Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

The newsagency community connection

Mark Fletcher
April 28th, 2009 · 1 Comment

When speaking at newsagent conferences and workshops over the last two years I have asked what do we stand for?  A common answer from newsagents was community connection, being local.

Being connected with the local community is a good unique selling proposition when most of what we sell in our newsagencies is available from other businesses, usually bigger than ours. By trading off the local connection we connect with others who are community-minded. But I wonder how locally connected we really are.

I know that in my own businesses we could do more – and I guess this is what started me thinking about this topic. I want the local connection to be real for us and for our customers.

My question for newsagents this morning is whether we are as community minded as we think? Is the connection more in our heads than our actions?

I started thinking about this over the weekend when researching how some businesses in small UK and US towns connect with their communities.
Here are some questions you could ask yourself to test your community connection:

  • What local charities does the business support?
  • What local schools does the business support?
  • What local organisations is the business connected with?
  • What local events does the business actively participate in?
  • Have you compared the savings of shopping locally at your business compared to further away? Do you communicate this?
  • Do you buy from local businesses where possible? Do you promote this?
  • Do you promote your business with other local businesses?
  • Does a representative of the business attend events and charities supported by the business to make awards?
  • Do you hold events in the newsagency for local groups – art shows, competition entries and the like?
  • Do you participate in local council business forums?
  • Are your employees encouraged to share in your community involvement?
  • Are you part of the local traders association?
  • Are local organisations able to publicise events in the window or using other resources of the business?

I suspect there is a big difference between the community connection of a newsagencies in the city compared to the country. I’d be interested in what others think.

Given the resources in our businesses, there are initiatives we could take to help the local community and build our connection.  Here are a few:

  • Establish a what’s on noticeboard in your window or on a wall.
  • Sponsor a locally focused newsletter.
  • Link to local clubs and groups on your website.
  • Check our the government community portal.  It has opportunities in many communities.
  • Talk to your local council – they are bound to have suggestions on ways you can connect with the local community.
  • Create a local traders website.
  • Collect change from customers for local charities.
  • Create a newcomer pack with other businesses and deliver this to families new to the area.
  • Sponsor an annual award encouragement award at a local school and present the award yourself.
  • Support at least one local sports club.
  • Price compare popular items in your shop with bigger businesses further away.  Promote your point of difference.

IGA has an excellent presentation online about their community involvement.

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Category: Customer Service · Newsagency opportunities

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