In these tough economic times, Charter Communications’ Spectrum Reach ad sales business has launched a Rebuild My Town initiative to help small businesses with promotional ideas and advice from celebrity entrepreneurs.
The initiative is backed by a localized ad campaign with commercials that feature a small business based in each of 34 markets.
Spectrum Reach is looking to emphasize its local connections by using the slogan “Let us show you around the neighborhood.”
“Where Spectrum Reach is unique is this intersection of technology, but also local expertise,” said Michael Guth, senior VP, Marketing, at Spectrum Reach. “Let us show you around connotes a level of expertise without having to say you’re an expert. And the sense of neighborhood is not just about a literal neighborhood in Brooklyn or St. Louis, but it’s also the neighborhood of multi-screen advertising.”
The spots open on an image of a market on a map and talks about local points of interest. Then it explains how Spectrum Reach makes local businesses big, and big brands look local. The logo of a real local business appears in the spot against a background that shows what kind of business it is--a coffee shop in San Antonio or a car dealer in St. Louis. “Be on every screen with that one idea you need to turn a consumer into your customer,” the spot advises.
“To really have an actual car dealership, an actual retail shop says that you care enough about the market to understand some of those nuances,” Guth said. The spots also give some free promotion to those businesses. “We suspect it’s going to be something that we’ll do on an ongoing basis.”
On top of that, the Rebuild My Town initiative invites small businesses to be a part of online virtual mosaics in which their picture or logo becomes one of the tiles forming an image symbolizing that market, such as the Statue of Liberty in New York or the flag in Texas. Clicking on the tile gives visitors a description of the business.
More than 3,500 local businesses have already submitted images to Rebuildmytown.com.
“Our markets are still hurting, so we wanted to see what we can do as we’re relaunching our brand in the fourth quarter to show empathy and a sense of community and compassion,” Guth said. “We’re trying to position ourselves as a catalyst for those local communities.”
Spectrum Reach has pledged to spend more than a $1 million backing the mosaic program with spots that feature some of the local businesses.
Guth said it’s been interesting to see how many ways its spots have been customized to feature different types of businesses, with versions with people wearing masks or not wearing masks, and so on. “It’s not infinite but it’s not that far off,” he said. “This is literally the manifestation of what we price ourselves on, the combination of local understanding and the expertise with this ad technology to support it. If it’s good enough for us, imagine what we can do for you.”
Spectrum Reach will also host an exclusive monthly Rebuild My Town VIP speaker series featuring celebrity entrepreneurs with extensive backgrounds and success in growing small local startups. Daymond John of Shark Tank will participate in the webinar in November; Bethenny Frankel will lead December’s event; and The Profit’s Marcus Lemonis will participate in the webinar in January. The celebrities also will share resources with Spectrum Reach clients on rebuildmytown.com.
“We are a national company. We have the ability to access national talent and bring those insights to the local markets in ways that others may not be able to,” Guth said. “Having that connection with our customers is meaningful.”
It also has a caravan featuring a product demonstration truck that travels to markets where there’s an event going on. To respect social distancing and CDC guidelines, only one visitor can enter the truck, but messages are delivered by the big screens on the sides of the vehicle.
The truck has been in Buffalo with the NFL Bills, it did a Hallmark Channel event in Ohio and and some celebrations of first responders and hospital workers.
“We’ve really been pleased with the reception in the marketplace," Guth said.
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.