in Work and Play
Building a Community
Oftentimes in business, we recycle certain philosophies and reinvent them with new names. For example, branding has been a cornerstone of marketing and commerce for decades. The truth is that we are fickle creatures, and shiny new things occupy our interest.
Similar to branding, community building is a topic businesses are rallying around these days. Building a community has a nice ring to it because it sounds more sincere and empathetic than branding does. But make no mistake, defining your business by the markets you serve, and weaving yourself into the fabric of those communities is at the heart of marketing and business success. Community building takes time and remarkable understanding – both of which are embodied in great marketing.
Consider how you're building your business community and compare it to the communities that define your life. Are you intimately involved in, and a part of that world? Are you interacting on the things that matter most to them? Either way, we thought we'd share a few thoughts on how to engage and become an integral part of the worlds that are important to your business. Here are three ways to become part of your community today:
1. Friends and Family: We live in a world where we only buy from those closest to us. The truth is that you're not going to buy from a business that you don’t know or don't trust implicitly. The bottom line is that connecting with your closest family and friend’s trusted networks is a good place to start for any business.
2. Volunteerism: We recently read that the founders of thriving, small to mid-size businesses in operation for at least three years share an interesting characteristic. These companies allocate more than twice the percentage of their profits to charity than many of America's largest companies. Sixty-two percent of these founders believe that "giving back" makes their company more prosperous, according to the "Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund" survey. In addition, 70 percent didn't wait for their businesses to be successful before they started giving back to their communities, the survey said. You can surmise that the real work of giving back provides greater rewards than you think. The side benefit is that it deepens your relationship with your community and makes your business stand out in a very positive manner.
3. Content: Speaking of buzzwords, content marketing is all the rage. Content can be an amazing community-building tool. To be specific, the process of creating relevant content is similar to the sales and marketing process. You must listen attentively, and then present information that corresponds to your audience's interests. This we know: People like to read about themselves and the things they identify with. Your ability to create and present thought-provoking stories, data and ideas will have a profound impact on your community building success.