While I was away on our summer staycation with my family, we visited Settle, a lovely town nestled in the Yorkshire Dales. Think Postman Pat countryside – cafe’s, railway stations, old brick schools and dry-stone walls, the Rev Sharpe. The works. Every two years they have a Flowerpot Festival where all the business and residents build creations out of flowerpots to adorn shop windows, gate ways, walls – even on the crag overlooking the town. See a selection of the masterpieces above. They’re really creative and clearly a lot of effort has gone into them! (If you’re still on hols and nearby, the festival runs for the whole of August)
So how does this all relate to us in the social business space? It’s all about COMMUNITY. The whole town gets behind it – from the cafes in the square, to the kids toy shop, the market building, the building society, but also the residential houses too. Why? Because it’s fun. It attracts visitors – including us – who come, wander around and spend some money in the town. It generates good feeling among the town and it makes it even more memorable in an area of beautiful towns and villages. The community gets together and plans appropriately. There’s camaraderie among the participants. Nearly every shop we went into wanted to talk to us about it, and asked if we’d seen the X down the road, or the Y over at the church etc. Well worth a couple of hours and a round of teacakes and hot chocolates!
So where am I on my own social business journey? This sense of community is at the heart of it. We’ve launched a recruitment drive for our own Social Ambassadors group – Im calling it our ‘Club 140’. I want to get those early adopters into a community – give them some early help and guidance and set them on their social way.
We’ll be holding launch events over the next few weeks to garner some of that camaraderie, a reinforcement of my ‘permission to operate’, some training around our Social Media policy and a look at employee advocacy benefits. I have a guest from the business coming to each session to show how they do it. We’re just working on an employee advocacy platform with our global colleagues so I’ll be giving the Club members a sneak preview. Exciting times!
The next challenge is content and sustainable resourcing for the future! One for my post-summer to do list!
Thanks for dropping by – If you have any comments or suggestions, let me know below or email keith@social-business-blog. How do you generate a sense of community where you are?