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We all understand the value of supporting local businesses and causes as a consumer, but did you know there are several benefits for your business supporting local too?

Not only are you helping grow the local economy, which is good for everyone, but you’re also building your brand’s reputation and reaching the audiences most likely to take interest in your product.

This advice isn’t just for small businesses either. If we take a closer look at Woolworths Group-owned bottle shop chain BWS’ multi-million dollar Local Luvva campaign, we can see that aligning with local brands has helped give their business the local street cred you wouldn’t expect out of one of Australia’s biggest brands.

In a comment to BrewsNews, BWS Local Manager Richard Mok talks up the convenience for local customers but makes it apparent that hooking loyal customers who might traditionally avoid the bottle shop chains was an additional benefit.

“We want to stock small, independently-owned breweries, distilleries and wineries because, as craft beer customers, we know it’s in demand and on trend.

We want their product to complement stores in the same geographical location – if they’ve got a following and those loyal customers, we want to make sure we have their beer stocked in their closest store.”

Now we don’t want to disparage BWS here – we just want to highlight the win/win nature of the campaign. They’re footing a large bill for advertising which independent suppliers wouldn’t normally be able to afford, in exchange for a new audience and local clout.

So, how did they go about this campaign without coming off as out-of-touch blow-ins jumping on the success of revered local products?

They did their research.

Lots of it.

Richard Mok was transparent once more when he explained the decision-making process.

“We thought about where the media was going to go – what are the geographical pockets, who would be the most relevant for those areas and was there anything particularly unique about those suppliers.

Every supplier could fit the bill, but obviously if we were investing in those areas, we wanted to make sure they were stocked in a lot of stores in that area.”

A Canberra distillery that many of you would be familiar with, Underground Spirits, was chosen to be one of the ACT’s featured makers in the Local Luvva campaign with their Caramel Vodka.

Once BWS had selected the right local products to support, they invested heavily in ensuring it got noticed. As well as a high-spend campaign across social media and radio, BWS commandeered more than 600 billboards and digital screens around the country.

The Sydney-based creative agency tasked with developing the 140 pieces of content for the Local Luvva campaign, Paper Moose, say that the key to ensuring their creative hit the mark was exhibiting local brand lovers with true neighbourhood passions.

“The heroes of the campaign are a series of mega fans who show their love for local drink makers in personal ways – from getting bottle tattoos, to tiling logos onto the bathroom wall. Each scenario was uniquely branded for over 600 billboards and bus shelters across 35 different regions. Not only did this achieve instant neighbourhood kudos, it gave exposure to 92 smaller brands who might be struggling during covid – all while promoting BWS as the place to buy local.”

And the results speak for themselves.

Endeavour Drinks Group, who are the owners of BWS as well as other retailers such as Dan Murphy’s, finished the September quarter with a 21.4% increase in sales. This was on top of a 21.2% rise in the June quarter, and is largely attributed to a 57.6% increase in eCommerce sales compare to the same time in 2019.

While the individual benefits for the brands featured during the campaign are harder to measure, Canberra’s own BentSpoke Brewing Co. (who were another one of the Local Luvva brands selected from the ACT) took out Number 1 in the GABS Festival Hottest 100 countdown with their very popular Crankshaft.

If you need advice on how to best reach hyperlocal audiences through partnerships and supporting local causes, we can help! Get in touch with the Threesides team or call us on (02) 6249 1117.

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