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‘Small Business Saturday’ and ‘Our First Christmas’ campaigns to boost trade

A bid to boost trade for shoppers in the borough’s main towns and villages is expected to be undertaken with two new promotional campaigns.

Traders in Keady, Tandragee, Richhill and Markethill, as well as Dromore, Rathfriland and Waringstown, will be highlighted as part of the latest drive to encourage customers to ‘Shop Local’.

While Georgian Day in Armagh benefits shop owners in Armagh City, and Country Comes to Town helps swell takings for those in Portadown, these seven main urban centres will join the main centres as focal points for this latest initiative.

A report on the initiative will be presented to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s economic development and regeneration committee for consideration this Tuesday, October 13.

Lyn McNeill, Craigavon Town Centre manager, has compiled the report, which follows on from Independents’ Day in July, the council’s first joint marketing campaign incorporating the main urban centres and smaller towns across the new council area.

Councillors had asked then for information on how to incorporate small towns going forward and how to promote the ‘Shop Local’ message to residents.

Town Centre Managers have been investigating ways to work together and with local businesses to prepare promotional campaigns which will support local retailers across the borough.

Two upcoming initiatives have been identified.

Firstly, ‘Small Business Saturday’, which takes place on Saturday, December 5, is rolled out nationwide.

This event is an opportunity for all the towns across the borough to come together to profile small businesses on our high streets and the ‘Shop Local’ message.

Promotional activity – including radio and digital advertising – will facilitate a targeted message to residents to support our local small businesses on this day and beyond.

The second initiative relates to the festive season across the borough and is called ‘Our First Christmas’.

This campaign will incorporate all the city and town centres in a festive themed creative. Using mediums including billboards and radio, the strapline ‘Our First Christmas’ will serve to focus residents’ minds on the large number of towns within the new council area and reinforce the principles of ‘Shop Local’.

Councillors have wanted to develop future marketing campaigns to profile both the main urban centres – Armagh City, Banbridge, Lurgan and Portadown – as well as the smaller areas of Keady, Markethill, Richhill, Tandragee, Dromore, Rathfriland and Waringstown.

As such, council officials will carry out an evaluation exercise of ‘Small Business Saturday’ and ‘Our First Christmas’ early in 2016 and bring back a calendar of potential joint campaigns for 2016.

Through discussion with retailers groups it has been identified that ‘a one size fits all’ approach would not provide greatest benefit for towns.

Retailers, councillors are being told, would be keen to see different types and levels of marketing campaign as follows:

Individual town advertising campaigns would be seen as most beneficial to promote individual towns, large and small, rather than taking a joint approach. This would be for a ‘town specific’ event, such as a fashion show.

At times of the year it would be more beneficial to maximise opportunities for town centres by working together on joint marketing campaigns, such as what was achieved for Small Business Saturday.

‘Umbrella Branding’ campaigns would focus on two levels of campaign running simultaneously. Each of the main urban centres would have individual promotional materials featuring town-specific activities.

An overarching campaign – based on a similar theme – would also be developed at the same time to include all towns, large and small, within the borough, such as the proposed Christmas campaign for the new Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area.

Town centre managers will continue to meet regularly to explore best practice, to review the needs of towns and assess the most appropriate method of campaign delivery which meets the needs of council and the private sector.

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