The pawning industry remains relatively misunderstood by much of the public, but SMART Financial is working to change that perception. This campaign leverages the media to share business stories and build relationships, showcasing SMART Financial’s positive impact on the community. As a result, SMART Financial opened 63 stores in two years and changed the communities’ prior perception of the pawn industry.
The business challenge
SMART Financial grew rapidly from day one and wanted to share its meteoric expansion. As one of the most successful leaders in the industry, Thedford knew that changing the public perception of the pawn industry would help attract the best employees to his stores across North America, which would attract the best customers. With better customers, he'd enjoy increased sales and attract investors to acquire, integrate, and improve more stores.
This campaign began with giving John a voice in The Orlando Sentinel. He became part of its Central Florida 100, a group of influential leaders in the community who give their opinion on newsworthy topics, establishing him as a trusted thought leader. Next, the campaign developed relevant, newsworthy ideas to share with the national industry media and local media in cities SMART Financial stores were located. This media attention helped dispel common misconceptions about the pawn industry and increased awareness about SMART Financial’s positive impact on local neighborhoods.
Through this campaign, SMART Financial achieved a series of accomplishments:
- Grew from 0 to 63 stores in 24 months
- Changed the public's perception of the pawn industry in communities where SMART Financial had local stores and operations
- The campaign generated 395 news articles in less than three years.
- The campaign created nearly 175 million potential impressions and over 58,000 shares on social media.
- Awarded Ernst & Young's Florida Entrepreneur Of The Year
See related: Spreading a heroic story nationally