One afternoon, I decided to head to the East Village to find a fun outfit for a wedding. I went to at least ten different stores and noticed the same thing: it was very quiet. So I asked a friend who owns a store, “how is business going?”
And she said she is starting to answer honestly to people who ask her.
“It’s the slowest it’s been in seven years.”
She shared how other businesses are feeling similarly and how grateful they are for the new hotels coming in because the majority of shoppers are from out of town.
While this is certainly not happening at every store in the East Village, it is a theme that is more common than not.
The story in our community is that the East Village is thriving. That we need to mimic it in downtown and the suburbs. And while we care deeply about the growth of Des Moines, how do we sustain what exists right now and help these businesses that are struggling?
Whitney and I want to see Des Moines thrive. We both care deeply about the people, the businesses, the causes and the connections.
So we decided to create a new opportunity this community has never seen before: The Hummingbird Project.
We are bringing together some of Des Moines’ most influential content curators to create buzz for businesses, events, projects, and everything in-between. Whether a business is launching a new product line or a nonprofit is hosting their 10th annual road race, we have a committed group of 50 men + women who are blogging and using all sorts of social media tools to influence decision making of friends, family, and acquaintances.
So many of our decisions are made because of what we see online. Whether it’s reviews on Google or a friend responding to our question on Facebook about where to eat downtown, what we share makes an impact.
Influencer marketing is on the rise and already happening with big brands and mega influencers.
What we are creating is a micro influencer program. We give opportunities to our “hummingbirds” to strategically promote and lift up local businesses and experiences. Think of this as another marketing + public relations tactic that creates buzz and visibility.
We get the right people together to create long-term storytelling or one-day promotion through social media. It’s an “everyone-wins” strategy through conscientious collaborations and innovative touch points.
Des Moines gets buzz, hummingbirds get opportunities to create content (and get perks of course), and businesses win.
To get the ball rolling, we brought together about 15 men + women who are already promoting Des Moines things and gave them a project: share a One Sweet Kitchen cookie through your own unique lens on social media and tell the story of Des Moines, the cookie, and/or your location that is true to you.
Below showcases a handful of the creative ways our hummingbirds have curated content with their cookie experience.
We caught up with Brittney from One Sweet Kitchen after shamelessly promoting her cookies and what happened? More followers and more orders from people she didn’t know.
The Hummingbird Project is simply another tool we can use to help our community prosper. Our hummingbirds are some of the most authentic, creative, generous, passionate champions of Des Moines.
These aren’t people with mega followings; these are everyday people who are committed to storytelling and lifting up what they believe in.
We are looking for more hummingbirds, agencies, and businesses to partner with so we can get more people out into this amazing city to experience all of things Des Moines has to offer. Whether you’re a homeless shelter looking for more volunteers or you have the biggest production coming to town (umm Hamilton anyone?!), we are here to elevate what you do.