Cash Mobbing Lifts Local Business” was first written by Paul Mackenzie Ross for the is4profit small business blog
The flash mob is a public gathering where people use social media or other communications to organise and congregate on a public place and perform some usually pointless act and then disperse again. Now, after the flash mob, we have the cash mob – or cash mobbing.
So what is cash mobbing?
Imagine flash mobbing but instead of the public place it’s a nearby small business; rather than an amusing dance, it’s spending cash. Put it all together and you have the cash mob – an act of localism that brings people together and puts money in the pockets of local business.
One year ago Britain’s capital was rocked by the London riots, an act of wanton destruction that was mimicked in major cities across the country. By communicating across media platforms, rioters organised impromptu looting and vandalism. But what if you replaced the baying mob with the paying mob?
That’s exactly what’s happened in the London (Olympic) Borough of Hackney. Organised by the initiative Means of Exchange, cash mobbers descended on their local bookstore, Pages of Hackney, and spent hard cash.
Now, as a host for London 2012, Hackney Council’s agenda for the borough included, amongst other things:
jobs for local people; work for local businesses
However, Eleanor Lowenthal, the owner of Pages of Hackney, has seen things differently:
“We, like many local businesses, have received scant reward from the Olympic Games taking place on our doorstep. Visitors are funnelled to the Olympic site and are not always encouraged to explore the local area. I am delighted that the local community are finding ways to rally together and support local businesses and delighted to have hosted this cash mob.”
And it’s not just Hackney that can take advantage of cash mobbing. Means of Exchange has set up the website Cash Mobbers where people can people can pick a local store and then create their very own cash mob event.
Ken Banks, the founder of Means of Exchange, concerned about the scenes of looting circulating around the globe last year, has noted the lack of footfall to local businesses from the Olympic games but has recognised the positive influence that communities and small businesses can use to their advantage:
“Now the world is glued to London 2012. The Olympic spirit is about camaraderie, fellowship and mutual respect. This is inspiring the local community; people are joining together, taking control of their lives and rebuilding something that was lost a long time ago in their areas.”
So can the cash mob save local small businesses? Will you use the new cash mobbing website to get your local community down to your local store?