We live in a global word, and not just because the Internet has connected us. Our neighbors, co-workers, friends, and even family are from all over the globe and this presents some new marketing challenges. The City of Duluth, Georgia has been facing this challenge over the last couple of years as their Korean population has grown, but remains quite isolated.

Back in the day, you would make a jello-mold or bake a pie and take it over to the new neighbor to welcome them to the neighborhood. But when you approach integrating with a well-establish culture you need some new leverage to open doors and make everyone feel welcome.The City of Duluth approached Rock, Paper, Scissors to create what we like to call a “starter program” in tackling this hurtle.

In addition, the current economy and the demographics of this community presented us with the second part of our  challenge. Local businesses, both here and across the country, suffer from an identity crisis. They struggle to raise awareness of the products and services, competing with big box stores and mega malls for the consumer dollars. Our challenge was to encourage support for local businesses and build a bridge to the Korean community.

Our solution is Duluth Dollars, a dollar-for-dollar cash equivalent program with no expense to the businesses, designed to build awareness of all of the businesses in the Duluth area.

The idea is simple: You buy Duluth Dollars from the City and look for businesses that sport the nifty Duluth Dollars decal or poster in their window. The businesses that participate, as stated before, have no additional expenses, but, as part of the program, also receive promotional flyers and a listing on the Duluth Dollars micro site.

It is also very easy for businesses to sign up for the program. A simple online form needs to be filled out by the business owner and as soon as city officials verify their information the business listing goes live on the micro site and the program collateral is sent to the business. The program’s goal is to unify local businesses and builds awareness to “Shopping Locally”.

Now, I see the question forming in your head: what about the Korean community that we need to reach out to? Well, I was getting to that. We like to make sure we do our research when it comes to cross-cultural promotions so we partnered  with the local Korean Chamber of Commerce and worked with the President, Kim Yi, to bridge this cultural gap. We started by translating the new City tag line into Korean. We also decided to redesign and translate the program poster, so that it would be better received by the Korean community. Portions of the website have also been translated to eliminate language boundaries.

This program just launched last week, so Duluth is not quite plastered with Dollars yet, but keep an eye out and stop by City Hall to pick up your Duluth Dollars.