We're really big on community here at StorageMart.
With locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, "corporate social responsibility," or a business becoming involved in the local community, is an important step in connecting with our customers. One of the ways we accomplish this is through an organization called Charity Storage. Existing customers appreciate seeing that some of their money is going to be reinvested into their communities instead of simply filling our coffers. Potential new customers often need something to differentiate one business from another.
Take your favorite restaurant, for example.
What makes it special? Sure, the staff is probably good and the ambiance satisfying. Ultimately, however, you likely prefer one restaurant over another because of the taste of the food. That's an easy one. Now, think of your favorite laundromat. Do you even have a favorite laundromat? Probably not, and that's the point. The less ubiquitous your company is, the more you need to stand out to potential customers to entice them to give you their business.
And this is why corporate social responsibility, or CSR, matters to you. A laundromat, similar to a self storage company, is going to draw customers for two primary criteria: location and price. Most folks do not consider extra features offered at one laundromat or another; they just want a cheap one close to home so they don't have to commute across town with their dirty clothes. A company that publicly acknowledges the services and, yes, even charities that it provides to the local community, is already going a long way towards winning over potential customers.
StorageMart President Cris Burnam discusses these benefits with the folks at Triple Pundit in his recent guest article there. He emphasizes the importance of being sincere in your outreach and not simply throwing money around in order to shine the spotlight on yourself. However, finding a cause or program about which you or at least your business can be passionate about supporting can generate immeasurable influence over your potential customers. People tend to be distrustful of faceless corporations. However, they do like honest business owners with integrity and genuine concern for bettering their local community, and a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility can be the edge your company needs to outshine your competitors.