Get on Board with Local Community Involvement

Some businesses utilize run-of-the-mill, standard procedures to serve clients. Accountants, auto repair shops, law firms and dry cleaning services all deliver essential services to the community, but few of them stand out from the crowd and communicate a unique and compelling brand.

Fortunately, if your business lacks inherent curb appeal, there are a variety of ways to pique your customers' imagination and inspire the formation of a relationship with your business.

Your business can align itself with a cause. What time-sensitive or social topics are developing in your community? Does an underserved group or demographic need an advocate?

If you own a car repair service, for example, you could donate a percentage of the business revenue from auto inspection fees to a transportation service for aging adults. Your law firm could align itself with an important class action issue. A few weeks of online research and reading local publications will help you identify a project to begin this phase of your community engagement. Vet your ideas with friends, valued clients and colleagues until you decide upon one that fits. Do not worry about attaining perfection on the first try.

It may be only the first in a series of initiatives, and does not need to encapsulate your business' future, but can be used to test the waters of community involvement. It may require time to discover the issue that most resonates with your company and your target buyer. A brief survey that asks brand ambassadors or frequent buyers about the issues that they care about can help you narrow the field.

Identify a leader in the social advocacy issue you have an interest in and pitch an idea about a potential partnership. Meet with them to clarify the details and coordinate marketing efforts.

Nonprofit agencies are familiar with sponsored programs and donations, and will have suggestions for an arrangement that will enhance your business while helping the community.

Use the initiative as a topic for a series of blog posts, an email marketing campaign and promote it on social media channels. Plan the local and web marketing campaign with a professional company to ensure the release communicates a message that corresponds with your business goal, such as a more prominent position on Main Street or a new, more visible presence on the web.