The Dos and Don’ts of Community Engagement
Since 1998, Peninsula Beauty has tried to brighten Mother’s Day for every mother whose child is a patient at the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, which treats thousands of children from all over America. But it’s just one community involvement program run by our 13-store business. We’ve turned it into an art where our clients, our community, our team and our business all benefit. We don’t get it right every time, but we do get it right most of the time and so here are our do’s and don’ts of how to make it work for everyone.
Don’t be cynical.
If you are looking at charity work or community involvement just to get headlines or build goodwill so you can sell more product or services, your clientele will see right through you. Giving back is good for many reasons; make sure you are doing it for the right ones.
Do decide your strategy ahead.
We are inundated with requests every day, and I’m sure your teams are too, so it’s important to plan what you will support and how much you can afford to give – and stick to it.
Don’t just wing it on the day.
When planning consider what needs to be done to make every event a success. How much manpower will it involve and how much will it affect ticket sales on that day? We have everything well-planned in advance so everyone knows exactly what they have to do before and during any activity.
Do follow the passion.
Our link with Lucille Packard began when my son was very ill and was treated there. The staff were so amazing and I’m eternally grateful. Once our crisis was over I immediately started working on ways to help out, and I’ve never tired of it because the hospital means so much to me.
Don’t dictate from the top.
We encourage our teams to come to us with their own ideas of what to support or get involved in. This way they have more invested in the success of any activity and are much more motivated from day one.
Do go local.
If you link with local charities and events, your clientele will also be more supportive. It will mean more to them if it is within their experience, so link up with your local schools, support your local homeless shelters, give back to hospitals.
Don’t narrow it just to charities.
We love to get involved with local initiatives as they can be fun for everyone, broaden our appeal, introduce us to new clients and inspire our teams. We always take part in the Dancing in the Street party in San Jose or the Food Fayre in San Francisco.
Do make an effort.
Make any activity visible by dressing up the business. Bring out the red carpet, light up the entrance, pin up the balloons so that everyone can see what you are doing.
Don’t miss opportunity.
The benefits of community engagement to your business can be far-reaching: goodwill, reaching new clientele, and team motivation. But it can also have a direct impact on sales if you are strategic. Bounce back vouchers make sure everyone comes back again, so be generous with them, while giving out samples as gifts can get clients hooked on new products.
Do remember those selfies.
Take lots of photographs and share them on your social media, and tag your clients. Contact your local press and bloggers and invite them down to share in the fun. If they don’t make it, send in your story and your pictures. Make sure everyone knows about your events before and after.