There’s a shift happening in consumer spending and it has nothing to do with inflation. Studies show Millennial and Gen Z consumers are likely to prioritize their spending on local businesses, and many emphasize supporting those that support their communities. So what does this mean for local businesses? It means it’s time to take a look at their own models and find ways to build a better brand that resonates with consumers and communities. Fortunately, business owners have several tools in their toolbox they can use to help integrate themselves into their surrounding areas and flourish alongside their neighbors.

Be an event sponsor.

Whether it’s a local charity 5K run or the Indianapolis 500 Festival, search for opportunities that provide mutually beneficial outcomes. By doing this, you’re not only supporting a local organization and its event, you’re also increasing visibility for your brand within your target markets and communities. This effort is a great and at times inexpensive way to build credibility and authority around your organization while supporting fellow businesses that keep your communities going.

Expand your professional network and collaborate with other local businesses

As business owners, we all run into roadblocks in our day-to-day operations that can hinder growth opportunities. Chances are you are not the only one dealing with a particular issue. That’s why we must do our best to branch outside the four walls of our own companies and make connections with others to exchange valuable knowledge and help propel us all forward. These meaningful connections provide guidance in solving those problems in your workflow and also lead to attracting new clients or referrals.

Building strong connections with other local business leaders can also open up the opportunity for collaboration, partnerships and even referrals. This is another tool that can help build your brand visibility while tapping into another company’s target audience.

Give back to your community

While visibility is a vital business tool, it’s also incredibly important to also be involved in your community. A recent study showed that not only are consumers spending their money in local businesses, they also want to know that the businesses they are supporting are also backing organizations they care about. Encourage your staff to volunteer with local organizations that invest in the community.

Alternatively, raising money through partnership or matching donations to a local charity for a worthy cause shows your company’s investment in bettering the local area. Whether this is a company-wide effort or allowing team members a day off to donate their time to a group of their choosing, you’re showing your customer base that giving back to the community is important to your organization. 

Consumers care deeply about their communities and they want the companies they support to also be rooted to their neighborhoods. Whether it’s sponsoring a local event or donating your time or money to a cause, those actions don’t go unnoticed and should be part of any successful business strategy.

Jeremy Brown, founder and CEO of Nameless Catering, launched his business in 2014 as a flexible and affordable catering option in Indianapolis and Central Indiana and in and around Louisville, Kentucky.

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