Community relations is an area of public relations referring to the various methods companies use to establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships within the communities in which they operate. From non-profit organizations to schools and government agencies, strong relationships with the community are more important in 2021 than ever before.
When a business takes on the role of improving the wellbeing of the local community, the organization’s public image improves, employee morale increases, teams feel more connected and the local community develops a loyalty towards the business. Beyond creating mutually beneficial partnerships, strategic community relations efforts may also lead to notable media opportunities.
Read on to learn why it’s more important now than ever for your business to invest in community relations.
COMMUNITY RELATIONS GETS YOU NOTICED
Whether your company is expanding to a new city or you’re trying to attract new customers, ongoing community relations campaigns help your brand achieve high visibility. From urban renewal projects to creating scholarship programs for underserved students, the local population will soon take notice of what you’re doing and what your brand stands for. With the economic devastation created by COVID-19, companies investing in community relations have more opportunities than ever to contribute meaningfully to organizations and local populations.
ATTRACT THE BEST EMPLOYEES
Community relations and support can take many forms, including employee participation. When a company holds a strong reputation of offering community support, it gives employees a reason to be proud of the company they work for. This increases loyalty and may help decrease turnover rates. Corporations such as Zappos attract highly qualified new talent due to employee programs such as flexible work schedules and incredible volunteer opportunities. According to HuffPost, 61 percent of millennials stated a volunteer program would be a factor when choosing between two potential jobs with the same locations, responsibilities, pay and benefits.
GENERATE NEW LEADS
A small company may also generate new business through contacts and leads it develops through community relations efforts. These contacts could make it easier for the company to obtain financing for expansion, find promising new locations, acquire new clients or gain favorable consideration in terms of ordinances or even utilities. To generate leads, Salesforce recommends letting customers do the talking for you. Ask your community relations contacts for referrals and let them tell their friends and family about you.
WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND
Good community relations can also be beneficial in times of crisis, such as a fire or a plant closing. As disaster strikes a business, the local community will generate support and rally around the affected employees. Picture a local restaurant that does so much for the community. Perhaps they donated food to a charity, sponsored a local baseball team or made sandwiches for hardworking first responders. Now imagine this same restaurant is at risk of going out of business due to COVID-19-related mandates and closures. The community will be much more willing to rally around the restaurant and make large purchases in support of the owners and employees because they gave back to the community.
With COVID-related challenges constantly emerging, an investment in ongoing community relations efforts will prove mutually beneficial for your business as well as the local population. With a plethora of well-established contacts, The Vox Agency is here to make connections with non-profit organizations and their boards of directors, as well as a wide range of community influencers to develop strategic relationships and campaigns. Click here to get in touch.