Nationally the campaign of keeping dollars local has been picking up steam – great for the nonprofits behind them and great for the local businesses that benefit from the patronage.  There is hard work that goes into these messages and campaigns and I am fascinated by it all as a PR practitioner as well as a local consumer.  This Saturday DC is uniting for one hour to form a “Cash Mob” led by former WWPR board member Stacey Price.

She is asking locals to arm themselves with $20 to make a large combined economic impact on one lucky local business owner.  I will be curious to see what PR the “chosen” location does before the event and what customer service tactics they conduct post-event to turn the short-term stunt into long-term impact.  Hopefully they will also raise some revenue during that hour as well!  I think campaigns like this are key to the future of the America economy- it’s all about “Main Street”.

What is a Cash Mob?

According to Price, “Think flash mob but more social and less artsy. First started by Buffalo, New York, blogger Chris Smith last August, cash mobs are a nationwide community-based phenomenon, primarily organized through social media, in which groups of people gather on an appointed date and time to “mob,” or support, a local business. Participants must agree to spend at least $20 at the chosen location, and in turn the business must be locally-owned and supportive of the community.”

The organization is positioning this campaign as the anti-Groupon which from a messaging standpoint don’t agree with, and think small business owners can maximize Groupon if they had a plan in place before setting the coupon level and thresholds.
“Not only are we offering the business some additional daily revenue by creating a mob we are giving businesses that may or may not have a marketing budget the easiest promotion and media opportunity that they can find,” says Price. “And unlike other efforts to attract consumers to local business, this one does not have a discount attached.”
Does your small business or clients have a Groupon strategic plan – here are five tips.

How do you participate?

1. RSVP on Facebook to get the location.
The location is not announced until 9:30 a.m. the morning of the MOB.

2. Arrive with $20 in hand to spend fully on one or more items.
3. Spread the word to your friends, colleagues and family – use your own social media to be a brand ambassador if you believe in the campaign

Learn more about Think Local First DC and how they will select the Cash Mob business on their blog here.