History Smiths
Because history matters. Including yours.


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Business and History — Forging a New Relationship that Benefits Both

I’m going to say something quite radical.

I think it’s time for small historical societies and museums to end the impasse with the business sector.

And I think it’s time for businesses to reach out to their local historical community for the benefit of “both sides of the aisle” AND their bottom line.

To be sure, plenty of business people serve on nonprofit boards. They are members, patrons, and perhaps pro bono service providers. Conversely, nonprofit folks often patronize the businesses that support their organization.

Indeed, some level of interaction does go on.

But I am suggesting something deeper – more of a strategic partnership or joint business venture that values and incorporates what each sector has to offer the other.

In the case of businesses – especially those located in historical communities – you would do well to incorporate history into your branding and marketing! Chances are, you located your business in a historical community because of the quality of life provided by local history. You also know that the people who are drawn to such places tend to be well educated and well off – residents and visitors alike.

If you are NOT taking advantage of history, you are missing out on a powerful marketing tool — and a whole lot of fun.

Where do you find the historical information you need? You are probably not a historian, and neither are your marketing people, but you can get in touch with your local historical society, museum, or public library to find these historians.

Hire a historian(s) to:

• Research your company.
• Determine ways in which your business makes historical connections with your community; these connections can lead to articles, co-sponsored events, and other win-win activities between your business and the historical community.
• Teach you about local history; you will have other ideas moving forward.

Ideally, you want to cement a working relationship with these local history folks. Each of the nonprofits they represent has hundreds of members, and supporting local history carries prestige and the respect of your community.

And making use of them as business partners and experts who can contribute to your bottom line is a new approach by the business community – and it will be a welcome approach.

With your new information in hand, you can now address your business’s branding and marketing to identify ways to include history.

You, in turn, can support the nonprofit(s) that helped you by publicizing how they assisted you (and encourage others to do the same), providing technical business assistance in the areas where they often have challenges (finance, marketing, planning, management), support their important events, co-host events with them that have to do with your business (win-win!) and give a free gift to anyone who joins the historical society that evening, or provide incentives for your staff to volunteer for their events. You can also ask them what THEY need from you!

Again, this is about mutually respectful
relationship building and making good
use of available talents and expertise.

Each side will benefit financially, educationally, and socially, and you will forge tighter bonds that will ultimately benefit your shared historical community.


2010 © Bonnie Hurd Smith

History Smiths works with service-oriented businesses to use history — their own and their community's — to achieve customer loyalty, referrals, and high status. Subscribe (above, right) to our free Ezine, Connections, where we share ideas and examples of businesses embracing history to achieve business goals.


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• Proven examples of how this works.

• Inspiring stories from history!

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