Clean Currents rewards consumers who check in at local businesses that are customers of the electricity company’s green power. This initiative is helping to enhance the image of both the power firm and its partners.

Contest with Cash Rewards Helps to Boost Local Marketing

How can you create a buzz around a local environmentally-friendly business or company? By setting up a contest that rewards customers and using social networks to attract people to the real-world initiative. This is the approach taken by Clean Currents, a Maryland, U.S.A.-based supplier of green electricity, which decided to set up a contest – ‘Green Passport DC’ – along these lines in the District of Columbia (DC). The basic principle is simple. The electricity supplier has selected 48 ‘destinations’ – such as taverns and cafés – which use the wind power it supplies through the grid. Each time a person checks in at a local participating green business through the Facebook Places application, using his/her smartphone, s/he earns cash. This contest is intended to capitalise on the so-lo-mo (social, local, mobile) trend. "Green Passport DC is about creating a community of individuals, businesses, and non-profits working together for a cleaner, greener environment," explains Gary Skulnik, Clean Currents President and co-founder.

Check in with your smartphone

In order to take part, anyone resident in the Washington, DC/Maryland area must first set up an account on the contest site. Once registered, s/he can use a smartphone to scan the QR code of a local participating green business on the Facebook Places application. Each time s/he checks in s/he earns $2.50 up to a maximum of $50. Each check-in also increases the contestant’s chances of winning the $2,000 grand prize. And in addition to attracting custom to local environmentally-friendly businesses and shops, this marketing effort also serves to support local non-profit organisations which are partnering Clean Currents.

Social solidarity initiative

The way it works is that Clean Currents not only hands out rewards to the contest participants each time they check in but also promises to make a matched donation to the non-profit organisation of their choice, thus adding a philanthropic dimension to the initiative. Plus, each contestant has a chance of winning that grand prize. And of course, as in every marketing communication project, the participants are all meanwhile helping to enhance the company’s image, as Gary Skulnik underlines: "Our goal is to generate buzz [...] through social media for our business customers, increase support for our non-profit partners, and further cement Clean Currents’ image as the area’s most innovative green energy company".