Focus Discussion of the Week:
What are you doing this season to connect with your community? Holiday food drives, community events, donations, and giveaways — Katie Kolakowski and Chelsey Keenan are here to talk about corporate social responsibility, what that looks like for builders, and how you can use it in your marketing.
Hi, and welcome to building perspective with Matt Riley and Molly Elkman. We’re here and to bring value to you and your team by exploring all things, sales and marketing. All from different perspectives.
Chelsey: Hello, and welcome back to Building Perspective. You’ve got me, Chelsey Keenan, and –
Katie: Me Katie Kolakowski.
Chelsey: And this is our first time ever doing a podcast together, which is so fun. I can’t believe it’s taken this long for Katie and I to get on the same podcast. If you know us, we are always together. So here we are to talk about something really fun and to really a little more out of the box [00:01:00] than what we’ve talked about on previous Building Perspective episodes, but we are here around the holidays to talk about corporate social responsibility and talk about connecting to your community, how important it is as a company, especially a home builder to connect with your community on a level above just building your homes. So Katie, let’s just talk a little bit more about that, what that means to you and why you see connecting to community to be so important for our builders and builders everywhere. Not even our builders.
Katie: I think the biggest thing for me is that the building industry sometimes gets a bad rap and a bad connotation just because you’re building such large things. In the end you’re using a lot of resources, you’re using a lot of land and there’s sometimes a lot of backlash that goes along with that, depending on what kind of community that you’re in [00:02:00] and where you’re building.
So, to me it’s more important for a builder to do some forms of community service and give back to their local communities then even the little restaurant down the street. I think our builders pride themselves on building great homes, but I think it matters, what are they doing once the home is built and done?
Are they wiping their hands clean and walking away and letting their communities turn to who knows what. If they are that’s that’s not great. You know, people talk, it’s gonna be harder for you to build homes in the future. So if you don’t have sort of this pride to your company and what you do, and you know, want to create a better community.
Chelsey: Totally. I completely agree. And it’s even shown in statistics, obviously within the past two years, a lot of companies, not just home builders, but a lot of companies have come out a lot more publicly talking about social causes that they contribute to social causes that they volunteer with within their companies.
And there are [00:03:00] statistics that have come out since then that say more than 90% of shoppers worldwide are likely to switch to brand supporting a good cause. It’s not difficult to support a good cause. It’s not difficult to choose a cause within your company that you care about and choose a way internally and discuss how you’re going to help them out. Whether it’s monetary donations, whether it’s time, talents and treasures, everyone talks about those, but there are so many different ways in which to connect to your community and help and take it a little bit further that it’s easier now than ever to show your corporate social responsibility.
And I think that is hard to a lot of our builders come up to us and say, oh yeah, we did this over Thanksgiving. And we did a food drive. We did a food drive and all of our models, but no one knew about it. It was just a box that was put in their models. But when you put it out there, [00:04:00] you get more back, more people come into your models to donate more people are prone to, like I just said before, switch to brand supporting a good cause.
And so you may already be doing this. Builders out there, you may already be socially conscious and helping a cause that you feel passionately about. Now it’s the time to show it and show it to your audience online so that they can connect with you on a different level, other than just your home.
Katie: I think, you know, what we call, I don’t know what the correct term is, Good will marketing or whatever you want to call it.
Something like this we’ll even go further. And I hate to say this as a marketing person, but might even go further than, you know, your average marketing dollar spent on a TV commercial, or a sign or a billboard. Cause people will remember this more than a billboard or a commercial. So, I mean, if you’re not already doing it, I think it’s important to take some time and some money to do [00:05:00] stuff like this within your community.
And if you are showcase it. You know, you’re not bragging or saying, Hey, look at us, we’re doing what’s great. People love to see it. It’s what social media is, what our builder’s social media accounts are for to show, you know, who they are behind that logo. And even behind just the great homes that they build. A little goes a long way when I think it comes to charity and like you said, social responsiblity.
Chelsey: And what a better time to start thinking about these things then right now around the holidays. Today is November 16th and yesterday was actually national philanthropy day, but it’s always a good time to start thinking about how you can be more socially responsible within your brand and within your company.
There’s another point, aside from what we were talking about of just marketing and showing what you’re doing to your audience of potential home buyers. There’s another audience that can stay extremely engaged with you, if you boost your social responsibility, show your social [00:06:00] responsibility and that’s employees and your possible hires.
There’s a statistic that came out a couple of them I’ll share. Right? 67% of respondents to a survey and people looking for potential employment prefer to work for socially inclined companies. And engaging in socially valuable projects can reduce employee turnover by approximately 50%. We were just chatting about this earlier, Katie, especially right now, turnover is so high in companies.
And a range of different industries, but just this, this one thing volunteering a couple of times, or like we said, picking a philanthropy, showing that you care can really boost morale and boost people’s spirits within your company and have them stay with you longer.
Katie: Yeah, I think it definitely creates loyalty because obviously when someone works for you, they buy into who you are, you know, his [00:07:00] company and the products that you build and your services. But if there’s another layer to that, that can increase that loyalty tenfold, you know, just, just like you mentioned. I think too, this applies even more so I know you didn’t mention ages, you know, in those statistics, but I would think it applies even more so to be you know, the more younger gender, I don’t wanna say younger cause you know, all young anymore, but yeah.
The 20 year old people that are entering the workforce right now, you know, looking for that company that they, you know, feel, feel comfortable staying with longterm. If you can do some of these things that appeal to that demographic, I think it will help, you know, like we just talked about with turnover and everything.
Chelsey: Yeah. And so now that we talked a little bit about it, I think we should go into actual factual ways that you can help and things that you can do with things that we’ve seen builders do before. Even as we’ve been talking about this, I keep thinking about the book, The House That [00:08:00] She Built and how much The House That She Built has done for education within the trades and female empowerment and something that I know all of the women in Group Two are so passionate about.
And how it has really made me feel so much more empowered. And not that I wasn’t proud before, but so proud to be a part of Group Two, who is helping boost up women in so many different ways. And again, that no, we’re not planting trees every weekend, but it’s, it’s definitely an underlying cause that I’m passionate about now more than ever to.
Happy that we work for a company and an industry that is growing, where we can make a difference and we can make change. And we can kind of be a part of this social change for female empowerment. So you can go out and write a book if you, if you haven’t, if you don’t have [00:09:00] that on your plate, you could go out and write a book.
Just kidding. There are a lot easier ways you can be socially responsible and, Katie’s, Katie’s going to give us some right now.
Katie: I was going to say, if you do not have the bandwidth to write a book about right.
Chelsey: A whole bunch of different ways you can help out a curriculum, all those things. You don’t have time for that?
Katie: Yeah. If that is not on your plate, there’s definitely a lot of easier, but still impactful ways that you know, our builders have gone about this and really given back. One that stuck out to me was a builder, told me a couple of weeks ago, every I think it’s November in December, they would do a promotion where if you would bring, a toy in to donate your deposit, it was only a dollar.
Homer Homesite, whereas, you know, typically, I’m in. Right. It’s a thousand dollars, you know, or something like that. It was only a dollar. So it’s beneficial to, it was beneficial to the builder because again, it was a little bit of a [00:10:00] promo, so they got people interested, they got people in the door and it was beneficial to the buyer for a discounted deposit.
And it was beneficial to the community. Cause they’re collecting toys. I think it was Toys for Tots, you know, or something like that that we all know. So that’s just a great example of how it can kind of tie into all aspects. Everyone’s really a winner in that example.
Chelsey: Like we were talking about before I had a builder that for every home that was sold, they paired with an outside philanthropy and they planted, I think it was like 10 trees for every home that was sold.
Or I don’t know, maybe it was a hundred trees. I totally forget, but they planted trees and they planted trees for every home that was sold. And so then again, not only is your team a part of this, but that homeowner becomes a part of it too. And they feel as if they’re making a difference as well, when they’re buying their home and building their home with you.
And yes, they’re doing something for themselves, but [00:11:00] in turn, you’re helping them do something for the community. So I think that makes a huge difference as well. When you bring your community and bring your homeowners into that change and into making that difference, it doesn’t just stick within your company culture.
Katie: And again, I’m going down the path of easy ones are builders and this one, you know, it doesn’t really even require you to. Have to do anything at your models or on site, we’ve done a couple of these over the years, you know, a builder would run a Facebook ad or a Facebook post and say, Hey, for every light we get, we will donate a dollar or $5 or whatever you want it to be to our local animal shelter or to our local food kitchen, or, you know, whatever that might be.
And that is like the simplest thing ever, but people share it and they’re sharing it amongst their friends and families. Your employees are sharing it. And again, it’s so easy, but people will see it on their timeline, see it on their feeds, recognize it. [00:12:00] Remember it want to participate and down the road, you know, who’s to say that that person, you know, they might not have been interested in building a home, but they’ll remember that when their, you know, sister needs a new home or their son or their daughter, aunt and uncle, whoever.
So something just so small can, can go a long way and really stick with people over the months or years.
Chelsey: You just brought up telling their family or telling other people. It made me remember this one other statistic, I love statistics guys, that says 88% of people want to know about a company’s social responsibility efforts.
And 84% of people would tell friends and family about a company’s social responsibility efforts. And so of course you want people talking about the beauty of your homes and how high quality your homes are and what a great process you have, but how amazing would it be to have word of mouth spread, not just because you build great homes, but because you build great communities [00:13:00] and you build a better community.
I just think that word of mouth can go so much further. If that’s the first thing that a referral is hearing from their friend or their family member, they’re hearing, not only do you build great homes, but you make great efforts towards making your community better. It just increases the brand loyalty and it increases the chance that those people are going to work with you because it’s just a fact that people are more socially conscious now than ever.
Katie: Last one, and this one is not necessarily a monetary donation, but a time donation. I have builders that, you know, every year their team let’s say will works at a soup kitchen, you know, around Thanksgiving. And not only is that great and people have fun, but people start to remember that they do it every year and get excited about it and share photos.
And we were just talking about how these sorts of things can increase employee retention and things like [00:14:00] that. Something like this, it’s a bonding experience for all of your team. So, you know, the people that might not necessarily get to interact outside of their office space, they look forward to something like this.
It’s so it’s a fun time for your team. And it’s also, you know, a great rewarding experience for everyone and for their community. So make it sort of like a tradition, you know, amongst your team and something people look forward to and can talk about a little goes a long way. Like I said.
Chelsey: Well, I wanted to keep this short and sweet so that you listeners have enough time to go out there, share your talent, share your treasures, and get to work, finding that.
So every Building Perspectivespective I’ve been on, I’ve given homework. So this will not be any different. Here’s your homework. Go out there at least choose a philanthropy that you would like to connect with. And I want you to go in the Building Perspective group. When I post this comment [00:15:00] below, tag them on Facebook.
There’s your first step. There’s your good first thing. Spread the word about them. Tag the philanthropy and then plan something. Plan a, like we said, plan a drive in your models. Plan a to put up a like ad that every, like you get you’ll donate a dollar plan action items around that philanthropy. I’m going to do the exact same thing.
As soon as I get off this, I’m planning a volunteer day for Group Two. You heard it here first Mollie. So planning, planning a volunteer day for Group Two. I’m doing it. That’s my homework. You guys should do the same.
Katie: Yeah, I was just going to say, share your ideas with us. Maybe stuff that you guys do every year or donate to anything that you guys are doing.
Like Chelsea said, once we post, please share it. I would love to hear it. Thanks guys.[00:16:00]