Bye bye credit crunch Christmas
I remember in my early years in PR, we used to spend much of November and December getting Christmas card, calendar and bauble design competitions organised in schools, working closely with b2b manufacturers to increase their engagement with young people and the wider community.
When the credit crunch hit in 2008, for a couple of years companies put the brakes on this kind of activity, as head offices increased people’s targets and these “non-essential” activities paled into insignificance as companies focused on retaining their market share.
Fast forward to today and it is refreshing to see that these types of community engagement activities have started to come back with a vengeance. Businesses realised that whilst times were really tough they neglected their community and stakeholders and it did have a negative impact on their business. They hit challenges they’d not faced before, which included:
- They struggled to get planning approval, against public pressure.
- They received negative publicity in local papers as morale and motivation within the workforce dropped low.
- Once the upturn started again, they found it hard to recruit again, as they’d lost their relationships with local schools and colleges.
- They experienced bad relationships in their community – with people feeling that the organisation had ‘left them in the lurch’.
There are many important “business reasons” why community engagement is good for an organisation. What we do here at Dragonfly PR is to help our clients to get the most out of their community engagement activities - and that starts with careful planning. From this, we devise a community engagement strategy that ensures that we maximise publicity and put our efforts into what will generate the most impact and engagement in the community. By the end of the year, we have a month by month community engagement plan for the year ahead that we present to our clients. This means they can see exactly what we are planning for them and we can work proactively every month to ensure we meet the organisation’s set objectives.
Examples of community engagement campaigns we have running this Christmas include:
- Running a competition with a local school to design a calendar on an environment theme.
- A client is donating a Christmas tree to a local school and community centre.
- A charity appeal asking the community to design the Christmas lights to be displayed on a factory roof.
- Sponsoring and serving up Christmas dinner at a local charity for homeless people.
- Holding a charity/community Christmas fair on a client’s premises.
- One of our clients is sponsoring and switching on the Christmas lights on for a local hospice.
So it’s bye-bye Credit Crunch Christmas, you are hopefully a dim and distant memory and hello to better community engagement in 2017!
If you are looking for any ideas on how you can better engage with your local community, contact our community engagement team on 01709 300130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.