An Economy Struggling to Recover
A devastating earthquake hit L’Aquila, a city in central Italy whose economy depends mainly on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), back in 2009. The earthquake crushed the local economy and today, years later, L’Aquila is still struggling to fully recover from the damage. eBay sought to help businesses in L’Aquila rebuild and gain a new lease of life through its global online marketplace. eBay’s business objectives were to increase e-commerce penetration locally; to position eBay as a partner of choice for Italian SMBs; and ultimately to help humanise eBay’s brand in Italy.
Telling Emotional Stories
APCO’s team in Italy worked in partnership with eBay to develop a 360 degree, multi-channel communication campaign to tell the inspiring story of these businesses and help bring them back to life. We began by establishing a partnership between eBay and the Italian Retailers’ Association, Confcommercio, in order to recruit local SMBs to participate in the initiative. eBay then ran a two month on-the-ground training program in L’Aquila for 35 local SMBs to teach them how to sell online.
We gave these new eBay stores, and the inspiring stories of their founders, widespread visibility through emotional storytelling with pictures, videos and written content published on a dedicated page on eBay.it and all eBay’s social media channels. A banner and a doodle on eBay’s homepage, as well as an online newsletter, were designed to drive traffic to all sellers from L’Aquila.
APCO also launched an intensive media relations effort, which culminated with a national announcement timed for the earthquake’s seventh anniversary and a local event with the media, local government institutions (including the Mayor and the local Member of Parliament) and the sellers.
Bringing Businesses Back to Life
The campaign resulted in positive widespread media coverage in Italy with over 80 earned articles, including five cover stories, as well as over 20 stories in international media outlets. The broadcast coverage generated 78 million impressions. eBay recorded a +30 percent increase in active sellers from L’Aquila year-on year and there was an average weekly growth of 42 percent in sales volume on eBay.it among the L’Aquila sellers. Today, the adopted L’Aquila sellers continue to succeed on eBay.
Through emotional storytelling, this 360° communication campaign and multi-channel approach succeeded in humanizing eBay’s brand in Italy and positioning them as partner of choice for Italian SMBs.