Governor Ned Lamont today announced the launch of Do Your Thing CT!, a new influencer campaign highlighting the dining, shopping, experiences, and other services that are unique to Connecticut.
A joint effort between the Office of Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Do Your Thing CT! takes a distinct approach by partnering with local influencers who create their own content promoting their favorite spots and activate their social networks encouraging residents to support local businesses.
Residents and visitors can participate by posting a video or photo of their favorite locally owned small businesses in Connecticut using the hashtag #DoYourThingCT on social media.
“With Do Your Thing CT! we are aiming to harness the immense power of our local influencers and their followers to give our small businesses – the lifeblood of our economy – a boost,” Governor Lamont said. “Thousands of our small businesses got even more creative and stepped up during the pandemic to keep delivering quality products and services and keep our economy moving. It’s our turn as a state to step up for them. We can make an enormous difference by going out to eat and drink, shopping local, going to the barbershop or stylist to get your hair done, at locally owned businesses. This campaign engages with entrepreneurs throughout the state in a way we’ve never been done before – showcasing everything they do in the community that makes our state so special.”
In addition to Spanish and English advertising on social, digital, and broadcast platforms, the campaign includes the launch of a website – doyourthingct.org – which features short videos of local business owners partnering with Connecticut-based influencers sharing their personal stories. The diverse mix of small businesses featured in the campaign are from all over the state.
Connecticut resident, food critic, social media influencer, and television host Daymon Patterson – better known as Daym Drops – said, “We still have an obligation to each other to remain safe. By doing so, we keep these businesses empowered to keep going. I want you talking about Connecticut and I want you getting excited about Connecticut all over again – doing big things right here in our own state.”
“I was able to open a new business during the pandemic,” Jay Rapaso, a true innovator and owner of Major League Barbershop in West Haven, said. In 2020, Rapaso launched Major Luxury Suites, a business model where each barber has a private space for clients. “You cannot get a personal feeling from online shopping. The heartbeat of Connecticut is the small business owner.”
“Small businesses did major things during a difficult time, and are now eager to welcome patrons,” Walden St. Juste, who opened Bro’s Dough Pizzeria in Hartford with two friends during the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, said. “We followed every guideline we had to in order to remain open. We’re just ready to serve the community.”
Lifestyle blogger, actress, and Connecticut resident Eva Amurri said, “What I discovered when I moved to Connecticut was how much true diversity, entrepreneurial spirit, history, and joie de vivre exist in nearly every corner of this beautiful state. Connecticut is so many things, is so rich with experiences worth discovering, and is filled with some of the most resilient people I've ever met. I truly couldn’t imagine not living here now, and I feel so lucky to raise my kids in the beautiful town of Westport and in an area with so much going on.”
The term small businesses refers to those with fewer than 100 employees. In Connecticut, there are about 80,000 small businesses and they employ more than 620,000 people – approximately 46% of the state’s workforce.
“Connecticut’s diverse small businesses did an incredible job facing multiple difficult challenges over the last 18 months,” Maribel La Luz, director of external affairs at the Department of Economic and Community Development, said. “They innovated and transformed themselves into takeout operations, for example, so we didn’t have to cook every meal. This campaign shines a light on that and asks residents to support those businesses that have been there for us this whole time. We also have new residents who are looking for stuff to do in their own neighborhoods. When you shop or eat out locally, you directly support your own community – your friends and neighbors.”
Do Your Thing CT! will run through October in various digital platforms, including streaming, social, and television.