What is a Cash Mob? Learn more here.
The CashMob concept is a strategic match for a Credit Union regardless of whether they offer business accounts. Using little, if any, monetary resources to get started, CashMobs may become the next fad for pro-local individuals to participate on a grass roots level.
“The basic foundation of Credit Unions were as grass roots institutions themselves so I think a Cash Mob is an absolutely natural fit for a credit union,” says Michelle McGovern, Chief Marketing and Development Officer for Firefighters Community Credit Union ($180m/Cleveland, Ohio)
CU Homepage thinks the opportunity exists right now for Credit Unions to champion this trend and start their own local CashMobs.
Why? Three simple reasons:
· Connecting with ‘buy local’ minded consumers has traditionally served Credit Unions well for the obvious audience parity.
· Supporting the home-grown Mom and Pop store and keeping money local, especially in an economy that favors big-box solutions and global solutions, generally produce long-term and raving fans. These fans historically have put their money, and their banking, behind their social ideals.
· CashMobs are in direct alignment to our seven cooperative principles. (which really should be posted on each and every Credit Union’s website for all to read if your CU really believes in them) Giving back to the community should be one of our obligations. Autonomy and independence are really what sets us apart, much like the local community retailer.
Top Photo: Cleveland CashMob mobbing Visible Voice Books.
Bottom (L to R):
L- Thirty-five local mobbers head to the mob store.
R- The Twitter Page of the CashMob. Twitter Handle: @CashMobs
Cleveland lawyer Andrew Samtoy was socializing over drinks with his network of fellow young professionals one evening after a hard day at the office. The conversation turned to recent events in his city where the term flash mob had recently taken on a negative connotation with groups of mostly young people using social media not to spontaneously sing or dance but instead riot and loot.
All in attendance that fated evening with Samtoy felt that the community was ready to rally and these criminal flash mobs would prove to be a tipping point for change.
“Someone in the group remarked, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do something that was viewed by people as good again?’ says Samtoy. A quick brainstorming session later around transformation and a concept named CashMobs was born.
CashMobs, taken as a turn of phrase from FlashMobs, was created by Samtoy and friends to get residents back involved in supporting and buying from local merchants. “Once we had the idea it was one of those great ‘come together’ moments where it was just too interesting not to just try to do,” states Samtoy matter-of-factly.
For the uninitiated, a Flash mobs are an incongruous group, or mob of strangers coming together at a public place during a pre-announced time to perform a rehearsed, choreographed and sometimes complicated song or dance routine generally to the delight and amusement of their unsuspecting audience.
Two trademarks of Flash Mobs are that they communicate plans via social media such as Twitter and Facebook and once the routine is over the individuals within the group disband and quickly disburse. The audience is then left to marvel at the spontaneous performance.
The Cleveland CashMob, works in much the same manner. The mob descends upon a pre-designated local retailer and in a brief :20 minutes each mobber spends a minimum of $20 patronizing the business thus adding to the local economy. The CashMob shows up, makes a measurable impact with that local retailers business on what would generally have been a slow evening of sales, and just as quickly leaves in masse, purchases in hand to gather again at a nearby watering hole for mob networking and socializing.
Does it work? Why do it?
“First, supporting local business is critical,” notes Samtoy. “These are stores owned by people who live in our communities and who employ our neighbors and friends from our communities. These Mom and Pop stores don’t take our money and send it to other states or countries, but keep it right here in Cleveland. They’re creating wealth here and we want to help them.”
Samtoy appreciates the larger footprint he says his group’s efforts can have. “We’re putting a little bit of stimulus back into the economy. Even if we don’t solve all of the problems of these businesses that we’re going to mob, we’re at least going to have a little impact.”
The first CashMob in Cleveland was held on a Wednesday during a dark and chilly November evening. The mobbers gathered before-hand to assemble for the official mob then walks a few paces away at the chosen store. This particular mob brought the 35 or so mobbers of varying ages, races, genders and neighborhoods as well as a handful of local and national media.
All gathered to a local, independent bookstore in a trendy, urban neighborhood known more for its chic café’s and for hosting art walks than for selling books and began “mobbing” which to the uninitiated eye, happened to look a lot like shopping.
The merchant that was mobbed, Dave Ferrante, Owner of Visible Voice Books, has been in business for five years and said after the mob that he’d never had a Wednesday nights sales tally quite measure that of the one from the mob. Judging from his receipt take, Ferrante says most mobbers, “spent well over the $20 spend that was initially set up.”
So, was the mob a success? If you ask Ferrante, whose business benefited from the mob’s first shopping experience, he would tell you it worked. “Down here foot traffic isn’t always the greatest, it’s not consistent. Wednesday nights are just not that busy for us, so anytime you can bring a new customer into your store it’s a nice boost.”
He added, “Tonight’s receipts were more like the business we would do on a busy day like a Saturday and that’s just money that we’re going to put right back into the community.”
To Andrew Samtoy and the Cleveland CashMobbers: Mission Accomplished. Keep the CashMob living.
Author’s Note: Since the CashMob was announced, the social media traction has grown by an unbelievable pace. As of the day the first CashMob was completed in Cleveland, organizers from several cities in the US, Canada, England and New Zealand have already announced plans or referenced hosting CashMobs for their own local economies.
Twitter Handle: @CashMobs
aka.. Unofficial Rules on How to Start a Cash Mob for Your Credit Union & Community
1) Anyone can participate in the CashMob.
2) The CashMob monthly schedule and times of mob must be announced via Social Media. A specific Cash Mob Twitter Account (ex- @MilwaukeeCashMob) and Facebook page is the ideal venue.
3) The general location/neighborhood of the monthly CashMob will be announced in advance, along with the place for the mob to meet in advance (ex- corner of 5th and Main Street) but never the specific business to support.
4) The specific CashMob business and business location will be announced via social media only four hours before the actual CashMob takes place so latecomers may find it easily.
5) The amount to spend will not be above $20, although people can spend more money if they desire. The amount of time to spend the $20 will be :20 before the mob is over.
6) The business must have products available for both men and women.
7) The business must be locally owned.
8) The business owner must demonstrate a history of give back to the community in some way.
9) The business owner must have knowledge of and approve the CashMob date and time before the mob is announced so the business can appropriately staff for the influx of business from Cash Mobbers.
10) The business must be located nearby a local watering hole or be within short driving distance and Cash Mobbers must join us for celebratory libations after the successful mob.
11) The cash mob will occur during the evening on a weekday or on a weekend.
12) Pictures will be posted to social media during and after the CashMob.
13) Parking must be readily available near the mob meet up.
and the last unofficial rule is: Have fun and spend locally.
CashMob in Action. Live from the Mob.
CashMob Founder explains on how to create a CashMob in your own city, one Credit Union Executive weighs in on the effectiveness of CashMobs and a Small Business Retailer speaks about why he thinks credit unions would be natural fit for hosting cash mobs around the country.
This is a smattering of the local press that was garnered from the successful Cleveland Cash Mob. More clips will be updated as they run in local and national media.
NPR Marketplace: http://cuho.me/vc99Td
Local NBC Affiliate (WKYC): http://cuho.me/sSr4OR
Cleveland Plain Dealer: http://cuho.me/w4q1C9
Cleveland Leader: http://cuho.me/twgbLI
Crain’s Cleveland Business: http://cuho.me/vXvuRS
Other Efforts Outside of Cleveland:
Buffalo Cash Mob: http://cuho.me/v0Jj1U
Davidson, NC: http://cuho.me/slc5tY