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Updated: April 1, 2024 Know How

Know How: Build community relationships

In today’s competitive markets, the symbiosis between your business and its geographical and cultural community is essential for economic prosperity. Genuine engagement with the community is a cornerstone of this relationship, fostering a loyal customer base, enhancing reputation, and opening doors to invaluable local partnerships and networks. My journey of growing a community-based business, which includes 400+ daily retail visitors, underscores the power of authentic community interaction.

In the 2.5 years Major Bloom has been serving customers, we’ve found these strategies are key for community bonds.

A man in a portrait photo with his arms crossed, wearing glasses and a hat
Photo | Matt Wright
Ulysses Youngblood is the president of Worcester cannabis dispensary Major Bloom.

Establish your presence: It’s crucial for businesses, especially those in dynamic or underserved areas, to immerse themselves in the community. Downtown offices are naturally at the heart of community groups eager for collaboration, but don’t be deterred by distance. Actively research and reach out. Partnering with organizations supporting vital social causes, such as providing essential resources to needy families, is incredibly impactful during the giving season. Understanding the operational model of these organizations, even nonprofits, is critical to meaningful collaboration.

Elevate your voice: Visibility is paramount. If your business serves consumers directly, engage in person and online with other community-facing companies. Utilize technology, like customer relationship management databases, to spotlight community connections and collaborations. Initiating or participating in events, new product launches, or services in partnership with another local business can enrich your community presence. Consistency and originality in your content creation and cross-promotion efforts will set you apart, as will the story of your brand. As humans, we love to connect with those around us and find pieces of ourselves reflected in our favorite media, brands, and local leaders. At Major Bloom, we use our voice to tell a story about the legacy of weed and the incredible people in the community.

Strategize and measure: Setting clear, achievable goals is the foundation of any results-driven organization. Community collaboration can be nebulous, requiring specific internal objectives and deadlines, particularly when supporting another organization’s initiative. Authentic engagement, underpinned by a deep understanding of the community’s and stakeholders’ needs, will lend credibility. Regularly assess the impact of your endeavors, adjusting strategies to ensure ongoing and meaningful involvement.

Diversity drives collaboration: A diverse team is beneficial and crucial for successful community collaboration, allowing you to meet a broad spectrum of stakeholder needs. Operating a community-based cannabis business in Worcester’s vibrant but economically challenged Green Island neighborhood presents unique challenges and opportunities. From addressing local issues to supporting neighborhood events, our commitment to creating specialty products and original content has significantly enhanced our brand engagement beyond our immediate locale. Major Bloom collaborated with Femme Bar, a safe space for lesbian and queer women, to produce a pre-roll with potential to provide relief to people living with painful reproductive conditions, like endometriosis – and bring a new spark to women’s sex drive.

Long-term commitment yields ROI: Investments in community collaboration should be viewed through a long-term lens. Our podcast, Infused Influence, is a testament to this approach and has become a cornerstone of our community engagement strategy. By featuring a mix of business and community leaders, we’ve created a platform for sharing stories and successes, measuring our impact through listener engagement and the heartfelt feedback of our guests.

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