Challenges: As the adage goes, it takes years to build strong relationships but only a few minutes to destroy them. This saying is especially true when it comes to new developments, which can often divide streets and households. Change can be difficult for anyone and even if a new development truly benefits a community, it can be challenging to garner community support and respect. However, that support is critical to cultivate strong word of mouth marketing. Recognizing the need to enhance their relationship with the local community, The Village at Gateway engaged Commonwealth Partnerships (CWP) to identify strategies to build bridges with community and business leaders.
Solutions: CWP developed a multi-pronged reputation management initiative that included community outreach, social media, public relations, and content marketing. Consistent conversations with business and civic leaders in the area have enhanced those relationships and a number of leaders have participated in video testimonials for the development. Additionally, The Village at Gateway is engaging with neighbors on social media and promoting local events both through social media and blog posts. It’s also participated in community festivals, such as a Fourth of July celebration and holiday open house tour. We even created a monthly newsletter geared toward the South Norfolk community. The newsletter highlighted local events, businesses, and people making a difference. Finally, Jerry Harris, the developer, wrote an op-ed for the primary daily newspaper extoling the progress in South Norfolk and advocating for additional support for the community.
Results: Since the campaign’s inception, the relationship between the development and community leaders has improved remarkably. A great deal of community support has been restored and The Village at Gateway is once again seen as an invaluable part of the South Norfolk community.