Ashford-based design agency Oak Creative has helped trade organisation Produced in Kent to transform a simple hashtag into a powerful call to action logo to encourage people to shop locally and support Kent businesses.
The #HelpKentBuyLocal campaign was originally set up by Produced in Kent to help people find and support local producers during lockdown. Over the last few, the hashtag and website have been used to promote the many independent local businesses who are growing, producing, preparing, selling and delivering food and drink to the Kent community.
“Produced in Kent decided to extend the campaign further by designing a badge which, like the NHS rainbow, could be displayed, in a window or on social media, to show support for Kent’s food and drink sector. As members, we wanted to show our support for this and so we delivered a graphical logo and a series of posters free of charge,” said Laura Bevan, studio director of Oak Creative, who took over from founder Caroline Butterfield following her retirement earlier this year.
“A clear and powerful brand or logo can really help to spread a message quickly. The #HelpKentBuyLocal campaign badge get the message across effectively and really reinforces the need for people to start, and continue, shopping local and exploring the diverse range of independent producers, retailers, service providers and crafts businesses which are right on their doorstep.”
The Oak Creative team, which normally operates from offices in Coachworks in Ashford, and Newingreen, near Hythe, created the doughnut-shaped badge, as well as a selection of printable posters which have been shared widely on social media, added to websites and displayed in shop, pub and restaurant windows.
As the last few months has proved particularly challenging for large and small independent producers to reach out to customers, Oak Creative has been helping its clients to improve their online audience through the creation of social media graphics and powerful and effective e-commerce websites.
“As a team we are all really passionate about buying local produce and we have been busy finding new ways to offer as much support to fellow local businesses as possible,” said Jessica Banks, marketing manager at Oak, a member of Produced in Kent. “The recent crisis has awoken independent producers to the importance of a strong online presence. Many are harnessing the power of social media and our team have been busy helping to get them set up with websites which are effective at engaging with their customers and facilitating sales.”
With so many local businesses looking for support with branding, packaging, digital assets, advertising and websites, Oak Creative has just updated its own website to help businesses find solutions and grow an attractive and successful online presence.
“Now is the ideal time to step back and evaluate whether your branding, website and other design assets are effectively strengthening customer awareness and maximising sales, or whether it is time to refresh and upgrade,” said Jessica.
As well as encouraging food and drink businesses to use the hashtag #HelpKentBuyLocal on social media, Produced in Kent launched the microsite www.helpkentbuylocal.co.uk. Over 280 businesses have listed their services, for free, on the site which features an interactive map overview and a ‘good news’ blog. With so much support for the #HelpKentBuyLocal campaign, Produced in Kent will continue to host the site for the foreseeable future.
Floortje Hoette, chief executive of Produced in Kent commented: “If anything good was to come out of this very challenging period, it is a higher public awareness of the fantastic food supplied by your local butcher, the farm shops, the bakers and the village shops, not forgetting the doorstep deliveries made by the local dairy farms. We must all make an effort to buy local, not just now, but also when Covid-19 is no longer dominating our daily lives.”