Visa recommends small businesses in new campaign

Who: Visa with BBDO, Starcom for media and Proof for PR.

What: #MySmallBizReco, a social media and influencer driven campaign to support small businesses trying to recover from loses resulting from the Covid crisis.

When & Where: The campaign began Aug. 1 and runs through the end of September almost exclusively through digital channels.

Why: Many Canadian small business were hard hit by the pandemic. And while there have been multiple efforts and campaigns to help them (see here, here, and here), Visa has made launched a multifaceted campaign of its own.

“Small businesses are such a critical part of our Canadian economy. And with them suffering, so do our communities,” said Heather Nobes, Visa Canada’s senior director marketing and sponsorships.

Visa is helping small businesses in two ways: by promoting the small businesses and encouraging people to support small businesses, and by providing guidance and direction to help individual businesses adapt to become more digitally focused.

“We had small business as a priority initiative as part of our plan for this year,” said Nobes. “But we have put more focus on small business as a result of the pandemic and the impact it has had on Canadian communities.”

How: Last month, Visa introduced a small business hub at its website with guidance and direction for how to create a digital first business including building a website, setting up e-commerce and online marketing.

“We know that Canadian small businesses need to get online and need to adopt a digital first mindset,” said Nobes.

Last week a next stage kicked off with a video by Schitt’s Creek star Daniel Levy asking people to recommend small businesses with the hashtag #MySmallBizReco. Other influencers have posted about their own favourite small businesses. Visa is using paid media to amplify the influencer videos to start and will promote some of the user generated recommendations as more are posted to Facebook, Intagram and Twitter.

Visa is also going to make small businesses a focal point of its activation around the Toronto International Film Festival (which has been reimagined for the pandemic). The lone old-school media execution will be lawn signs to promote the hashtag and encourage people to support small businesses in their community. “Lawn signs have made a really big comeback[during the pandemic],” said Nobes.

Quote: A survey conducted by Visa found most Canadian small businesses think it’ll take up to 10 months to fully recover from the damage caused by the pandemic. “MySmallBizReco and the campaign is an important first step, but small business is going to continue to be a focus for us through next year,” said Nobes.

David Brown