Community-benefit ventures recognize the importance of marketing, branding, advertising, public relations and business development strategies as vital tools to build upon successes and connect their stakeholders.
One critical perspective we encourage our social entrepreneur clients to revisit continuously is their role as advocates employing business models and strategies in an environment of quality, effectiveness, trust, creativity, responsiveness, and accountability to their communities. This helps groups move past a defensive “aw, shucks…” perception of themselves and their work, towards a more enthusiastic “oh yeah!” enabling them to think critically and confidently about communicating their internal needs and external challenges.
Reviewing and revising your social enterprise image through a strategic marketing framework requires active use of your strategic plan to help gauge your existing activity and align business goals with informed expectations among all interests working towards shared success.
This holds true across many communications challenges you will encounter throughout your social venture growth– such as attempting to promote value in the community; establishing unique identity; improving name recognition; positioning services against other alternatives; and attracting support among key audiences (e.g. funding, media, etc.).
So how, then, to begin all this?
- Start by stopping to look at, listen to, and learn from your clients, partners, and supporters regarding the needs, concerns, and experiences of the communities to be served.
- Think about the information you already share within your colleagues and partners, requests for funding you’ve issued, and efforts to educate your community offline and online.
- Consider what you know to be important and why; the ways in which you convey those items and messages; who you aim to reach; and what effect or response you expect.
Communicating your social venture success doesn’t require trading off priorities if your team commits to a business culture with social purpose, and a social conscience with business savvy.