How A Local Advertising Agency Can Own Its City
I was the senior partner at Citrus, a full-service & very digital local advertising agency with offices in Portland and Bend Oregon, and San Francisco. In addition to having national clients like Nike and Harrah’s, we wanted to be a strong brand and resource in each of our local communities.
For Portland, we created the event series Meet The Makers, a small but powerful speaker series where we brought in execs from companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google. Our audience included current clients, prospects, the ad press, and, importantly, local influencers.
In San Francisco, we ran and distributed an agency-produced video series to break into that crowded agency market.
Your Local Advertising Agency Can Own Its City
I have worked with many smaller agencies that wanted to make some noise in their city. The primary objectives are awareness and high-quality branding. As in, how to be unignorable in one’s hometown or region to be famous for future clients and HR staffing needs. In this case, local could mean London or Boise.
Some Smart Ownership Ideas + A Really Big One
Advertising agencies are well-placed for city ownership. Agencies are creative, work at the local level (even if they have national clients as well), are community leaders, and know how to market themselves online as well as physically.
- A city newsletter – On the simplest level, an agency can offer a city-oriented newsletter – a What’s Up / What’s Going On approach from the cool agency people. If done right, it will get read. YMMV but it could include an event schedule and even point to some great local stores and even point to local marketing programs – how that Italian restaurant markets itself on TikTok.
- Speaking of TikTok, maybe your agency can ‘own’ the ‘your city’ TikTok channel. Or, be like Gary Vaynerchuck and use SMS. man, I get at least two messages from him a day.
- Run an event(s) as citrus did. Or participate big time in an existing event. I don’t mean going to that Chamber meeting, not a bad idea, but more impactful high-interest events.
- A cool idea (yes, if I say so myself) — Lease an empty storefront for a week and give away free marketing advice to local merchants, brands, and even wannabe entrepreneurs. Maybe team up with a local publication. Everyone wins.
Here’s one more very interesting – very community-building idea. I’ve got more but you’ll have to call me to hear about those ideas.
A Really Really! Smart Local Marketing Idea…
Do real good: Here is an approach that might work for your agency, will help the community’s health, and would surely get you visibility and good PR. A trifecta. Steal this idea from Hyperallergic – Public Art Decreases Traffic Accidents By 17%.
Hyperallergic reports that street art can reduce traffic accidents. Clearly, your agency can produce street art. Art that would position your advertising agency as very community-minded AND creative. You can use the Asphalt Safety Study research to sell the idea to city leadership.
A study conducted by Bloomberg Philanthropies examined 17 sites over two years, before and after they were painted with “asphalt art” (art on surfaces such as roads, sidewalks, and underpasses). It found a 17% decrease in total crashes and a decrease in the severity of the crashes that did occur: There were 37% fewer crashes that resulted in injury and 50% fewer crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists.
“The art itself is often also intended to improve safety by increasing visibility of pedestrian spaces and crosswalks, promoting a more walkable public realm, and encouraging drivers to slow down and be more alert for pedestrians and cyclists, the most vulnerable users of the road,” the study reads.
Hey, this is a good idea. Grab it. Please… Do good! And, it kinda fits into my writing about advertising agency tactile marketing.