Establishing your brand is so much more than raising awareness through marketing and promotions. It also involves making internal and external decisions that solidify your commitment to your company's core values.
You can reaffirm your corporate mission and values through tangible acts in the surrounding community. What better way to share your success while gaining exposure for your business?
While marketing your company's good deeds and community involvement should not be the main reason that you get involved, it doesn't make sense to let it go to waste. If your company already has a Facebook page, Tumblr or Pinterest account, consider sharing photos of your latest volunteer or community service effort with the rest of your network.
For firms that are more socially active, it could even make sense to add a community engagement page to your website that details what organizations or local groups you support. In addition to showing prospects and clients that you have interests and passions outside of the firm, it is also a good way to build awareness about your favourite causes (and maybe even send a little more support toward those charities and organizations).
How do you give back to the community? What ways do you turn your passions and interests into something positive that benefits others? Do you use community service as a means of engaging your employees, clients and the broader population?
In a piece for the American Express OPEN Forum blog, Jacob Harper explains how running community events or getting involved in a cause can also be a networking opportunity. He notes that success can be achieved by contributing "to the success of other businesses in your neighborhood, town or region." Those partnerships don't have to be limited by industry, either.
Establishing coalitions with other companies in your area can create a network of support while also making it easier to engage the larger community. Harper gives the example of a clothing store he once owned, which was involved in a monthly downtown event called the Friday Night Artwalk. While it was initially conceived as a way to drum up business for local art galleries, he and other establishments realized it was also an opportunity for them to bring in more customers.
Harper's experience is a prime example of how engaging with the community, not just your own clients, can be a mutually beneficial undertaking. Seek first to understand how you can help the people around you, and later think about how those good deeds reflect on your business' reputation.