Bolder Thinking Blog

Citi and Mastercard lend a hand to small businesses

July 23rd, 2020 | Rachel Arndt

To raise funds for small businesses, the two FSIs are encouraging consumers to shop at small businesses.

Citi and Mastercard want consumers to help them help small businesses in a time of dire need.

The bank and card network are asking consumers to help them build up an emergency relief fund for small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, with the #AllForSmall campaign, they’re asking consumers to use their Citi Mastercard at small businesses; for each purchase made, the two FSIs will donate $0.05, up to $1M to nonprofit Start Small Think Big.

The campaign is part of a trend. It comes after American Express launched Shop Small, a campaign that incentivizes spending at small businesses, and PayPal announced a $5M fund for grants to programs (including Start Small Think Big) that support Black business owners. 

Citi and Mastercard humanized small business by highlighting individual entrepreneurs in promotions for #AllForSmall. 

Unlike American Express, Citi and Mastercard aren’t offering consumers any cash back on purchases. As such, they’re making more of an emotional appeal to get consumers to act. 

Source: Comperemedia Omni

What we think

Brands are figuring out how to get consumers to care about local businesses.

While a sizable portion of consumers is making an effort to support local businesses, there’s an opportunity to get more consumers to act. That can be tough, though, given consumers’ concerns about their own finances. To that end, American Express’ approach may end up being the more successful, since a financial incentive could make consumers more likely to act than an appeal to the goodness of consumers’ hearts. And that action, in turn, could spur the kind of card use American Express and and others are craving right now.

Rachel Arndt

Rachel Arndt

Rachel Arndt is a Senior Research Analyst, interpreting cross-channel marketing and consumer trends with a focus in telecom.