For PR professionals, implementing a community relations tactic can be the secret sauce that takes a strategy, project or campaign to the next level. It adds a layer of commonality and humanity to brands that modern day consumers are seeking – so how do communicators add community relations to our professional toolbox?

Recently, Three Box and our client Dallas Summer Musicals (DSM) partnered with the Dallas Zoo to promote the national tour of Disney’s THE LION KING (TLK) in a way that benefitted both organizations. Here are some tips we picked up along the way:

Cast members from Disney's THE LION KING and Dallas Zoo animal handlers present native African animals on the set of Good Morning Texas

Cast members from Disney's THE LION KING and Dallas Zoo animal handlers present native African animals on the set of Good Morning Texas

Find a natural fit

When brainstorming creative strategies to promote TLK, the Three Box team suggested partnering with the Dallas Zoo for several reasons. First, there was a natural tie between native African animals in TLK and those at the Zoo. Second, both DSM and the Dallas Zoo are nonprofit organizations in Dallas, each trying to reach a diverse DFW audience. Lastly, we knew bringing wild animals on a live television set was a trend that wasn’t going to fizz out anytime soon.

Community means everyone

Both DSM and the Dallas Zoo benefitted from the collaboration. Cast members from TLK joined native African animals and a spokesperson from the Zoo on WFAA-TV’s “Good Morning Texas,” where the two parties promoted each other on a live platform. DSM also created a special TLK admission ticket that, when purchased, would donate a portion of the ticket sale back to the Zoo. The Zoo distributed the unique ticket link to their membership base, expanding DSM's reach to an additional audience outside of its typical arts and culture niche.

Utilize community relations as a single tool, not the entire tool box

DSM’s partnership with the Zoo was an outstanding success and added an extra oomph to DSM’s promotion of TLK, but the collaboration was a single tactic of the larger media campaign strategy. Don’t be afraid to use community relations or a strategic sponsorship as an added layer to a larger campaign, idea or project. Engage your local community and make an impact beyond your marketing strategy.

Cast members from Disney's THE LION KING and Dallas Zoo animal handlers present native African animals on the set of Good Morning Texas

Cast members from Disney's THE LION KING and Dallas Zoo animal handlers present native African animals on the set of Good Morning Texas

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