How To Build Your Profile Through Community Involvement

There is a silver lining to every cloud, and many challenges can indeed provide an opportunity to connect with your community and give something back, while generating exposure for your business and yourself at the same time. The recent floods where I live have demonstrated how this can be achieved, and many examples of individuals and businesses doing just that have shone through the dirty water and mud.

The Queensland Flood Disaster

2011 has provided an extremely challenging and traumatic start to the year for those of us in many parts of Queensland, including Brisbane. A wet spring and summer brought about relentless rain that caused flooding, and caused our rivers, creeks and dams to fill to capacity and overflow. So many Queenslanders have lost their homes, possessions, and even, in some tragic cases, their loved ones.

Myself and my husband were among those who had to evacuate our home. We had very little time, before our road started to flood, to load our valuables, laptops, and some clothes into the back of the car. The hardest thing was working out what to save. After a few trips back and forth, from my brother’s home to ours, rising flood water meant we could no longer drive down our road. My husband made a last trip to the house on his own, in his bare feet walking through our home that was rapidly filling with water, to move some last things up high and save our wedding pictures.

We were certainly among the fortunate few.

When we returned to our home, after an anxious night knowing the water was coming in and not knowing what it would claim, we returned to find that it had only risen a few inches from the floor, and no higher, as we had feared. It was enough, however, to mean we had to rip up our carpets, and to destroy some of our furniture, including desks, couches, and our bed, among other things, as the water had seeped up through the wood and fabric.

After four tiring days of cleaning our home (thanks to the help of friends who arrived with buckets and mops to pitch in!), our home was empty, but clean.

We moved back in the following week, to try and piece back our life at home. Fortunately because the water had not reached our electrical sockets, they weren’t damaged and we didn’t need to remove walls either, like so many other families, including our neighbors.

Now, I sit in my make-shift office on bare concrete floors typing this article. Carpets and new office furniture are some time away, but I am able to work, and I am definitely counting my blessings.

How To Build A Public Profile And “Give Something Back” During And Following A Disaster

Amongst all the general chaos, intense energy of the flood and what may/may not happen in our city, suburbs and homes, I watched with interest the opportunities created and taken by high profile figures and businesses in general.

For example, some of our politicians rose to the occasion, and it has been said that our state’s Premier, Anna Bligh, may have even resurrected her previously floundering reputation due to her excellent response to the crisis and the genuine emotion she didn’t try to hide – after all, her words and expression mirrored the disbelief and shock of every Queenslander during that time.

While Anna Bligh visited evacuation centers and desecrated suburbs offering support, our Governor General, on the other hand, was nowhere to be seen or heard. She had probably evacuated interstate or even overseas!

Many businesses, both small and large, have taken this opportunity to show their support to their local community and customers during this time of crisis. From waiving overdue payments and fees during this time, to donating profits to the Premier’s Flood Appeal, holding fundraising BBQs and events, to simply turning up with a mop and bucket to pitch in with the clean-up and rebuild their local community – it is heart-warming to witness former profit centers and strangers coming together for a common cause.

It is my guess that these scenes have been duplicated around the world during times of natural crisis, and I sincerely hope that they continue to do so.

The thing is that while helping out those in need is the right thing to do anyway, consider what this says about your business and its values to the community and to your customers. They won’t forget the support and generosity you showed during hard times, and, in turn, will likely choose to do business with you in the future.

They say that “no man is an island,” but no business is either. You operate with your business community, and sometimes (depending on your business) within your geographical community. Even if your local community does not directly comprise of your customer base, consider what mutually beneficial alliances (for your personal or professional life) are possible.

Tips For Getting Involved In Your Community Today

Actively being a part of your community, on a regular basis, and especially during a crisis, pays dividends in increasing your reputation, your profile, and ultimately your bottom line. Because, when you give something positive, you can expect to receive more of the same.  Its called the Law of Attraction.

Insurers who took a hard-line approach during this flood (try not to be surprised, but there were some!!) have only achieved a dirty name for themselves among our community and I personally know of many people (even those who weren’t directly affected by the flood) who are going to change their insurers as a result.

But the great news is you don’t have to wait for a crisis before you increase your profile and influence among your community. Search for possibilities now that will result in an enormous difference to your public exposure.

  • Seek out and join business networking groups. Try them all until you find one that you enjoy and you feel suits your business.
  • Search for opportunities to become involved somehow in community groups or your local schools. Donate your time or some money, sponsor a local sports team or even join the local neighborhood watch.
  • Consider which local businesses you could team up with to offer specially packaged products or services to your customers and to theirs.

Note that you could also apply each of the above tips to the virtual “world.”  Business, networking or community groups can also be found online, and if this is where you mainly operate your business, then raise your profile and exposure by getting actively involved in other online communities.

Kerry McDuling

About Kerry McDuling

Kerry McDuling is a publicist and Director of her own public relations and publicity consultancy McDuling PR and exposure speciality business, Stratosphere Me – building brands and developing profitable business opportunities for companies, authors, speakers, and entrepreneurs.

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  • The more that you give back, the more you receive whether it be an online community or offline community. People need to start thinking this way instead of always thinking about WIIFM (what’s in it for me)

    • @Donny, you are totally right, people have to have that mindset offline as well, seems in today’s day and age the attitudes and views are not as they should be. It is all about the “what’s in it for me” as you put it, but it should be more than that.


  • Bob

    Being active in the community will give you the chance to build friendship and therefore you can share your love to the needy, you also grow.

  • great post with real meaning, I appreciate it. The old addage the more you put in the more you get out was and is totally true

  • Building relations at the local business and schools will be great deal to highlight your contribution from the very basic points like from the students and from the local advertisers and publishers locations and they will surely make you more popular to create a public profile by the word of mouth.

    Thanks for sharing such a valuable article to manage our local profile.

  • Thats very true Kerry. Its a shame it takes a disaster like the one you lived through to bring out the best in people, but then again its a relief when it does happen and people get the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and show their true kindness. Helping in the normal day to day sense is just as important if not as adrenalin pitched. There are many people out there who’s lives are in need of assistance every day.

    • Great feedback, thank you Brigid. Why not choose a charity or cause close to your heart to support? Giving back to the community provides a great sense of fulfilment and greater purpose.

  • Ann

    Good point, we have be doing that for a few years and its pays off in spades

  • That’s so true Kerry also sharing to someone else make you feel fulfilled in the end of the day.

  • That’s the benefit of belonging to a community. So long as you give to the community, it will take care of you in turn.

  • So the other day my dad and I were talking about this. I’m going to pass this post along, tweeting it now. Thank you for the great post and the happy coincidence.

    • Thanks for the great feedback Rugby Stone. I am interested to know more about what you and your dad were talking about!

  • Useful information shared..I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us nice info.Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post.

  • Join your favoutrite community and being active, you will get more benefit from it. Thanks for sharing a nice post.

  • I also believe that if you and your business do good to others during difficult times, they would most probably do the same thing to you when you face a crisis. This is of course in addition to what you said about a higher chance that they’d also be motivated to do business with you in the future.

  • Being Active in an Community, will make trust and make good friends in the Community. It builds a good relationship between each. You have researched a Good Point.

    Thank you for your share.

  • Great ideas on how to build your profile. Thank you for sharing Kerry.

    – Robert

  • One of my favorite books on this topic that I regret unloading, when I had to sell everything and relocate to another country, was “How to Make You (or Anyone Else) Famous” written by a publicist. Basically the same tactic. Giving back to the community and sending out press releases, which in effect promote you.

    Unfortunately, the book is now out of print. 🙁

    • What are you saying? Is the book out of print? I heard that it is still available.

  • kerry, that’s an inspiring post. I’m sad to hear Australia has had to deal with flooding problems. I think it will make just you guys stronger.

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