Sow seeds in the community
While there are many profitable business ideas and avenues to successful business growth that get greater attention, a too-often overlooked approach is that of focused community engagement. Encouraging customer loyalty and positive brand recognition through active participation and work with the community is a powerful way in which your company can strengthen connections to the consumer public that it depends on and, by this, promote growth through the development of goodwill, brand awareness, and a positive reputation.
How does community engagement promote business success?
Let’s get straight to specifics. In what ways does community involvement improve the prospects of your business?
Boost brand reputation and brand awareness: Companies that make efforts to pursue initiatives that actively involve and make a meaningful contribution to the community will see an uplift in brand visibility and reputation. Starbucks, for example, through the Starbucks Foundation, has backed several social initiatives, such as supporting communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and donating to crisis relief organizations around the world. Such transparent, proactive displays of responsibility to the community will strengthen belief and goodwill towards your business, and make an association with trust and fairness in the mind of the consumer.
Targeted marketing: Community service and engagement provide your business with unique marketing opportunities to connect with your target market. By sponsoring local events or participating in charity initiatives, businesses can directly engage with potential customers and through this also showcase their products. A great example of this can be found in Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., which provides free transport to stores and medical appointments for a key demographic of their business, senior citizens.
Building customer loyalty: Displaying investment in the locality nurtures a feeling of connection to your brand in the consumer public. Active involvement in the community and participation in socially responsible actions forms positive associations for your brand and will see your name spoken in conversation in a good light, leading to an improved online reputation, word-of-mouth recommendations, and even advocates for your business.
Making new connections and growing your business: Involvement with the community generates organic opportunities for your business to connect with local establishments, businesses, organizations, and influential persons. Connections like these can grow into collaborations, business partnerships, and cross-promotion, increasing your brand’s visibility and reach.
Supporting the people in your community
A strong example of the impact of contributions to the community can be seen in the coming together of businesses, individuals, and the wider community in their efforts to support and provide for those affected during turbulent times like crises or ongoing wars.
To serve examples of the recent contributions, Airbnb has set up the OpenHomes initiative to provide free temporary accommodation to those displaced by crises and has extended this scheme to house 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, financed through the collaboration of Airbnb, its hosts, and charitable donations. Whereas the team of PissedConsumer.com, since the onset of the Russian invasion, has been participating in different donation programs to raise funds to provide essentials for the Ukrainian citizenry and also the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Such support for citizens that emphasizes unity is promoted and potentiated by organizations like the Top USA Awards, an event founded by Ukrainian nationals, Diana Hetun and Taras Lavrovskyi. The platform gives recognition to businesses contributing to the US and communities of their origin. Along with recognitions, the event itself fundraises for community causes (50% of proceeds from Top USA ticket sales will be donated to the CashForRefugees fund, and 100% of what’s raised through the auction will go to United24, a charity organization supporting Ukraine).
While important contributions to a universally recognized worthy cause are crucial in their own right, they also raise the profile of the business behind them, enhance the public perception of the brand, develop and solidify community links, and stimulate new potential for growth.
Seeing your business blossom
For a company, getting involved with the surrounding community through socially beneficial projects is not only a way to answer corporate social responsibility questions, but it’s also a fruitful path to generating new business.
And the advantages branch out in all directions. Active involvement in projects that benefit the local and wider community will reward your business with a bolstered brand reputation, positive chatter, greater exposure, loyal customers, and the forging of fruitful connections with local businesses and community groups.
So, to gather all this up into a summary, investing in the community is not just an admirable altruistic endeavor, see it also as a strategic approach to positioning your business at the forefront of your industry by leveraging community links that build the foundations of sustained growth and development.
Thought leadership and a bold business leader unafraid to take steps into unchartered territory can prove to be a competitive advantage here, so reap wisely and you’ll surely sow abundantly.