Marketing and Your Community-Business Partnership Part 2 – How Do We Do It?

The first part of this two-part Help Sheet looked at why community groups and businesses should market their community business partnership.

But if it makes sense to market your partnership, the next question is: "How do we do it?" That question is the focus of this Community Business Partnership Brokerage Service Help Sheet.

Marketing your Partnership – Community Groups

Part 1 - Marketing your Group to Attract a Business Partner

Finding an effective partnership often means a community group has to market itself before it gets actually gets involved.

Your community group should demonstrate its need or desire for a community business partnership, and show how it would be an attractive opportunity for a business – what the business would gain from a partnership with their community group – for example: exposure, recognition, improved staff morale, etc.

Community groups should not hesitate to say they are seeking partnerships with business.
A couple of ways your group could do this include:

  • Submit your group's name and details to the Matching Service, which is part of the Community Business Partnership Brokerage Service at the Our Community website. The site allows community groups looking for a partnership to provide details about who they are what they do and the types of partnerships they are looking for.
  • Market it on your group's website. For examples of this type of marketing, refer to the Heart Foundation or World Vision websites – both of which advertise that they are looking for partners.
  • Put a notice in your regular group newsletter which goes to group members or, preferably, further afield.  When doing this make it clear what you are after in terms of a partnership, and include contact details, etc.

Part 2 – Marketing your Partnership to the General Public

As discussed in the first part of this Help Sheet, marketing your partnership can have great benefits for your community group.

But for many community groups, spending large amounts of money on marketing may not be a viable option – or even something they want to do.

That being the case, there are plenty of other ways your group can effectively market your partnership:
  • Word of Mouth:
    • Word of mouth – broadly defined as an unpaid form of promotion where the name and actions of a body or business are spread through conversation or verbal referrals - is the fastest and often the most effective form of marketing.
      • For a community group, word of mouth marketing can be great – it costs nothing and won't stretch the budget, and is pretty easy to do. Even your business partner can spread the word through this method of marketing.
      • An effective way to market through word of mouth is by namedropping, or mentioning the name of your partner in conversations with clients, members, contacts and the like. For more information on how to namedrop, refer to the Namedropping Help Sheet at the Community Business Partnership Brokerage Service.
  • Including the business' logo or name in your group's publications, stationary, speeches, annual reports or on your website, etc.
    • Even if it is just a statement saying "Proudly in partnership with ……", it is visible and works well.
    • Logos can be featured at your group's premises, on drink bottles or T-Shirts at your partnership events, or on banners or signs.
  • Promoting your partnership at your website.
    • This could see your community group publicising sponsorship packages or partnership options for your group, or
    • Featuring a dedicated page for your partnership and its activities.
  • Marketing your partnership through the media.
    • This can be effective and isn't necessarily expensive, particularly if it is in a free listing in the local newspaper, or through a story on a successful partnership activity.

Marketing your Partnership – Business

Some businesses may have a little more money or a few more resources which they can use on marketing their partnership. Again though, if your business remains on a tight budget, there are still other ways you can market your partnership with a community group effectively:
  • Advertising is the most powerful tool for building awareness of a business and its core activities.
    • A well-directed advertising campaign can reach a wide audience and can build an image of the business that is community-minded and this can elevate the degree of preference or at least the business' brand acceptability, meaning it has a great potential to attract ethical investors or socially responsible customers.
    • Ways a business could advertise its partnership include:
      • Financing advertisements centred around the partnership they are in with a community group, and including their community group partner's name and logo.
      • These advertisements could feature in newspapers – local or state – or in journals or magazines aimed at specific audiences or special interest groups, as well as on radio or on television.

Other ways to market your partnership include:
  • A corporate sociability report:
    • This type of report works by communicating the business' activities and investments in the community or to a community group.
    • This can be advertised on the business' website, through promotional brochures to given prospective clients and investors. It can also be a component – and an important one – of your business' annual report.  
  • The use of your partner's logo on signs, billboards and displays, or on your business' website and in-house publications.
  • Regular updates via articles in your company's in-house publication or on your business' noticeboard.
  • Press kits
    • When launching a new partnership initiative, a press kit can include recognition of both partners.