Business is enthusiastically taking to Great Things Grow Here™ (GTGH) with 220 signing up as Brand Champions in just 12 months.
Four business owners a week from across Hawke's Bay see the benefits of belonging to the region's economic growth platform, says Hastings District Council Economic Development project officer Sam Jackman, who manages the brand platform.
Being a Brand Champion gives business owners the use of marketing tools and materials (including infographics), an extensive photo library, point of sale material, videos, help with social media, and the sharing of the champions' business stories across Great Things Grow Here™ platforms.
It also assists group members to access markets in China, which Great Things Grow Here™ focuses on through its China Connection programme. The programme hinged on working as a collective in markets which could be hard for single businesses to access.
Great Things Grow Here™ is proving its worth, says Hastings District councillor and economic development and urban affairs committee chairman Damon Harvey.
"It's a true regional initiative utilised by businesses from Mahia down to Waipukurau and beyond.
"The range of resources available to the brand champions is immense and can be used as part of their pitch to growing their own businesses. The brand will only grow in the future and the more businesses that join the ride the better," he said.
Getting the Great Things Grow Here™ message out to businesses in Hawke's Bay and their potential customers had seen a massive effort put into spreading the word through mainstream media, social media and the platform's own website.
More than 40 people a day looked at the website – almost 15,000 in the last 12 months. New visitors spent an average of 28 minutes checking out the content, while returning visitors averaged over 62 minutes.
Jackman says the time spent on the website is important. "It shows people are very interested and that the content is engaging – both stories and video. It’s hitting its mark in that people are finding it relevant. People don’t stay on websites unless the stories are compelling and the underlying message, in this case the benefits of doing business from, and in, Hawke’s Bay, and with our organisations, is something they're genuinely interested in."
The on-line forums, including the Great Things Grow Here™ website, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, were targeted at specific audiences, with postings averaging four times a day to both the website and social media.
The stories and social media posts had to achieve several aims for Hawke’s Bay.
From a Brand Champion’s perspective it was about getting their stories out to garner increased business, while from a district perspective it was about showing business owners the very real benefits of doing business from Hawke’s Bay, and raising the profile of the region.
The website's visitors came from a wide range of countries. Outside of New Zealand, the most interest over the year came from the United States, with almost 10 per cent of website visitors from that country. The United Kingdom, Australia and India were the next, with small but growing interest from China.
GTGH was initiated by Hastings District Council in 2014, then relaunched last year when it was taken up by councils across the region as the economic development platform for Hawke’s Bay.
26 July 2017
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