Later this year, Cornwall will be put on the world stage with the G7 Summit officially announced to be held in Carbis Bay. With the eyes of the world upon us, how can we as individual businesses get the most from our moment in the spotlight in a way that will benefit the local economy for years to come?
Oxford Innovation Business Coach and marketing specialist Ernie Capbert takes us through some of the areas that business owners should consider if they want to capitalise on the increased exposure of the G7 summit.
Why is the G7 important to Cornish businesses?
For many businesses the summit might seem like a far cry from their day-to-day activities. We don’t yet know the extent to which tourism will be impacted, the number of extra people it will draw in, or the amount of extra revenue it will generate, but one thing we can approximate is how the shift in focus towards the county may affect Cornwall as a ‘brand’.
Many businesses and brands have leveraged the spirit of Cornwall in their positioning, tone of voice and imagery for years. G7 is an event that will allow even more people to experience this spirit and strengthen the county’s provenance.
While on the outside Cornwall is often portrayed as a quiet, rustic destination, the reality can be quite different, with digital and tech companies increasingly choosing to call it home. Could this newfound exposure help others see what local businesses have known for years: that Cornwall is a natural home of innovation?
What is the potential opportunity for businesses?
For businesses able to seize the potential of the summit, this could result in real world benefits: not only in terms of strengthening the county-leveraged brand, but also increasing the opportunities that come with it.
There are many potential opportunities that could present themselves to businesses, and in many forms: new customer acquisition, new strategic partnerships, capturing the spirit of Cornwall in our marketing and telling its story. Any and all of these are possible by the increasing number of ‘touch points’ created by the summit and the subsequent extra coverage that comes with it.
The challenge with all of this, like anything, is to do it in the right way.
Pitfalls and traps to avoid
As with all marketing efforts, there are areas of caution to be aware of, along with the simple truth that for some businesses there might not be a natural and genuine association to be made.
For some the temptation may be to try and capitalise on the potential exposure in ways that are disingenuous or forced. Business owners will need to seriously ask themselves how their attempts at creating a narrative that reimagines their brand or its association with Cornwall will look to an outsider; with a wealth of information available at their fingertips, consumers are a lot more savvy in the digital age.
For some businesses the issue may be closer to home: there is also the added pressure of having more people in the places we love. There will be people passing through without realising that many people live and work here. I have seen first-hand the effects of increased tourism and travel to culturally significant but ecologically delicate areas including Peru, Potomac River in Maryland, East coast beaches of the USA and Nova Scotia.
The trick is to be both useful and kind to those we encounter: this goes for the businesses here in Cornwall and for those coming to visit. It’s important that as businesses we welcome visitors, whilst expressing the importance of taking care of the place we call our home.
Give visitors a wonderful experience and then find ways of capturing the wonderful experience they will have in your own marketing.
After the G7, how can businesses keep up the momentum?
To get the most from the increased exposure, it’s important to plan ahead to keep any new potential clients engaged, rather than relying on them staying loyal after what might only be a single, short interaction.
In doing so, owners ensure a lasting legacy that ties their business to the event and the experience of being in Cornwall. If your business has the technology, try and segment the customers visiting during the period, so that you can speak to them more relevantly down the line.
This segmented audience can be used in a variety of ways, whether it’s sending them promotions, using analytics to track their performance compared to your traditional customers to see how much you benefitted from the increased exposure and whether you can replicate the same performance with future campaigns.
Try and remain in the consciousness of your newly segmented audience, whether that means reaching out to them three months down the road, with a newsletter or a beautiful picture saying something like ‘Cornwall is thinking about you’, offering a discount to them and people they forward the message on to, or with content tailored to their business.
When putting your business in front of a much wider audience, consider what it is you do best and what invaluable insights you can bring into the public conscious that no one else can. You want to start a conversation with potential new customers that begins with you highlighting the benefits of your product (its USPs, its potential to solve an issue etc.), what makes you the best people to come to, and that ends with a new audience of people leaving with an awareness and appreciation of what you do.