October is MSYS school month

Reviews of the successful implementation of National Independents’ Week in June suggested that the widespread involvement of suppliers, wholesalers and retailers required a rapid follow-up to maintain the momentum. October Is MSYS School Month is the result.

Everyone agrees that the principles of the MSYS campaign demand more than the one annual centrepiece of NIW, as successful as the week proved to be.

The challenge has been put down frequently – MSYS will not be judged on NIW but by coming up with ideas and inspirations through the year.

MSYS is an everyday activity – engaging the local community to increase footfall should be a mantra which every family business and sole trader in the grocery market should adopt or adapt during every hour of trading.

MSYS chairman Alan Toft (above left) says: “The challenge needs some level heads. Suppliers and wholesalers plan their promotional calendar four or five months in advance, often longer.

“Therefore any call on the trade for continuity activity by MSYS must be created on the basis of minimum use of resource, ease of implementation and maximum flexibility. That’s a tall order for any type of activity.”

PRAG chose its first theme month involving schools after an enthusiastic welcome of the concept by its retailer members. Wholesalers and retailers can take the three-pronged package, two prongs or just one according to their own individual strategy.

The activity has three segments, all inter-related. It is focused on the interface between the local shop and nearby schools which are a consistent source of footfall for the independent.

By using a school theme, MSYS can make another contribution to driving footfall by increasing awareness of the store, its owners, its staff, its products and its location.

October Is MSYS School Month is a generic activity which will feature on the campaign website. These are the elements:

== Prong one: Create a character competition ==

There will be more than pound;2,500 in cash prizes for schools, pupils and retailers in a fun competition to find a cartoon character that MSYS can adopt as its mascot.

Postman Pat and Bob the Builder are well established. MSYS is looking for the equivalent – a cute, appealing and memorable cartoon character with the right vibes. Sid the Shop is a starting point.

There are two age categories, 5 to 7 and 8 to 11.

Entry forms will be available electronically for wholesalers to print off or pass on to retailers electronically.

Objective: To engage retailers, parents and teachers in the MSYS culture, promoting the value of the independent located near schools.

== Prong two: lunchbox promotion ==

Healthy eating remains a crucial message for children and their parents.

MSYS will suggest that retailers who are engaging the local school with the Create A Character competition could also present a lunchbox promotion, either supplier or wholesaler supported or created individually by the retailer.

This prong will rest on the retailer’s initiative.

Objective: To engage retailers, parents, children and teachers on the value of the local shop by promoting the availability of healthy products at the local shop; to demonstrate to this audience the retailer’s interest in the healthy eating issue.

== Prong three: in-store school day ==

Find out what makes a local independently owned shop tick, and why it is different from the big superstore, about the pride of ownership which comes from an independent Features > Business, opportunities it offers for local young people, the reward of working in your own local community, and aspects of buying, marketing, admin and training.

By invitation from the retailer, small parties of pupils from the local school visit the shop. MSYS recommends parties of six with a teacher or classroom assistant.

Independent retailer Lesley Brown says that the local head teacher saw an in-store school day as an opportunity for a practical lesson in weights and measures fitting in with the school curriculum.

Objective: To impress on parents and schools that the local independent retailer is not doomed and is a viable, enterprising and valuable local amenity, run by local people who share community interests.

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=== details on the website ===

The artwork for the entry forms for the Create A Character Competition will be available electronically from IMA Group Ltd. Request by email from emma@ima-group.co.uk or download from the website [http://www.myshopisyourshop.co.uk]

Wholesalers can use this artwork to print entry forms for retailers with a customer base which includes local schools.

Competition rules will be posted on the website. There is no central supply of POS or entry leaflets.

The Lunchbox Promotion is discretionary according to wholesalers/retailers or individual initiative. Ideas will be posted on the website.

The In-Store School Day is a local activity for individual retailers who see the initiative as helpful in their own local context. Ideas will be posted on the website.

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=== MSYS NEWS OUT NOW – READ ALL ABOUT IT ===

The MSYS campaign has its own newsletter – the second issue of MSYS News is out now.

Produced in-house, the new edition covers the campaign in detail, giving examples of how suppliers, wholesalers and retailers participated in NIW in June.

A comprehensive picture feature covers activities at retail level during NIW. Articles describe the full impact of the week and the strategy behind it.

An eight-page publication, MSYS News is published to demonstrate the campaign’s progress.

The second edition is available to ProWholesaler readers – request your copy by email from IMA Group, contact emma@ima-group.co.uk

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