Local firms take ownership of 'Small Business Saturday'

NEW YORK: Business owners are ticking up their grassroots communications for American Express' "Small Business Saturday" initiative, which encourages consumers to shop locally.

NEW YORK: Business owners are ticking up their grassroots communications for American Express' “Small Business Saturday” initiative, which encourages consumers to shop locally.

The program was unveiled in 2010 to boost shopping at independent stores and restaurants by offering $25 to consumers who enroll in the initiative.

This year, businesses are getting more proactive in their own outreach, said Scott Krugman, director of corporate communications at American Express.

“What's helping to create the success…is that small businesses are taking ownership of the day,” he explained. “There is so much grassroots marketing and support of the day, and you're seeing American Express support it nationally, but we do that to provide air cover for these small businesses that are making the day their own.”

Krugman added that 67% of small businesses involved in the promotional event are offering deals on Saturday, November 24, which is strategically positioned after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday.

American Express and PR agency partner M Booth are working to garner national press coverage for the event, and they are also helping small businesses connect with regional media outlets for local exposure, said Krugman.

He added that many small businesses are also promoting the day on their own Facebook and Twitter pages, and the financial company is using its social media channels to spread the word.

After this Saturday, American Express will continue to work with small businesses throughout the year on a variety of initiatives, such as its “Victory in Procurement” program that provides independent companies with more opportunities to win government contracts, Krugman said. The credit card provider also supports businesses owned by women and works with small business owners to teach marketing and social media.

This summer, American Express' “Small Business Gets an Official Day” campaign won two Grand Prix awards at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the direct marketing and promo and activation categories.

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