Get out, be involved, make connections, and change a culture.

Tyler Stock - Blackstrap Media

Tyler Stock

Outreach Development Intern at Blackstrap Media

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In Communitas Veritas

When building your brand, the importance of community outreach is second to none in terms of marketing strategies. Why is community outreach important for my business, you may be asking. First, we can look at all of the positive benefits that come from community engagement. Then we can look at how these benefits can lead to brand building, potential client opportunities, innovative ideas, and creating a work environment that is healthy and thriving.

Remember that it is always important to raise awareness and increase brand recognition within your company. GET OUT and be involved with local events and activities, it will give both clients and the citizens of the community a more complete idea of what your business offers both on the sides of business and community interaction. This transparency is the awareness that your company will need to bring in new clients and increase retention rates. Along with increased awareness is brand recognition. This concept will ignite itself through the built awareness. It is proven that if someone understands something, they are more likely to talk about it. This will lead to more people talking about your brand and building recognition within the local community. What could be better than interacting with your community and increasing productivity along the way!

More trust equals more collaboration. BE INVOLVED and let your community know that you care! This strategy will allow your business to make more professional and non-professional connections that will increase your social network and create tons of new friends. Increasing your social network means more opportunity for collaborations between both clients and members of the community. This will be tangible evidence that the bottom line is not always the most important thing in building a business. More collaboration also means innovation and the continued growth of cutting edge ideas.

Community involvement creates a relationship so MAKE A CONNECTION. This will allow you to make endless amounts of opportunities and friends. You get out what you put in. This is also true for your company. Getting involved in community activities is a great way for your employees to feel involved. Another advantage of being involved with community activities is having the unique opportunity to represent whoever you want. Whether this is an under-represented minority, the local demographic, fans of your product or service, or simply the community from a holistic standpoint, you will have the ability to build the brand you imagine.

Having a battleground for new ideas can CHANGE A CULTURE. While community engagement is not specifically directed towards product design or service ideas, if done correctly this can give your company insight to what the people want in these regards. Community events and outreach is a good arena to test out possible new products or services. This will give your company an inclusive picture at what the people want and don’t want out of products and services. Instead of wasting money and launching a new product or service without research, these events can give you feedback to these ideas.

Additionally, another perk of community outreach is getting your employees involved. When running a business, it is just as important to keep employees happy.  While some individuals may not have any attraction to altruistic actions, I think it is safe to say that all employees like to be heard and feel a part of something. Community engagement events give your company and employees the opportunity to be involved in something important outside the office space. This involvement can lead to new ideas from individuals that may not have had the platform at work to influence ideas, and the ability to give your employees a sense of belonging. This will go miles in terms of employee retention and overall happiness in your company.

One of the main skepticisms of community outreach is how can I balance community outreach with the common need of still driving production?  My answer for you is this: engagements will work for themselves. Through the elements I've discussed, your company is creating trust, a loyal base, and a community that both supports and represents your company and brand as a whole. While this is not direct monetary value, the impact that you have created is worth so much more than just money. This outreach has created a connection. When thinking about community engagement and how it can increase productivity, your engagement is the exchange that drives branding, creates awareness, produces new relationships, harbors new ideas and thought processes, and gives your employees another sense of purpose. While many business owners might fight the idea that community outreach doesn’t have any direct monetary value, I challenge you to change the culture and ask yourself Can my company really afford to not engage with the community around us when this is potentially the next big client?