By Jeanette Homan of Cannon Moving & Storage, Inc.
When I was asked to write about “marketing” I was initially hesitant as our primary source of revenue is Military we do not spend a lot of time or money marketing on social media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), etc. However, when given more thought and input on what my organization does in the Community and how we acquire advertising without necessarily “paying” for it, I came to the realization that we do, in fact, advertise in our market.
It all started around 2008, I had been a Trustee for Lemoore Elementary School District for 16 years and the Librarian at the school, who is also a good friend of mine, noticed that some of the children were lacking jackets and food, and would probably not have a very “merry” Christmas. She spoke to some of the teachers who also noticed and identified less fortunate students in their classrooms, and they together started a Christmas Box Fund right in the Library. They started a food, clothing, and toy donation for the families in need who would pick up their boxes the day before Christmas break. I decided to volunteer to stuff boxes, and what tugged at my heart most was a note from a young boy who wrote that all he wanted for Christmas were some socks for his little brother. As you can imagine, I went back to my husband and with tears in my eyes said that we needed to support this effort, which we did. My husband is one of the most generous people I know, he has always believed that we have been blessed and should bless others. Because of the huge need it quickly outgrew the Library, so a few years later the School partnered with the City of Lemoore and the Police Department and called the effort “Presents on Patrol/Reason for the Season”. The police officers dress up like Santa and deliver the food and presents to the children’s homes in squad cars.
Today the event continues with even more community participation, and more than 200 students receiving clothing, food and toys. We send our “Cannon Moving & Storage” trucks to Walmart on shopping days (we even have a few employees volunteer their time on Saturday) load up the items and bring everything back to our warehouse where we store it until wrapping day. In 2010 we were awarded the prestigious “Business of the Year” by the City of Lemoore and I am confident that it was due to our involvement with our City. What better advertisement can a business ask for?
And the fun doesn’t stop there, you may see our Crew, trucks and banners on Fridays at God’s Bread Box Community Food Bank, Lemoore Community Christmas Dinner, Rockin Rudolph 5K Run, Walk For Life Cancer Walk, Lemoore Chamber Pizza Festival and Rockin the Arbor Farmer’s Market! We will also have crews at the Lemoore Little League Field helping the Ballpark get spruced up in the Spring. Building relationships in the community has been a very positive experience for our business, so much so that my colleagues in Public Service will reciprocate by attending our annual California Moving & Storage Association (CMSA) Scholarship Fund raising event. At our Chapter Meetings I have been privileged to have Lemoore City Mayor, Kings County Supervisors and District Attorney, Previous Citizens of the Year, and the Dean of West Hills College in attendance. We were also fortunate to have Congressman T.J. Cox attend one of our meetings where we discussed the Military’s Global Household Goods Contract, and he was able to hear first hand from “Boots on the Ground” perspective about the negative impact it would have on our Industry.
Operation Homefront is another organization that my company supports mostly because we are in a Navy town and I strongly believe we should show our support to those who are serving our Country. Operation Homefront provides financial assistance for enlisted service members and their families. They have several local events including Operation Backpack (which distributes backpacks and school supplies to children) and Operation Baby (offering baby necessities to families in need of baby items). Also supporting the Schools on our local Base is a great way to build relationships and get your business name out there. It speaks volumes when we support events such as purchase a Brick at the Aviator’s Memorial and showing our support for the local Aviator’s Association! I see it all come back around.
In a nutshell, I believe that if you support your Community it will support you! Just take an active role in your local community and weave your business and yourself into the fabric of that community. When you do that, you become a trusted partner with the locals; your organization becomes known for doing the right things; with the added benefit of making a difference and participating in ways that are meaningful for you and your employees.