Book Review- Small Town Rules January 21, 2014Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Branding, Chamber of Commerce, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit.
I recently completed Small Town Rules by Barry Moltz and Becky McCray a very interesting read that likens the connected world to a small town environment where every customer can talk with one another.
Today many businesses (including the large companies) are quickly learning that people are seeking genuine interaction and a local connection. One of the most interesting takeaways was the desire of consumers to learn the “story behind their purchases.” Instead of mission/vision statements and value propositions, many humans want some history on the business and how it adds tangible value to the community. For many that connection may prompt a consumer to bypass a cheaper option and purchase the local product because they feel personally involved with the product or service.
Since the Great Recession began in 2008, there has been a resurgence of the Shop Local movement which is covered in-depth. The authors cover many important points about businesses needing to do more than place “Shop Local” placards in their store windows and call it a success. Taking the Shop Local concept to an urban level is also reviewed with examples from the unique neighborhoods of Chicago, a major metropolitan market with numerous chambers of commerce.
Having worked in bank marketing for decades, I found the Bank Local section particularly interesting. Many community based banks did not participate in high-risk lending practices and actually made it through the worst of the financial crash with minimal impact. During the 1990’s and 2000’s, many larger U.S. banking organizations eliminated local community banking charters, creating large-scale branch banking networks seeking the efficiency play. Some years later the wisdom of that strategy is questionable, as more wary consumers want a “small town type” relationship with the people managing something as personal as their money.
The lessons of minimalist business management, planning for “zero years” (storing surpluses) and exactly how small town businesses have survived for generations is wisdom many business owners large or small will surely find useful.
A devoted website www.smalltownrules.com is also available to remain connected for updates from the authors.