New Survey Finds Chalk Art is the Most Powerful Marketing for Local Businesses

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Chalk art motivates customers to visit a business 46% more than print and 10% more than photos

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“Chalk art plays to people's imaginations. It creates possibilities without expectations." - Cory von Wallentein, CEO, Adored

Local businesses have long struggled to put their limited marketing dollars toward the efforts that will yield the highest returns. Turns out the most powerful marketing they can create may be an unexpected one: chalk art on a chalkboard. Consumers who viewed chalk art were 46% more willing to visit a cafe, restaurant or bar than if they had seen a print advertisement and 10% more willing to visit than if they had seen a photo of that establishment’s food. The findings are the result of a new survey commissioned by Adored, Inc., of 1,000 consumers from across the United States.

While chalk art significantly increased the willingness of consumers to enter a local business, it also had an impact on the consumer’s perception of authenticity. Those surveyed were shown either a print, photo or chalk art advertisement containing the same product and messaging for a cafe, restaurant or bar, and were then asked whether that ad increased the authenticity of that business. Only 56% of those who saw the print advertisement and 67% of those who viewed the photo thought that business was authentic. However, 74% of those who viewed the chalk art believed in the authenticity of the establishment.

These are critical findings for a business’s bottom line because authenticity has an impact on sales. Sixty-three percent of customers are more likely to buy from an authentic brand, according to Bonfire Marketing. Additionally, consumers are much more likely to become brand ambassadors for companies they deem authentic.

“Great chalk art represents passion,” said Alexandra Horton, owner of Cafe la Reine in Manchester, New Hampshire. “If a business is willing to invest that kind of creativity and commitment to their advertising, then I know that is going to translate over to their atmosphere, experience and food.”

While it’s no surprise that chalk art is more impactful than print content, it is interesting that it rated higher than even Instagram-filtered photographs. There is no denying the popularity of photos. In 2015 alone, it is estimated that one trillion photos were taken. Yet, photos and advertising food have always had a complicated relationship.

“A beautifully-staged photo creates an unrealistic expectation of what a customer is actually going to receive,” said Cory von Wallenstein, CEO of Adored, the company that commissioned the survey. “Consumers have been trained to not trust that type of photo. This can impact a business’s authenticity. Additionally, if you see a photo of food you have a visceral reaction based on whether or not you are hungry. Potentially alienating 50% of your audience isn’t the best marketing strategy. Chalk art plays to people’s imaginations. It creates possibilities without expectations.”

The holy grail of marketing is influencing customer behavior and chalk art has the ability to do just that. After viewing the print, photo and chalk advertisements of ten local businesses, those surveyed were asked “Do you want to go there now?” Once again, chalk art prevailed, with 56% agreeing they wanted to go there now, while only 38% of those who viewed the print ad and 51% of those who saw the photo felt the same way.

“Chalk art has the power to reach all people,” said chalk artist Gianna Masella. “And a well-designed chalkboard is a piece of art first and an advertisement second. In a world that is becoming increasingly corporate and homogenized, chalk art represents something unique and something local. It is what people are looking for, so I’m not surprised it is resonating.”

While chalkboard art increased positive attitudes toward businesses, it also drastically reduced negative attitudes. For example, 21% of those who viewed a photo disagreed that they would want to go to that business while 9% disagreed that it was authentic. The numbers were even higher for print content in which 29% disagreed that they would go there and 14% disagreed that it was authentic. Of those who viewed chalk art content,16% disagreed that they would visit the establishment while 5% disagreed that it was authentic, marking a significant improvement in reducing negative attitudes over both photo and print content.

“It's great to see a study prove the power of great chalk art. I know our customers love it, and the study proves it,” said Mike Greenberg from SubCulture in Denver, Colorado.

Read the entire report here.

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