What’s better than building a brand? Building a community around a brand or organization.
When an organization becomes part of the community it operates in, it is able to both feed into and feed off of the community spirit. The results are trust, growth, and innovation through collaboration.
Community engagement is even more critical when talking about branding in the realms of government or community agencies.
But, how can government agencies better speak to their audiences and brand themselves in their communities? Organic, magnanimous engagement and targeted marketing are the keys to success.
“The challenge government campaigns face is that they often need to target their messages to a specific audience. Most traditional media options are broad-based and involve a lot of coverage that is missing the mark and involves a lot of waste,” explains Don Winter, CEO of EMG Media, a multi-media advertising agency that specializes in helping government agencies better reach their target audiences.
1. Encourage User-generated Content (UGC) Online
A government agency’s presence on social media is a direct portal to the community. Why not “show” instead of “tell” when it comes to the efforts your agency is making in the community?
Actively encourage partners and clients to submit stories, photos, and other tidbits showcasing the difference your agency is making. UGC can be the best way to make your Facebook or Instagram page a “living” resource for the community.
2. Out-of-Home Advertising
Everyone is vying for their audience’s attention on social media, but how are you reaching people when they’re out in the community?
Out-of-home advertising is a relevant and effective way to reach segments of your local population as they’re out in the community living their daily lives. Better yet, these types of campaigns allow government agencies to be extremely targeted.
“Our media allows us to reach any market segment in the US. by DMA, Metro, down to the zip code level. We can focus on the highest density of the desired audience – by ethnicity, income level, education level, etc,” explains Don Winter.
For example, consider making your agency’s name a part of the daily coffee routine for countless community members by using something called “coffee sleeve advertising.”
EMG Media suggests implementing branded coffee sleeves and cups to be distributed by hand to local coffee shops and delis. With a recall rate of 80%, coffee sleeve advertising campaigns can brew big potential!
3. Sponsor or Host a Local Event
You don’t need a huge budget to build goodwill and recognition within your community! The easiest way to get your name in the community is to sponsor local activities.
Your local office of parks and recreation can be a great resource for learning about local sports leagues, camps, or festivals that are actively looking for sponsorships.
You can also pave your own path by hosting feel-good events. Consider something as simple as “ice cream in the park” that requires little more than a tent, a cooler packed with ice cream bars and popsicles, and some business cards.
4. Don’t Forget About Local Media
Make a list of local media personalities and reporters serving the specific market your government agency operates in. Reach out to them via email to introduce yourself, and offer to send them upcoming news tips that are relevant to the local market.
You can also invite them to visit your agency in person to cover some of the big, exciting things your staff is working on for the community! Local media contacts are often happy to form relationships with government agencies because they are constantly in need of material that’s relevant to the community.
It’s noisy out there for members of your community, both online and offline. Make sure your message resonates by backing it up with the locally based engagement needed to turn heads.
As a government agency, the people you serve and collaborate with can be some of your best resources for boosting your message.