It is a great these days to hear all of the great things that companies are doing in the community. Companies both big and small realize that branding composes a lot more than just social media impact and building a recognizable name. Community involvement is huge for business because it gives individuals, who may be your future customers, the opportunity to get to know the personal side of your business in a more relaxed environment, which in turn builds trust.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has now become a key consideration for many consumers who are deciding who to purchase from. According to Lindsay Lavine (Entrepreneur.com), “Companies that encourage community involvement distinguish themselves from their competitors, and see many benefits, including loyal customers and happier employees.”
Turner Construction in Washington DC is one of those companies that are leading the way in social responsibility. The Turner School of Construction Management has had a huge impact on communities nationwide since 1969, when the program was initiated. The program is for small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses, and it has become a great opportunity for Turner Construction to develop strategic business relationships and build its brand in the community.
The TSCM is an 8-week program, and this year it was hosted by the DC Small Business Development Center, a collaborative initiative of Howard University, the SBA and the District of Columbia small business community. The Turner Construction Company is not just having an impact in Washington DC, but in 30 other communities throughout the country where they have a local presence.
This is just one example of community involvement can be a plus for building you brand while at the same time building a strong bond with the community and other businesses.
So where ever you are in business, it you want to build a strong brand and customer base it is a good idea to incorporate community service into your business plan.
Here are three ways that you can quickly get involved in your community and have an immediate impact.
Partner with your local school system or Church. Both of these institutions are always in need of mentors, tutors and sponsors for community events, and in both cases you don’t have to commit to a large amount of time, money and resources. However the ROI can be tremendous.
Get involved you your local Chamber of Commerce. They have a wealth of information about the community and they are always looking for companies that are willing to network to coordinate special community events and fundraisers.
Volunteer and donate to local community events. It is a good idea to designate someone on your management team who is responsible for tracking community events from month to month. When your budget allows, it is a good idea to buy a small sponsorship or vending space at local event. This will give you the opportunity to expose your brand even more. Also many event sponsors like to do give away bags to those that attend the event. If you are unable to physically participate in the event, you can provide an item or two for the giveaway bag. Pens, refrigerator magnets, cup holders or anything with your name on it will work.
These are just three things, but there are so many other ways to get involved, and many small businesses are already on board and making things happen in their community. So if you are not in the community, you are not only missing out on building a loyal brand, but you are losing ground with your competitors.