Tag Archives: Community

Rattlesnakes and Mullets?

As a business-school student, I dreamed of the day I would graduate and work in the glamorous world of advertising…where my days would be filled with photo shoots, wardrobe selections, high-profile events with clients, and TV commercials at exotic locations; then reality HIT!

During the last two years, I have been tasked to search for local events for my clients to sponsor. Frequently, I come across the most peculiar events that surprisingly hundreds of folks attend annually. And, I would ask myself, “Why on earth would you attend a rattlesnake festival, mullet (as in the fish, not the hairstyle) rodeo or agricultural festival for fun?”

The fact is, these events are deeply rooted in the backbone of American small towns. Typically, these events are aligned with the history and prosperity of the town, and are a huge source of pride for its residents.  As a “city-dweller,” I have definitely grown to appreciate the warmth of the small-town communities as they unite and support each other during the planning and execution of these events.

The truth is, during these hard economic times, many consumers are no longer enamored with the big shiny commercials or sleek catchphrases; nor do they aspire to have more than what they can truly afford. Consumers want honesty, trust, and the support of their community. Consumers want to know that they are getting value for their money and that the brands they choose are truly invested in the wellbeing of their fellow neighbors. And what better way to support a community than by sponsoring and investing in the local culture in order to build a long-lasting relationship with the residents of that town.

I cannot count the numerous “thank-yous” and appreciation notes my clients have received from local governments and residents for our support of their town; it means a lot to them.

So, I may not be on a TV commercial set by the beach, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that I’m  not only helping my clients advertise their service and products…but, more importantly, I’m helping small communities maintain their culture, which is more than I could have asked for in a career.

— Karla Chambers, Account Executive

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Community service and the small business

I believe in serving the community where you live and work. Not everyone can do this, because the pressures of everyday living provide little or no time. However, as a business owner, I think you have an obligation to do so.

For many years, I did not know how to go about it. I always thought my business was too small, or I didn’t know the right people. Which organizations do you pick? How do I know they would even be interested in my contribution? Speaking of contributions, add in the fact that I always thought you had to write a very large check – which I could not support. So I stayed frozen in limbo-land, periodically feeling guilty about my lack of community support or involvement.

That is, until I got involved with Atlanta’s Partnership Against Domestic Violence, where I was able to offer the services of my advertising agency to help the non-profit develop a communications plan. Then it struck me – I don’t necessarily have to write a big check to be noticed – I can provide the services of my company and perform community service in an in-kind way.  That’s not rocket science, and a lot of small-business owners already know this, but it may be news to some.

For the last few years I have been contributing agency time and talent to a few worthwhile community organizations. And now I serve on the board of some of them – where writing a check is expected.

The larger message is this: once the community provides an environment where your business can thrive, you owe it to give back. It’s not just money that talks – it’s time, talent, and belief that you will make a difference.

— Rena Kilgannon, Principal

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