Project Description

“Small Business Counts” Cash Mobs

ORNL Federal Credit Union relied on Ackermann PR to build out its small business cash mob concept

Issue
Despite the fact that ORNL FCU is central East Tennessee’s largest credit union with 32 branches, nearly 500 employees, more than $1.43 billion in assets and a membership of more than 160,000 individuals, it was recognized that there was a significant opportunity to enhance ORNL FCU’s overall image as a contributing member of each of the surrounding counties, and as a business committed to the well-being of these communities, through an overall community involvement initiative with the objectives being to increase revenues and profits.

As a way of kicking off this new community relations initiative, ORNL FCU, with the help of Ackermann PR, developed a strategic grassroots program designed to help local businesses financially through the use of cash mobs. The concept of a cash mob is one that fits perfectly with ORNL FCU’s renewed local community relations emphasis and supports its dream to be the preferred credit union in East Tennessee, by delivering unparalleled, enhanced value.

Idea
The ORNL Federal Credit Union Small Business Counts Cash Mob Program was designed to promote small business in the city of Knoxville and surrounding areas. Ackermann PR brought the program to life by developing a strategic plan for the program and executing its various elements, including: identifying and selecting potential locations, coordinating with business owners, leading all communications (media, advertising/graphics, employees, Facebook/Twitter), securing media coverage, serving as program spokesperson and providing on-site management and assistance.

Prior to developing a detailed plan for the program, Ackermann PR conducted thorough research into the successes and failures of other cash mob programs throughout the country. Areas of focus included: target locations, promotional efforts, customer incentives, day/time selection, messaging, and various results metrics.

Impact
Here were the key results and takeaways for the Small Business Counts program through December 31, 2013 (program is still ongoing):

  • Held nine (9) cash mobs in 2013 positively impacting nine (9) local businesses.
  • ORNL FCU employees received large amounts of positive feedback from members and community citizens.
  • Launched Small Business Counts Facebook Page which now has more than 330 fans.
  • Secured consistent media coverage in the following outlets: Knoxville News Sentinel, Shopper News, Knoxville Focus, The Oak Ridger, Oak Ridge Today, WBIR Channel 10, WATE Channel 6 and WVLT Channel 8.
  • The overall success of the program led ORNL FCU to extend its commitment to host additional cash mobs throughout all of 2014.