Getting on our bikes – A local business marketing case study (pt 1)

We ran an article recently about how we had decided we could bring big business marketing approaches to small business environments – and of course budgets. Just quickly for context, here at Nutshell Creative we work with some big name brands and essentially, we wanted to apply those same approaches to the community of business that serve our needs in the local area. The next step after realising we could do this was to put it in action.

Often people don’t fully understand what we do here so these two articles are intended to give you an insight through a case study.

In fairness it is understandable that people sometimes don’t understand how we work and I am sure some people see us as an office full of wild-eyed eccentrics dressed in bright Hawaiian shirts whilst having creative ‘moments’ over a game of table football. It’s not at all like that of course. We may not exactly be dressed in grey suits with the only sound being the ticking clock and I suppose we are a little eccentric at times but we are actually very disciplined. We need to be because there is a particular method we employ to ensure that our campaigns are working to the best effect.

This is how we approached the strategy for the marketing a local business that offers an exceptional experience when it comes to purchasing and maintaining high-end bicycles.

The business we were working with is based on the High Street here in Stony Stratford and had already been operating successfully but wanted to really make sure they were providing their customers with value. We asked a simple question ‘How can we help?’ and soon realised that, as is so often the case, the owners had identified a need without actually being able to fully see what that need was.

As small business owners we frequently find this situation. We are busy people and we don’t really have the time to ask ourselves what it is that that we do well. As a small business ourselves we understand this and therefore our initial purpose was to understand what the business was. Not its products or its services but what it really stood for. In this case what came shining through was the amount of dedication they had to their customers. Everyone involved with the business was clearly fully immersed in the desire to make his or her customers happy. A great example of this was the surprising discovery of a set of boxed loyalty cards. Clearly there had been a decision made to reward their loyal customers. Not a decision to take more money from customers you will notice but very typical of the ethos of the business was that this was a decision to pay them back. However, sitting on top of the loyalty cards was a small ‘post it’ note which read ‘how can we make this work’? Again this kind of unfinished approach to marketing is not unusual in a local business and it is just a result of the investment in helping customers, of providing the best service and of being people focussed.

From our experience and discussion it became clear that there was already an ethos in place. We took what they had and we made it a central touchstone for the campaign. We wrote it up as a purpose and it read:

“Providing a genuine local bike shop experience, building great relationships, and leaving a lasting impression”

So having found our focus the next stage was to look at how that manifests as service. What that statement meant was that they would always provide the highest available guidance, quality products and services. So our initiatives needed to combine this and ensure that this purpose and these aims were at the heart of any marketing activity.

Our job was to ensure that the desire of the staff to always share this ethos with the customer translated into a series of appropriate, physical, actions. Off we went, heads down and scribbling hard, to come up with something to do justice to this excellent local business.

In part two of this article we will explain the initiatives we put in place and the fantastic results they have achieved.