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Yellow Pages drives local commerce with social campaign

Canadian digital media company Yellow Pages is hoping to drive local commerce ahead of the holiday season with its “Shop The Neighbourhood” social campaign.

The corporate social responsibility campaign aims to encourage shoppers to support local merchants and businesses through a variety of multimedia and social media tactics. “Shop The Neighbourhood” is strategically designed to take place between the major shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as a reminder to Canadians that every dollar they spend impacts the local community.

“Our role as a company in society is to champion the new neighbourhood economy,” said André Leblanc, director of marketing and communications at Yellow Pages, Montreal, CA. “If small businesses are thriving, it’s a fun place to live, the property values go up, and it’s a domino effect. From that need or opportunity, we came up with Shop the Neighbourhood, which is a direct contribution to small businesses.”

Curbing cross-border shopping
Yellow Pages is promoting the campaign in an effort to curb some of the cross-border shopping that is negatively impacting Canadian merchants. Canadians’ cross-border shopping in the United States increased by 72 percent between 2006 and 2012, according to a Statistics Canada study.

This led to Canadian citizens spending $8 billion in the United States in 2012.

Yellow Pages hopes the marketing effort will bolster local businesses’ revenue and entice consumers to shop locally year-round. Consumers and businesses looking to get involved may participate via the #shopthehood hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

While the campaign is being promoted via traditional marketing methods as well, including TV and radio, Yellow Pages is striving to integrate its content with social and mobile platforms to reach the widest audience possible.

“This is part of a multi-year approach where we’re trying to create a movement that goes beyond just one day, and social is really good for that,” Mr. Leblanc said.

Yellow Pages is also promoting the event with a series of mobile-optimized YouTube videos, including local merchants discussing the importance of the campaign, and a look back at last year’s event, which saw about 1,800 merchants and 58 neighbourhoods participate.

Incentives for businesses
The company is asking consumers in the Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa areas to make a holiday purchase in a local business on Nov. 29. Local stores will be offering incentives and deals on that day to drive sales.

Yellow Pages will enter participating businesses’ information into its extensive database and syndicates to all primary search engines. Any stores that plan to offer incentives for consumers will have their promotion displayed in a category for the Shop The Neighbourhood campaign on the Yellow Pages mobile application.

The offers will also be on the designated Web sites for Yellow Pages and the campaign.

“The whole campaign was built with the notion that a lot of digital content is accessed by mobile first,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Where it gets really interesting is that the whole campaign funnels towards our app.

“We are encouraging people on the day of the event to come out and play on mobile. Mobile plays a critical in everything we’re doing.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York