Making a difference

Five years ago, Barb Brown and Margie Flynn, principals and co-owners of BrownFlynn Communications Ltd., decided to change their company from a marketing communications firm to a community relationship management firm.

Brown and Flynn wanted to do well by doing good. And they were not just talking about themselves. They wanted to help other organizations do well by becoming better corporate citizens and giving back to their community.

“If you are going to spend all this time in your life building a business, Barb Brown and I felt that it had to be something that was truly going to make a difference in our community,” says Flynn. “Seeing an untapped need, as well as recognizing that we could actually build a business around helping companies do well by doing good in the community, and doing it strategically, was something that was appealing to us.”

BrownFlynn counsels companies and organizations through Community Relationship Management Assessment (CRMA). The goal of CRMA is to increase companies’ community engagement efforts to create the greatest reward for both the company and the community.

To do this, BrownFlynn does extensive research on a company’s core values, core competencies and social investment/employee volunteerism programs. Based on that information, they create a community-engagement strategy.

There are myriad reasons BrownFlynn thinks it is so important for companies to be engaged in their community. For example, community engagement attracts and retains employees, develops employees into leaders in the work force and the community, enhances a company’s brand and increases company sales. According to Flynn, people are really influenced by what a company stands for and how it gives back to the community.

BrownFlynn, in conjunction with the Cleveland Initiative for Education, gives back to the community through a literacy program known as the BrownFlynn Book Club. To date, the program has delivered more than 7,000 new curriculum-oriented books to 14 elementary schools in the Cleveland Municipal School District. The firm’s employees also invest more than 40 hours each month in developing and implementing the plan.

Now, the book club is also beginning to focus on older students in middle school and high school.

The result is a company that rewards itself through rewarding the community and helping other companies do the same.

How to reach: BrownFlynn, (440) 484-0100 or