting jobs and businesses.”
The Loves Local campaigns have brought together a range of local stakeholders and businesses to create a strong team with the expertise and understanding to deliver practical support and impacts for businesses in each of the areas. The team worked with Placeity to create digital high streets for each town by developing new websites that allow local businesses to list and present their up-to-date information and messages in one place.
The Dunbartonshire Loves Local campaign has engaged with many local businesses, both physical shops, cafes and restaurants as well as online businesses and services across the area. They have been given marketing support, shop stickers, logos and a campaign toolkit, as well as being asked for feedback in surveys and participating in stakeholder meetings.
With the anticipated relaxing of restrictions for Easter and Spring the #LovesLocal campaign will help continue to build momentum to ensure that the shop local and stay safe message remains more important than ever for the re-emerging economy.
The Dunbartonshire Loves Local Campaign was one of the first to adapt the Scotland Loves Local brand and materials to create a brand that local communities could relate to. Each of the 5 towns now has a logo and branded kit of parts featuring the town name. This also meant that locally-branded materials such as distance markers, posters and window stickers could be created and social media templates and hashtags utilised.
Damon Scott, explains further: “None of the towns had an existing brand that was suitable for the shop local campaign. Being able to adapt and align with an “oven-ready” national brand and campaign allowed us to mobilise very quickly and helped create some immediate momentum. Our local businesses and communities were able to identify with the Loves Local message straight away and relate it to their own area through the sub-brands we created. Businesses and communities alike were able to post, like and share local stories via social media channels using the hashtags and templates we provided.”
Image credit: Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce / Blue Giraffe Imaging