Earlier in the year, I had the pleasure of meeting Jillian McEwan of Fresh Food Express. Straight away I was drawn by her passion to drive home change in the purchase of local produce. Like many of my friends out there I have a desire to buy local, but the convenience of Tesco, Lidl or any of the other supermarket giants hold too strong in my habitual life sadly. Her business strives to change this as she links field to fork through an online platform, with purchases being delivered to your front door in a beautifully wrapped sheepskin. (www.freshfoodexpress.co.uk)
At our meeting, she introduced an event that had been born by some likeminded individuals keen to showcase Angus local produce. You'd be hard to miss it in the papers yesterday as the event far outstripped any of their expectations.
With attendance figures in the region of 5,000 people the power of collaborative marketing was well and truly harnessed at Easthaven beach. For small business owners in particular, coming together with partners of similar brand positioning and vision can be the most effective and cost-efficient way of getting your business noticed.
The team built energy around their event, creating conversations online, engaging with local communities and featuring in press all over Scotland. Individually businesses would find it difficult to attract so much attention, but by combining their message and creating something unique for the market they could tell a story worth reading.
When looking to make your mark in the marketplace, consider who your partners could be. It needs to be a win:win scenario in order to get buy in from each party and it is important to ensure your core values are aligned.
Collaborative marketing can work just as effectively in a B2B environment, attracting your target market and raising awareness of your product/service. Think quality not quantity! Explore where your target market hang out and see what other businesses are there. It's not a race; take the time to find out what is in it for each party so that you can ensure the time investment is worthwhile.
I can only imagine that the Easthaven beach pop up is the start of a much longer journey for The Food Life group. It has certainly given them a good launchpad for bigger and greater things both together as a group and individually as businesses in their own right.
Congratulations to The Food Life members on their first event: Artisana, Cav & Co. The Gin Bothy, Ella Drinks, Gather deli, Sacred Grounds Coffee, Arbroath Quality Fish, Muckle Backit Oven, Hamish Hogs, Fleming the Butcher, Kirrie Ales, East Scryne Fruit, and FreshFoodExpress. For more information: www.facebook.com/thefoodlifeangus