Community marketing, much like cause marketing, is an advertising tactic many brands use to increase their sales while making a positive difference in the local community. It often consists of a for-profit company partnering with a nonprofit to attract new customers while supporting a great cause. It can often take subtle forms, such as when a grocery store partners with a local food bank to increase donations via a percentage of the customer's grocery bill.
Companies that practice corporate social responsibility have a more favorable impression among 96% of global citizens. They will be trusted by 94% more consumers and see an increase as high as 93% in brand loyalists. Even more, 78% of Americans believe companies must positively impact society beyond making profits, and 73% of them believe companies can increase profits while improving their community's economic and social conditions.
Here's how to connect with the local community and use cause marketing to develop community connections.
Distinguish Between Your Local Audiences
Succeeding in cause marketing requires you to know and distinguish between your local audience. Every community is diverse, and to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. You need to learn who they are. Determine which groups respond to which things and how those differences matter in your promotions and messaging.
Familiarize yourself with demographic breakdowns, as well as data like wealth and income levels, because you'll advertise to people differently depending on the results. The more consumer data you have on your local audience to distinguish groups, the better you can adapt your marketing.
Develop Consistent Local Branding
Once you have your audience identified, defined, and properly segmented — you need to develop a simple, consistent brand message. Ensure that your local customers have a generally uniform view of your brand and know the key elements to share when promoting your brand's offer and good deeds with friends and family. After all, your brand lives through your customer's perception of it, which can be significant.
Fortunately, you can accomplish this by developing brand guidelines to base your marketing on and designate a person in your organization to make sure all teams know the brand and adhere to it. Consistency is significant to the success of local branding, especially since 87% of customers think brands should work harder at delivering a consistent experience.
Give Back to Your Community
Giving back to the Portland community is another significant cause marketing element that is good for your brand and Portland residents. Doing so will help you develop rich community connections by partaking in charitable causes — whether you donate goods or have employees participate in volunteer drives — that positively impact the Portland community.
You can accomplish this by hosting charitable events, partnering with local nonprofits to further demonstrate your care and investment in the community, and showing your support through your brand's charitable donations. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you're making a significant difference for the cause yourself — consumers will judge a company that asks others to donate but doesn't contribute, as well.
Create Local Partnerships
Creating local partnerships is another excellent way to promote your business in the Portland area and connect with the community. You can do this by partnering with other organizations that align with your vision or with a local news agency or media partner to help develop these connections. These groups have a deep understanding of your community and are industry experts that can carry out your vision.
Great Nonprofits has a compiled list of local nonprofits that many Portland businesses can partner with, including the Children's Cancer Association, Oregon Environmental Council, Transition Projects, and Operation Nightwatch Portland. Alternatively, you can partner with a media partner to ensure your partnership is the right fit and your cause marketing messages are reaching the right audience.
Have an Online Presence (And Control It)
Having an online presence is a necessity nowadays. You need to develop your website and social media channels to develop your brand and engage with local audiences. You also want to establish a local SEO presence to help customers find you and help you develop a metric to track connections with your local audience. Consider how and why people use technology, since 88% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit or call a store within a day, and 46% of all Google searches seek local information.
In the end, your local community is your core customer base — so you must show your support and contribute to their overall wellbeing and health. You must forge deep relationships with them to have a long-lasting and successful business. Community marketing does this and more by helping you help others in your local area!