How Municipalities Can Make an Impact Through Storytelling

by rc

Elk Grove Village is a “Beyond Business Friendly” community. It may sound like a catchy tagline, but to Elk Grove Village, it means so much more. It embodies the mission and vision of the entire community, and they go above and beyond to be a great partner to their businesses. In support of their business partnerships and their commitment to be “Beyond Business Friendly,” this municipality leverages storytelling to attract new business to the community.

What is a brand story and why is it so important?

A brand story identifies your passion for what you do and what makes you unique and creates a solid foundation for what you’re trying to achieve.

Red Caffeine asked a small group of civic workers from the suburbs of Chicago to fill out a survey to understand what a brand story means to them. The sample included civic service providers and municipality representatives. We asked if their organization has a brand story, and, if so, what the purpose of it was. About half of the organizations did have a brand story and the top three reasons were:

  • To Inform
  • To Educate
  • To Serve

These are all great reasons for an organization serving a community to have a brand story! Unfortunately, when asked if the entirety of their staff would identify with the same story, they expressed their uncertainty, saying “hopefully” and that “it depends on what department the team member is in.” In short, when people reflect on their story and why they exist, they realize that it is not solidified across the team. It’s difficult to make an impact in the community if your organization is not on the same page of what you’re trying to achieve.

What story can municipalities tell?

Although a municipality is not a typical “business,” that does not mean it does not have a story to tell.

A municipality story can improve the community in more ways than you think, including maintaining a higher retention rate, and most of all promoting a happy community that works together to be a better place to live and work.

"Elk Grove's business philosophy centers on our long-standing vision of being 'The Exceptional Community'. There is no other community quite like Elk Grove Village." – Ray Rummel, Village Manager

Elk Grove Village promotes its “Beyond Business Friendly” story to promote its unique services incentives, and benefits available to resident businesses that are unlike other municipalities. Representatives of Elk Grove Village tell their story using a customer-focused philosophy: The Four Ps:

  • Polite and Respectful Treatment
  • Professional Knowledge and Expertise
  • Proactive Problem Solving
  • Partnership with Business

The impact of storytelling

You can tell how effective your story is by the impact it is making in the community. Since the launch of Elk Grove Village’s “Beyond Business Friendly” campaign, its vacancy rate has decreased by nearly 50 percent.

One company influenced by Elk Grove’s story is Mikerphone Brewing. In early 2016, Elk Grove Village welcomed Mikerphone Brewing, a beer company founded by Craft Brew Maker Mike Pallen. Pallen was looking for a location that was close to home, visible from the highway and spacious. Pallen cites the 4,000 square foot vacant warehouse lot as a place for “lots of room for growth and expansion.” He expressed his satisfaction in moving his business to Elk Grove Village by sharing how the municipality aided the seamless transition, allowing Mikerphone Brewing to get production moving at lightning speed.

For more Elk Grove Village stories, visit EGV Bizhub. 

The importance of a brand story is one that every municipality and its civic services need. What is your brand’s story and how will you make an impact in your community? If you need help telling your story, connect with us!