One form of marketing too often overlooked is community activism. Much like corporate sponsorship, community activism can allow you to be a part of your community through giving and sharing. Companies engaged in activism often establish themselves with a business plan for a business such as marketing, restaurant, retail, internet, foundations, research, public organizations and universities, computer stores, clothing stores, daycares, or any other type of business.
Community activism can be a double edged sword. For a win-win: contribute to your community on the least politically-hot concept you can. Meaning, being an activist against cutting down old growth may not be the best event to get involved with unless your business is involved with forest preservation. Otherwise you run the risk of alienating possible customers who don't agree with your particular brand of activism. Remember, a business is there to make money and supply services, not to be a soap box for political rhetoric generally. Some businesses can be politically active, but most find it best to take a neutral stance so as not to possibly ward off part of their potential market. This should be a addressed in the company's internal business plan as early as possible.
Community activism and business planning do not have to be at separate ends of the spectrum, but they should be clearly defined on what the marketing objective is before engaging in the activism. The dedication of resources and time to the cause should be paced by the return on investment to the business. If not, it's better suited to be a passion pursued outside the business name rather than within it to avoid the resource drain on the business and its parties. If putting this in the business plan is too much to consider, call a professional business planner at the number above to discuss how this unique marketing angle can help.
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