Friday, October 30, 2009

More Than One Way to Say It

I wrote two articles for a local organization's newsletter about Shopping Local. The first was soundly rejected. The second was roundly praised. Funny thing is, both said pretty much the same thing. The difference is that one said it powerfully, one not as strong.

Yes, it was the more powerful message that was rejected. The fear was that it would be seen as offensive to some. Of course, that was my point. No, not to offend, but to attract.

A message is like a magnet. It's power to attract is equal to it's power to repel. The stronger the attraction, the stronger the repulsion.

If you are writing to attract, write powerfully and pull no punches. If you are writing not to offend, don't be upset if your message doesn't get through as strong as you would like. Those are the trade-offs in making a memorable message.

I understand the reasoning behind the newsletter's owners wanting not to offend (otherwise I wouldn't have written the second article). Some of my original points were directed right at some of their membership which wouldn't have gone over well. And that's a fair reason for the rejection.

But there's a lesson here worth remembering. The most powerful messages will offend as many people as they attract. And that's okay.

Here are the two articles. You tell me which one was more powerful...


What Does it Mean to Shop Local?

There are differing opinions as to how we define a Local Business. Here is the definition that counts…

A local business is one that is owned and operated by someone actively involved in this community.

If in doubt, ask yourself, “Where does the profit go?” Locally owned businesses invest their profits back into Jackson. Chain stores send their profits back to headquarters (usually to pay for some CEO’s golden parachute). Online stores never let the money spend a moment in town.

Studies continually show that locally owned independents and locally owned franchises give back far more to the community than big box chain stores and online sites. They employ more people per sale, pay them a higher wage, pay more in taxes and give more in charity than the chain stores*. They also do more business with other locals keeping the money flowing through Jackson many times over.

A study in Grand Rapids showed that just a 10% shift in shopping habits from big chains to locals would create hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity, not by spending more, just by spending it locally.

Your local businesses sponsor local events. They sponsor your son’s Little League teams. They supply most of our local leaders. They don’t run at the first sign of trouble. They are rooted in our community.

Christmas is a time for giving. As you plan your giving, think about the businesses who have given back to Jackson, who have invested their livelihood in Jackson.

You can find a bunch of them at http://www.jxnlocalfirst.com/.

Merry Christmas!

Phil Wrzesinski

*Studies cited at www.jxnlocalfirst.com


Keep Your Dollars in Jackson

They say it takes a whole village to raise a child. It also takes a whole village to raise an economy. But first you have to invest in the village. You have to put your money where your house is. Spend your money in Jackson.

The holidays are a time for increased spending. They are also a time for increased everything else, increased traffic, increased stress, and increased demands on our time.

For some, that’s a compelling reason for shopping online. Sure, you might save a buck or two, but the money you saved was money that left Jackson with no benefit to the local economy. And if you didn’t pay sales tax, that’s a loss of revenue for our schools.

When you shop local - when you stay in Jackson to make your holiday purchases - you are investing in your neighbors. You are employing people in your community. You are adding to the available dollars for charity. You are growing Jackson’s tax base and economy.

Washington, D.C. does not have a silver bullet to kill the recessionary beast. Lansing cannot fix what ails us.

But you can.

Spend your money in Jackson and it will make a difference – a big difference. A study in Grand Rapids showed that just a 10% shift in shopping local would create hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity, not by spending more, just by spending it locally.

Keep your dollars in Jackson this holiday and you’ll be giving a whole lot more than just presents.

Merry Christmas!

Phil Wrzesinski


See the difference?

Cheers!
-Phil

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