Submitted by: Tina Phillips, Owner, Famous 4th Street Cookies

When I walk around the Reading Terminal Market, I can’t believe what a crowded market it is!  There are people from every walk of life convening in the long aisles to get the very best Philadelphia has to offer.  Focusing on areas for expanding our brand outside of Center City Philadelphia, it was obvious that our company was in another kind of crowded market:  the market for baked goods and confectionery gifts.  Our goal was to map out a plan where our limited marketing dollars for a small batch bakery would translate into brand recognition in our region and ultimately increase sales.

Meeting with many marketing professionals and the owners and staff of other Philadelphia iconic brands, it became evident that there were a number of ways to move forward.  However, it was unclear which avenue would be most effective.  We dabbled in more traditional forms of digital advertising, including ads on Google.  For us, Google Adwords had a low return on investment. Ultimately, competing against nationally-recognized manufacturers with major marketing budgets in an already crowded marketplace did not yield projected results.

Our team decided to turn our focus to the local media market using a combination of traditional public relations and digital marketing.  We launched a cookie-themed day with all proceeds benefiting a local charity that is close to our hearts, the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.  We reached out to friends, customers, and industry influencers through social media to get the word out about our promotion and charitable component.  We sent cookies to CHOP and the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House to bring a little joy to families in need.   During that event, we sustained our largest increase of social media followers in a single day and impressive sales numbers at our physical locations during what would have been a slow summer weekend otherwise.

Internally, we were very surprised to see how engaged the staff was, how proud it made them feel and how passionately they believed in the cause.  Our staff was excited to present the check to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House. By taking a simple concept and building a multi-faceted campaign around it, we were able to support an important cause and raise brand awareness while simultaneously giving back to our community.  We decided to make this an annual event to showcase how important it is to make an investment within the community where we are so lucky to do business.