LIVE LOVE LOCAL NORTHWEST BC – Smithers & District Chamber of Commerce

The LIVE LOVE LOCAL NORTHWEST BC (LLL NWBC) legacy campaign is an innovative regional unifying project that encourages supporting and shopping local across seven Northern BC communities on the Highway 16 corridor. LLLNWBC is a collaborative initiative led and designed by the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce in partnership with local chambers in Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat, Houston, Burns Lake and Vanderhoof. This campaign connected Chambers and hundreds of partners across the North to commit to the big picture: promoting a healthy regional economy!

The LLL NWBC creatively engaged residents, businesses, and community partners in committing to shopping and supporting local during a time where businesses throughout the NW are deeply impacted by the vaccine passport, reduced revenues, and supply chain challenges. The campaign directly responded to local needs and priorities by:

Asked all campaign participants to make the online commitment - to sign up and be Stewards of their local/regional economy. Smithers Chamber featured photographs of over 200 participants in their community making the commitment verbally to inspire others

Shared community features, business & cultural highlight stories of success and economic impact on social media. Community articles featured the economic diversity of the region, a promotional campaign video creatively featured how businesses are navigating COVID but also have successfully pivoted to inspire others. Ex) setting up E-commerce sites. Also, the video shared participants making the pledge to support their regional economy

A chamber collective shared message that the campaign is more than shopping local, it’s about creating a new cultural mindset and collective shift to supporting local in our home communities (as well as supporting our neighbouring communities) and throughout NWBC in all aspects. Participants and the public were asked to think twice before ordering products from afar. The campaign calls on participants to work with regional businesses and entrepreneurs to RETHINK to find a solution to keep purchases local

Engaging an inclusive campaign that featured positive messages, stories, and unique ways to participate during a time of low community moral and struggling businesses. (Example: thousands of dollars in contests/giveaways, free swag to the public and participants)

QUICK STATS: Approx. 248 online pledges, 200 Smithers office pledges 4,059 Regional calls to action executed and 1,600 business decals and 3,800 color participant pledges stickers distributed in the NW in 4 weeks over campaign soft launch. An average of $704 dollars were spent across the Northwest per participant. These stats will be multiplying as this application has been submitted.

FURTHERING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Communicated with NW community members the value of RETHINKING support & shop local messaging. The campaign created a regional cultural shift through various creative mediums, including directly influencing participants to “sign up” and make the campaign commitment to be stewards of the regional economy.

SOCIAL MEDIA/VIDEOGRAPHY: Developed two social media channels (F/IG) with 45 videos and many engaging posts/stories featuring NW businesses, service providers, entrepreneurs and residents making the commitment and explaining how they support local. Created an influential and inspiring campaign promo video featuring campaign highlights and Chamber partners.

WEBSITE/ BILLBOARDS & RETHINK EDUCATIONAL BOOKLET: Features community leaders and influencers who impact our collective regional economy. Created thoughtful content to synthesize how all community members, businesses, & partners play a role in supporting local with the campaign FAQs and booklet.

INCENTIVIZING PARTICIPATION: Quality merchandise, prizes, contests were developed and reminded consumers to support local, often, and regional through social media contests, chamber networks, partnerships, and influencers / ambassadors. 1750 campaign hats, totes and masks were circulated in the NW by proud participants.

HIGHLIGHTING ECONOMIC DIVERSITY: Each of the 7 communities along the Highway 16 corridor was represented through the unique way that they drive the economy. The impact that the various sectors have in each micro region was highlighted and collectively, healthy economic diversity was/is being celebrated.

STRONG INDIGENOUS PARTNERSHIPS & NEW PARTNERS: the campaign empowered many Indigenous businesses/service groups to get involved and it supported the next generation of Indigenous youth and students to contemplate the vital importance of Healthy Economic development and participate in campaign action items.

The project demonstrates the power of a large scale, collaborative, regional unifying campaign that is replicable and transferable. Other communities interested in regional, collaborative campaigns can adapt elements of the LLL NWBC campaign.

Lessons learned include 1) Appreciate the extreme admin time is takes to build a large-scale campaign during challenging times 2) The HUGE value of a regional shared branding campaign vs. each community having its own initiative 3) Hire contractor positions to support and augment the various aspects of the project 4) Opportunities to further strengthen and intensify partnership development, notably with youth, Indigenous organizations, and vulnerable partners who need support to participate

For more information on LLL NWBC:

Website & Campaign Video: