By Chris Hopkins,
Senior Vice President, Aggregates and Mining, The Saint Consulting Group
Most companies “contribute” to the community, but are they really involved? Is it enough to take a sponsorship page for the local high school basketball team, or sponsor a youth sports team in town or even donating a bench in the town square with your company’s logo on it? We don’t think so. While all these efforts will create goodwill among some people in town, will they allow you the vehicle to get to know your neighbors or more importantly for them to get to know you as well as the aggregate business?
Most companies will think nothing of sponsoring a little league team or another youth sports team in town. What does that get you? In all honesty I could not tell you the last three little league teams my son was on. I know they all had corporate sponsors and the company name was on the shirt but to us they were the Rockies, Tigers and Orioles. How do you change that? One way is to coach or have one of your employees volunteer to coach or at least assist with the team. This provides you the opportunity to interact with each set of parents and become more than a forgetful name on a shirt. You now have the opportunity to engage in conversation and describe what you do and what your product is used for, the schools, the homes and roads.
Most kids just love trucks, especially big trucks. In the past year I brought a Cub Scout troop to visit a local quarry. The parts that they loved best were the trucks and loaders. A great way to make a name in your community is to adopt a grade of a local school. This would involve an annual tour of the facility and possibly a classroom presentation when the students are learning about geology, rocks and minerals. Parents and teachers will accompany the students to your site, and it gives you a home field advantage to discuss the industry and how it effects the daily life of everyone one there. I will tell you this when we did out quarry tour, it was the parents who asked all the questions.
Many companies participate in a community volunteer day. To make the most of that day, initiate a project. Have your employees work together to rehab a local park or build a large sand play area in the local park. These could be named after a prominent child advocate in the area providing you with a media opportunity.
One area where I believe the industry needs to improve in blowing our own horn. For example when you receive an award from the NSSGA or OSSGA or NMA or a state association, highlight that to the community. This is especially significant when you win an environmental award or a safety award. Local papers will print these articles and these awards, putting your business and the industry in a very positive light.
Coming Soon: Part 4: What am I doing this all for?”
(Chris Hopkins is senior vice president for aggregates and mining, The Saint Consulting Group, email email@example.com , phone 615-656-3794)