Running a successful business is all about building trust and fostering a healthy relationship with your customers; with local communities, it’s no different. The main goal here is to create a state of mutual symbiosis that will prove beneficial for both parties. That way you give back to the community whilst at the same time furthering your own interests, boosting both brand awareness and increasing your market recognition in the process.
If you want to find out how you go about accomplishing this feat, just keep on reading.
Free skills training programs are not only a great way to give something back to the community, but also an awesome way to screen and hire new recruits. These can be anything from neat internship programs for college students and high schoolers to job-related workshops for pretty much everybody.
That way you create loyal brand advocates in key areas in your local community; for example, out of students. Namely, word spreads quickly around college campuses. Students that enrolled in your program will want to tell their peers all about your brand, boosting brand awareness amongst the more college-educated members of your community. As a result, you can expect better job applicants in the years to follow, as well as more loyal customers to purchase your products (or services).
Sponsor a Youth Sports Team
The local youth team has more to offer than just raw talent and star players — it comes with a huge crowd as well. Publicly supporting your local sporting team reinforces your bond with the locals on a more personal level; who isn’t sentimental about their home team (especially so if their kid is on it)?
Show everyone just how good a brand you really are and sponsor your local youth team’s kit and provide them with all the necessary equipment they need. That way you get tons of (free) publicity for a rather small investment. Moreover, you can even get the respect of your own employees if their children happen to be on the team; a win-win scenario for both parties.
Do Some Environmental Work
Local communities take great pride in keeping their surroundings clean and eco-friendly; this is especially true for rural areas. Same as you wouldn’t just barge into someone’s home with muddy shoes on, you need to pay good attention to how your business affects the local environment.
For instance, Jack Brown, the co-founder of Invest Islands, is aiming to turn Lombok Island into a second Bali whilst keeping the landscape free from any pollution that might mar its natural beauty. As such, the role of Jack Brown in Invest Islands is to create a project that will be entirely eco-friendly to these idyllic locations by finding ways to reduce waste and educating the locals about the perks of sustainability.
All in all, the local community will greatly appreciate your gesture as there is nothing more commendable than keeping their homes safe from the taint of modern capitalism.
Host a Public Event
If you’re not operating from Antarctica, chances are your local community has a few public events — festivals, for instance — that take place in your municipality each year. Consider hosting these events (or at least sponsoring them) to up your brand recognition amongst the local populace. Get a few banners and T-shirts with your company’s logo on them and spread them around.
The main goal, however, is for your brand to be physically present at the event itself (by the use of stands or booths) for that unique opportunity to interact with your local customers.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the presentation; be sure to bring some goodies to engage your target audience and get some positive vibes going.
Donate Products or Services
Now, depending on your type of business, you can supply your local community with relevant products and services directly. For instance, if your company deals with manufacturing clothes, consider donating them to the local homeless shelter; if you’re in the food industry, provide your services to the local schools, etc. You get the idea. This will not only get you the respect of the locals, but you’ll also start an avalanche of word-of-mouth marketing in the community. According to a recent survey, 92% of consumers trust their peers’ opinions over traditional advertising.
So, go out there and make sure your local community has something (positive) to talk about.
In the end, it all comes down to sincerity. Your philanthropic ways won’t fool anybody if you don’t really put your heart into it. Find things that you are really passionate about and work on making a change (for the better). As a result, the community will love you, social media will praise you, and your competitors will hate you.