Social marketing: helping out in your community .

On the occasion of the announcements for the Barrie Business Awards, I’m not only thanking my lucky stars (!) but frankly going over what I did to enable my one man studio become a ‘double finalist’. After moving to Barrie just over a year ago, Graphic Design in Barrie is already being recognized for outstanding community involvement in two competitive areas: Marketing & Promotions and SOHO (Single Office – Home Office) Business Excellence.
 
How did that happen??
 
When I moved my graphic design firm to Barrie little did I know of the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit of the city, or of the friendliness of the local business community.
 

The third annual Great Canadian Breakfast is an opportunity to come together over pancakes, strawberries and maple syrup to celebrate the vibrant entrepreneurial atmosphere in Barrie, Ontario. A check was presented to the sponsor's local charity, environmental tree-planters LIving Green.  Logo and invitation by Mike Beard. Photo thanks to James Krant.


 
The third annual Great Canadian Breakfast is an opportunity to come together over pancakes, strawberries and maple syrup to celebrate the vibrant entrepreneurial atmosphere in Barrie, Ontario. A check was presented to the sponsor’s local charity, environmental tree-planters LIving Green. Logo and invitation by Mike Beard. Photo thanks to James Krant.

 

Here’s 3 strategic things local businesses can do to be recognized in their community:

 
1: Network. Invite every business person possible for coffee. Then move business to the side of the conversation. Discover instead something interesting about each person, find out what and who they know, what you may have in common. In Barrie, every coffee spot is filled with business networkers. I started out started out here knowing only my real estate agent. This year I am filling in my second business card book. That’s about 400 local business people.
2: Make sure your charity work is heartfelt. Freely helping worthy causes is a must. It cannot be performed with ‘getting my name in the paper’ as the main goal. But if you think ‘I do all this work, and no one knows’, then step up. When the occasion arises to tell the story, don’t be shy. Publicity is usually good for the cause. Visibility can be rewarding for any local business that contributes time and effort to help those in need. Take a cue from the larger organizational charities and invent reasons for photo ops, contests, newsworthy events. Get creative!
3: Celebrate the locality. Document how the company promotes the city, how it compliments local initiatives or helps residents. Point out how the business fits in. Showcase worthwhile activities in a blog like my Adventures in Small Business Branding. In other words, make the community an integral part of the brand.
 
There are over 7,000 businesses in Barrie and of these, over 5,000 are companies with between 10 and 100 employees. This city is a busy hub of small business marketing. A perfect setting for a quality branding studio.
 
If you have a new or noteworthy idea about how to further your local charity or community cause, email me at mike@mikebeard.com

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