What Totally Locally Is – And What It Isn’t!
It’s a Toolkit not a magic wand
It’s not a magic wand where you just fill in & print out some flyers and banners, and your town will get busy.
It’s a tool kit. And like any tool kit, it’s only as good as the people using the tools.
You could give me the best tool kit in the world, but my car would be a lot more worse for wear if I tried to change the cam belt!
It’s a Framework not the finished thing
This kit underpins what you do. It isn’t the finished article.
Look at it as a framework to hang things on. It is a kickstart for getting things going in your town.
Totally Locally Towns have found out that they can do amazing things when they start working the Totally Locally Way.
It’s for Independents not chains or franchises
Totally Locally is made specifically for INDEPENDENT shops. It is a branding project with a marketing strategy.
It isn’t for use with national chain stores and even franchises.
Why not? Because Specsavers and McDonalds, although usually owned by and employing local people, have their own marketing budgets, campaigns and advertising. They are linked to a big machine. Everyone knows about Specsavers (not singling this company out) and what they stand for, but probably don’t know about that 3rd generation family run optician at the bottom of the street.
If you add well known high street giants to the campaign, it de-values what people think about Totally Locally.
A good definition of brand is the “The gut feeling that someone gets when they think about you, your organisation or what you do”. If that gut feeling is confusion (Why is Thorntons in the Totally Locally campaign, but not that little sweet shop) you fall at the first hurdle.
BUT, if someone running a franchise understands this, they can still get involved by helping. In Retford this happened. The wonderful lady running Specsavers helped tremendously by working with businesses, helping with the launch day etc. But she can’t be on the publicity. Sorry, it will lose credibility in people’s eyes, and you WILL cause the campaign to stumble.
The only exception of a franchise working is if they sell local produce or goods. They are then underpinning the local economy (much more than just creating jobs). Then there is space. But still, it will look wrong if a Nisa shop is on the poster. As always, use your head, and your heart as well. You’ll work it out!
It’s about everyone – not about you!
Totally Locally isn’t about you!
It is about your town.
Don’t ask to be on posters, don’t push your business, don’t go to meetings with the express purpose of giving out your flyers to get business from others. (This happened, on one town meeting, and the guy was met with so much hostility, and people were openly saying “Well I won’t be using him!”).
It isn’t about “how do I promote my business?”
It is about “How do we work together to get people to understand what our town has to offer”.
Will people drive into your town, pay parking, risk the rain, risk you not being open, just to see your shop? Not really, unless you are REALLY good (anyway you can run an advert in your local mags for this).
BUT if people think “I’ve heard there’s loads of great independent shops in X town, I’m not sure what they all are, but let’s go and find out’, – now that’s more likely. People are now wanting to discover new things. Independent shops and businesses are in a great position for this.
Open to everyone, Not an exclusive club
Some people won’t join in at the beginning (or maybe never will). But if their business is good and adds to the town, you need to promote them. They add to the experience of someone coming into your town. If you miss them off you risk causing rifts, and an ‘us & them’ culture. The last thing Totally Locally is about. Stick them on the map, the brochure, the website…. whatever. It adds to the whole offer of your town, it makes it more likely that people will want to come. They will possibly even thank you later.
It’s about doing, not talking
Make a plan – then do it. It may fail – so what?! Give it another go. Loads of people talk a good talk. Not many actually get off their backsides and do it.
Don’t wait for people to get behind you. Be a doer.
The best things in Totally Locally Towns have been started by one or two-person. It’s only later that others get involved. Don’t wait for them to get excited about your idea. Tell your town team what you’re going to do, if they say “good idea” go for it.
(By the way this isn’t an excuse to ride rough-shod over people, be sensitive to what is going on already, offer up your idea and see if it fits. People may say “Not sure if it will work” but as long as it doesn’t clash with other things, go for it”).
Great example – Brighouse Totally Locally Market. Started by one person. People said “No one will want to come to a market in Brighouse”.
One year later it won Britain’s Best Small Specialist Market award. Thousands of people now come to the quarterly market and it has expanded to 60 stalls throughout the town. It was the catalyst for change in the town, and now all sorts of things go on from community newspapers to street parties. Now Brighouse is recognised as one of the top 5 changed towns in the UK. One person, just doing.
Brighouse doesn’t really ‘do’ Totally Locally any more. But that’s fine with us. It helped kickstart the way they do things. Happy days!
About sharing not keeping it to yourself
Ideas tried out in one town have transferred over to others. If it works in one place, it will almost certainly work in another. Don’t be selfish. Share it on the Totally Locally forum. What worked and what didn’t. After all, you’re using a kit that someone shared with you for free. Do the same for others.
It’s The Economics of Being Nice……
….nice to your customers, your fellow shop keepers, your local council, your long-standing enemies. Stop holding a grudge. Start working together. Look at what you could achieve, not what’s stopping you.
Your competition is not the shop across the road – it’s Amazon, it’s Tesco, it’s Starbucks. They will cause your town to close if you let them. But if small shops, businesses, makers and growers work together, they can become a force to be reckoned with. And when your town thrives, you all thrive.
Be nice – it gets things done!