Importance of an Effective Community Relations Program

There are a few powerful relationship realities between different community groups and associations. Constituents are asking more questions; decisions are taking more. Very smaller forces, occasionally folks, can stop very large ideas and projects. Corporations and associations must prove their validity, honesty, and trustworthiness daily. Most public discussion and debate, on issues that matter, are focused more on humiliation, humiliation, and blame-shifting than on achieving beneficial advancement.

In the present environment of public suspicion, gaining and maintaining public approval to function is now a continuing, top management concern for most businesses and large organizations. Community relationships are efficiently preserved primarily through involvement with various publics and audiences within the community and your business. It’s frequently said that community relations are”public relations at the local level” or that it’s”living right and telling them about it.” It has also been explained as”keeping and having friends in the community.” These statements get into the center of community relations, but they’re oversimplified definitions when the very important mission of community relations is examined clearly.

Community relations is the function that evaluates public attitudes, identities the assignment of a company with the public interest and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance. Like public relations, community relations is something a company has if this simple fact is recognized or not. Unlike public relations, community relations is usually restricted to the local area. Business organizations concentrate on their own community connections for good reason.

Organizations can exist and make a profit just so long as the public enables them to exist. The concept that American free enterprise is present only to make a profit and is accountable only to its own official household has diminished to a fantastic degree. It’s quickly given way to the realization that there’s also a duty to the community where the organization is located and it is a good idea for the organization to satisfy this duty of its own free will.

While there’s no universal agreement on the specific benefits obtained, organizations conducting planned programs cite many tangible and intangible benefits from their community relations efforts. In actuality, many organizations which are fine companies and outstanding corporate citizens don’t understand the benefits to which their virtues entitle them. They overlook the payoff because they don’t tell about it. Communication to key publics the benefits derived from audio community relations further enhances an organization’s overall program.

Attitude surveys reveal that neighborhood workers traditionally know little about businesses in their cities and the important part each plays in the civic applications of the cities. Like so many particular disciplines within the practice of public relations, the work done by community relations professionals is extremely intricate. And yet, if you leaf through the overall public relations texts, you won’t find much discussion about”community relations.” It is likely because community relations activities emulate the work done by public relations professionals on a regular basis (in other words, carefully researched, targeted communications to achieve an organizational

As a result, the authors probably did not think it necessary to break out community relations activities from the work that is done daily. Basically, what great, successful community associations do is involve the individuals, businesses and associations who reside, work and function from the surrounding community in business activities. The citizens and groups that populate its geographical operating area are essential to its performance.

The employees reside in the area; they very likely grew up there. Municipal, county and state governments set the parameters where the firm may operate. Because of this, a successful organization must always establish knowledge and support for its products, services, and rankings among those publics important to its own welfare. And you only get it by implementing good public relations principles over time.

In the spring of 2002, Aquarion acquired four New England water utilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire. The sale included some 177,000 people, or 64,000 homes and businesses, to the approximate 147,000 homes and businesses or 500,000 people to whom Aquarion’s water utilities already provided water. To effect a smooth transition for new and existing Aquarion Water Company customers and other components, Aquarion devised and implemented a significant internal and external communications effort to educate each

of the firms’ publics of pre- and post-merger activities and generated awareness of and standing Aquarion within an industry, environmental and community leader. As well, the business proposed and executed an education plan to not only form a stronger bond with the clients of Aquarion Water Company, but to deal with various public, community connections and critical water supply problems in the business’s service areas of both Massachusetts (Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Oxford, and Millbury) and New Hampshire (Hampton, North Hampton, and Rye).

The issues – local control, water prices, water distribution, and regionalization – are interrelated. As one issue is addressed it affects others and so complicates Aquarion Water Company operational and public relations challenges. Furthermore, Aquarion’s need to call upon community leaders, state lawmakers and other opinion leaders were hindered by the predecessor company’s traditional low profile. Management wasn’t invited to become part of the fabric of the communities in which it operates or to actively communicate with the media. Also, help with water supply things was almost non-existent.