Small Business Saturday has grown each year since its inception and now has a huge following among shoppers around the country. Even the President has shown his support of Small Business Saturday. In 2014, over $14.3 billion was spent at locally owned stores by people who were aware of the special day, a huge number. And what is the benefit to American Express? Well, the company does not have a direct dollar goal in mind, but as far as brand awareness and brand perception goes, one has to imagine that Small Business Saturday is a huge win. Everyone roots for the little guy, and small businesses are David to Walmart’s Goliath… so being able to align your brand (AmEx is a pretty big Goliath brand in and of itself) is pretty smart marketing.
Small Business Saturday works for the businesses because there are many consumers in the US who want to know that their dollars are supporting their neighbors and the local economy. This is an important motivator for many, and Small Business Saturday takes that motivation and turns it into a celebration for one day.
What Can Be Learned? University of Houston's Cougar 100
Similar to how Small Business Saturday appeals to consumers who are motivated to buy local, the Cougar 100 will appeal to alumni consumers who want to support those they share a common bond with. Many institutions have alumni who will go the extra mile for a fellow alum, and the Cougar 100 will hopefully create a group of loyal consumers for some of these up and coming businesses.
The campaign also benefits UH’s alumni association as well. By encouraging alumni to nominate their own or a fellow alumni owned business, the university is gaining valuable insight into how well a small subset of alumni are doing professionally, which could benefit UH’s development department. The campaign will also help to substantially build and grow its entrepreneur network for current students and future alumni. Lastly, the event and promotion of the announcement of the list creates a lot of positive publicity for the school.
UH is ahead of the curve with this idea. Perhaps the school will even have a Support the Cougars small business day in the future as well!