Aberdeen Journals’ social media “power hour” – part of the North-East Now campaign – has received an incredible response from local businesses.
The power hour, which took place from noon to 1pm, required Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire businesses to post a picture of themselves at their business holding up a sign which reads #northeastisopen.
It involved the Evening Express, Press And Journal, Society and Original 106 Twitter accounts retweeting every tweet posted by the businesses within the one-hour time slot, to promote as many of them as possible.
The power hour was arranged as part of the North-East Now campaign, which aims to shine a light on local businesses which have been significantly affected since the lockdown began in March.
A total of 69 businesses took part – and the hashtag #northeastisopen was also trending in the UK.
Jamie Hutcheon, owner of award-winning Aberdeen-based chocolate firm Cocoa Ooze, said: “I think anything that highlights local businesses is incredibly positive, and the power hour idea was fantastic for grabbing people’s attention and doing just that.
“Hopefully it opened a lot of people’s eyes as to what is open and available in the north-east. I even came across a few local businesses that I haven’t heard about before, so it’s clearly worked.”
Lynne Duthie, co-owner of Aberdeenshire gin firm Esker Spirits, was eager to participate in the power hour.
She said: “The biggest change for us has been the increase in online sales. We set up our Esker Shop via our website last year, and we have seen our orders at levels we would expect in the lead up to Christmas.
“When the team and I heard about the power hour, we knew it was something we wanted to be part of. It’s a lovely way to tell the world that we’re open for business.”
Neil Sime, managing director at Blackford Craft Distillery, said: “There’s no denying the impact of Covid-19 in recent months, and for us it has taken our business in an unexpected direction.
“Having solely focused on spirits previously, we discovered that we were in the fortunate position to able to make hand sanitiser to help support local key workers.
“The power hour was a fantastic opportunity to improve awareness of our wee distillery and create a buzz for all independent businesses as the lockdown eases.”
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “This has been a fantastic start for North-East Now and the message that has come through loud and clear from our local companies is that they are here and they are open for business.
“There are many more, not least in the hospitality and tourism sectors, who will be reopening their doors in the weeks and months ahead, so the hub is only going to continue to grow as a resource for everyone.”