In today’s day and age, consumers expect and demand that the companies they support give back to the communities where they do business. Consumers are actively making buying decisions based on how a company addresses societal issues and will spend more with companies that share their beliefs.
That’s why it is so important for your company to create a community relations strategy that demonstrates your commitment to making a difference in the community.
Community relations, also known as corporate citizenship or corporate social responsibility, refers to the various ways companies build relationships and contribute to the well-being of communities in which they operate. Effective community relations programs reflect your company’s values and are established through philanthropy, volunteerism, environmental leadership and/or ethical labor practices.
More than just a way for your company to make a difference in the community, a community relations strategy has a direct impact on growing your business.
“Community relations is the number one way to organically increase brand awareness and catapult your business to the top of your industry. Clients want to feel good about who they do business with, employees desire opportunities to give back, and companies benefit when local communities thrive.” – Justin Langston, Two Men & A Truck
Community relations efforts can be directly tied to increased customer retention and brand loyalty, stronger employee engagement and productivity, and better employee attraction and retention.
- 86% of consumers say they’re likely to purchase from purpose-driven companies. Source: 2019 Porter Novelli/Cone Purpose Biometrics Study
- 74% of employees say their job is more fulfilling when given the opportunity to make a positive impact at work. Source: Research from Cone Communications
- Turnover dropped by 57% in employee groups most deeply connected to their companies’ giving and volunteering efforts. Source: 2018 Benevity Engagement Study
Successful community relations strategies include one or more of the following activities:
Philanthropy: Donating to local nonprofits and community programs that share your company values demonstrates your commitment to making a difference in the community. Another popular way to leverage philanthropy is by matching employee contributions to nonprofits.
Employee Volunteerism: By creating volunteer opportunities for your employees, you are donating their time to important causes in the community and nonprofits are receiving free volunteer work. This leads to greater employee satisfaction and builds your brand as a community leader.
Environmental Leadership: Your company’s efforts to reduce your carbon footprint, recycle products, and limit your negative impact on the world show that you care about improving and preserving the environment. These community relations activities build your reputation as a strong environmental leader.
The more you demonstrate you care about your employees, the more your community will respect you. Ethical labor practices treat employees fairly and ethically, without discrimination and ensure employees are given competitive salaries and benefit packages.
“Companies are only as strong as the communities in which they serve. So it’s all about working together! Communities welcome and thirst for trusted partnerships with resourceful companies that share their commitment to give their time and energy to better the communities where they live and operate.” – Chuck Mitchell, Oklahoma Gas & Electric
Community relations activities don’t need to be complex to be effective, but they do need to be an integral part of your overall business strategy. Not only are you demonstrating your leadership by investing in the community, but you are investing in the growth of your employees and the success of your company.
Community relations activities are always a win-win for both your company and the communities you serve.