I hate running. I think it’s boring and it hurts a bit. It does.

But I love the feeling afterwards and it is good for me.

While running, I do mathematics. Mostly, figuring out how many minutes I still need to run. Or, I think about problems. And suddenly, while running, I had a breakthrough in my EU research.

Thinking about the meeting

This time, I was thinking about the Communication Board meeting of MUV I had the day before. We had a discussion about how we can convince business owners to participate in MUV. It was difficult because we don’t have all the information ready for them as this is the first phase. So, some partners were talking about long term activation. First communication by print, organising a meeting, go for a visit and so on.

The project MUV is taking place in 6 different European cities. There are different approaches needed because each neighbourhood has a different scale and needs.

For example: Raful from Barcelona was talking about reaching out to 500 business owners while we in Ghent were focused on contracting five shops.

Thinking about the problem

While running I was thinking: how will we convince our shop owners and deliver what we promise? Because, as this research project is bottom-up, iterative & co-created, there is no proven track of return on investment for them.

The challenge is to make shop owners participate in MUV and donate rewards. This process is time-consuming. You need to make appointments, make a first visit with information, keep the fire warm, make another visit for the contracts and so on.  But there’s no time and I’m not a saleswoman. But I do love being efficient.

The breakthrough

So what kind of a procedure could work locally in Ghent? This was an open question resulting from the meeting. We needed a good & efficient approach toward the shop owners.

While running, I passed a park where gipsies were settling.  And while passing their caravans, I was thinking, how could you reach them with your communication? And I thought, it can only be done when you go & visit them.

So, then it hit me. The whole process of contracting local shops for the project should be done in a one-visit-stop. By that I mean you inform & activate them at the same time.

The visit is like an all-inclusive. We visit the shop, inform them about the project, tell them what’s in it for them, show an example, explain the contract, make pictures for the project, ask the incentive, add them to the dedicated Facebook page and leave them with a flyer with contact information.

So, I want to organize two days filled with these all-in-one visits. I think this approach will be the most efficient way for our neighborhood and in this phase of the project.

Is it against all rules? Or could this work?

Well, only one way to find out.

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Karen Soens is a communication strategist. She loves strong coffee & communication. She believes that communication should be designed from bottom-up. She’s a part-time researcher at LUCA, School of Arts for MUV. She has an agency ‘De Bosduif‘ that designs communication plans for social profit organizations.