Yellow Pages Group (YPG) has launched a new marketing program encouraging Torontonians to shop at local businesses.
The “Shop the Neighbourhood” program debuted today and includes a local shopping day on Nov. 30. The day is strategically placed on the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when many Canadian consumers shop in the U.S. or at online retailers.
Andre Leblanc, director of marketing and communications for YPG in Montreal, said the program is a manifestation of the brand’s one-year-old corporate social responsibility program, “My Neighbourhood First,” and underscores its commitment to local business.
“This company stands for working with small businesses and contributing to that success,” said Leblanc. “Neighbourhoods that have a thriving small business community are that much more interesting to live in [and] it kind of defines the neighbourhood itself.”
YPG works with about 300,000 small business clients across the country, and is committed to providing them with the necessary tools and expertise to grow their business, said Leblanc.
“Canadians need to realize how important small businesses are and how they contribute to their everyday life – not only from a shopping perspective, but their impact on the neighbourhood and the quality of life,” he said.
The company has been working with local business improvement areas in the GTA for the past 10 weeks to solicit member participation in “Shop the Neighbourhood” and ensure the initiative has what Leblanc called “a critical mass” of participation.
It is also working to raise consumer awareness of the initiative with a new multi-media campaign including TV, radio and newspapers, along with social media support. YPG is also partnering with Rogers Media’s Breakfast Television to present a weekly two-minute segment focusing on a GTA business. The segment will run on BT every Wednesday for five weeks.
Developed by YPG in association with Rogers and Infinity Communications, the TV spots employ what Leblanc characterized as an emotional approach to showcase local businesses and their owners.
While the “Shop the Neighbourhood” initiative is intended to promote local businesses to consumers, it also offers an opportunity for YPG to reaffirm its commitment to small-business clients – particularly as it faces increased competition for small-business ad dollars.
According to the most recent statistics from Industry Canada, there were just over one million small businesses employing just over 7.7 million people in Canada as of 2012. Their contribution to the Canadian GDP has been pegged at anywhere from 25-40%.