We’ve already established that creating a strong brand voice with a consistent message is the key to making sure that consumers recognize you and know exactly who you are and what you stand for. Once you have that going for you, your next move should be to become as visible as possible within your local community so that you can be not only relatable, but stay in the front of your consumer’s minds.
Building solid, real relationships with prospects, your customers, your suppliers, and especially other business owners in the area is absolutely priceless when it comes to building your business and keeping it going as you compete with so many other businesses and national companies.
The members of your community are people who have helped you and supported you. They’re your friends, your neighbors, your customers, your mentors, your suppliers, and your allies. Investing back into your community is a great way to give back to those who have helped to support your business.
Why Community Relations?
As one anonymous chief executive put it, community relations “is food for the soul of the organization.” Anymore, it’s not just a strategic aspect of business for companies, but the long-term health of your enterprise.
In short, proactive, positive connections to the community translate into a boost to your bottom line. When you incorporate a commitment to your community as a part of your core business strategy, your benefits are twofold. Having your customers see you in a positive light and feel like they’re getting to know your company, personally, puts you in a better position in the market. On top of that, it’s a great way to attract quality employees, and retain them. Giving back to the community is just plain good for business.
Not only does it put you in front of customers, but it’s also great for networking. Meeting other like-minded business people in your area can open the door to developing relationships with complimentary businesses. These people could turn out to be some of your biggest advocates and allies.
Consumers often feel pressured by the growing increases in the costs of goods and services. When you’re able to show yourself to the community on friendly terms, it gives you a competitive advantage through social responsibility. Being out there can connect you to new people (like potential customers) and help you to become more familiar with your local marketplace. This can be especially powerful if your business depends primarily on the local marketplace for customers.
Being active in your community is a great way to positively and passively promote your business, getting the word out about your products and services. So what can you do to become more involved in your community?
- Support a sports team, either kids or adult.
- Partner with a charity to support one of their events.
- Offer your services at a local community event: run a party rental facility? Donate your tents for the fall festival.
- Connect with other business owners, community leaders, and customers by attending Chambers of Commerce, local networking groups, Mainstreet organization, and other local group meetings.
- Collect money to contribute to a charity event at your place of business. You can elect to either sell tickets for a local charity event, or put out donation boxes for one.
- Offer some of your workspace or business to a local charity for free for one of their events. Use your storefront, restaurant or office to host networking events or community meetings.
- Enter a float in local parades.
- Publish a helpful article in your local newspaper or magazine with your byline and contact information.
- Volunteer one of your delivery vehicles to be used for a local function.
- Offer free educational workshops for your church, library, synagogue, or other local organizations.
- Make donations to your local food bank, clothing drive, Toys For Tots, or other collection.
- Be a guest on a local radio or television program.
- Join, attend, and speak at functions hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce.
Networking With Other Businesses
You’re not alone in your community. It’s not you, surrounded by consumers only. Your community puts you in close contact with many other like-minded business people that are looking to make it, just like you. Each one of them has their own experiences across the board from general business sense all the way to more industry-specific concerns. Things like where to find a new supplier for your grass-fed beef, how to find chair rentals on short notice, where to get dress mannequins from. All sorts of things!
If you’re looking to make the jump from just a name to a name they can’t forget (and don’t want to), you should really invest a good chunk of your time and energy into becoming locally famous on a regular basis. They’ll be able to see that not only are you an expert in your field, but that you are someone who cares and is genuinely there to help. All you need is a little consistency and commitment. When you’re ready, give Clock Tower Insight a call for more directed advice on exactly how you can leverage your business’s standing in your community for even better results.