Our blog

Companies and territories: how do they relate and complement each other? 

Companies and territories: how do they relate and complement each other? 

Aurélie Buffone, Deputy Managing Director & Carole Mathieu Chevrier, Consulting Director at EKNO, share their views on the relationships that unite companies and the various players in their region.

What would explain the renewed mutual interest between territories and companies?

CMC: The phenomenon is not new. It has, however, sped up in the last few years. The laws of decentralization had marked a “re-enchantment of the territories” and confirmed the territorial collectivities as relevant levels of decision-making, investment and collaboration with the local stakeholders.

These past few years, the growing challenges of relocation, transition and access to resources have confirmed the “strong come back” of territories. 

It has become a priority for each of them to build long-term relationships between companies, the local area and key players. 

More than a community of action, they now share today a community of destiny. 

Beyond local economic development, companies have become leading partners for the community, just as a company cannot develop itself “in isolation”, without interaction with its local ecosystem.

We can speak of virtuous relationships: together, companies and public players, contribute to the long-term survival of territorial resources (human resources, transportation and energy services, property…). The interaction between the two is unavoidable.

And how, from their point of view, do companies rely on their territories in the construction of their strategic project?  

CMC : There are several scenarios: the company exogenous to the territory and which is implanting itself, the company historically established and poorly integrated into the ecosystems, and the company which seems well anchored in its territory.

Regardless of the scenario, it is important for the company to question its relationship with its stakeholders to, for example, accelerate its projects of development, locally strengthen its leadership or materialize its CSR strategy.

The company will have to deploy an anchoring and territorial influence strategy around priorities of actions, once the objectives are clearly defined, such as: building a dialogue with public stakeholders, committing to economical stakeholders and communities, or supporting initiatives within the framework of partnerships and sponsorships.  

When we build a territorial anchoring (or re-anchoring) strategy, we must take into consideration one variable: temporality.  
Building long-lasting relationships with your stakeholders is a long-term process and cannot be improvised. 

How do territories integrate companies into their territorial marketing strategies?  

AB: To work on a long-term basis, each organization registers its development in a management and projection tool. When the company generates a strategic project, the community plans a territorial project. In either case, they both fix an objective to reach and provide guidance to achieve it. It is on these shared thematic that interactions take place, at the junction of their common interests.

Mobility, energy, recruitment, inclusion, housing, health… are all themes of work and shared interests. The necessary contemporary transitions, paired with the increasing consideration of our most local influence areas, are accelerating the needs for dialogue and co-construction.

Depending on their size, their skills, their experience of consultation and existing or future dialogue bodies, the territories must always listen to companies to take the pulse of the field, understand the most current operational needs and accompany their most strategic long-term projects. This consultation, listing and objective knowledge phase of the situation and ambitions, is a prerequisite to then engage companies in the reflection in a more involved manner, through working groups or thematic commissions, for example.

The key factor for the success of a territorial marketing approach is primarily based on the ability to mobilize and set in motion, a collective (public-private) towards a common objective, which naturally transcends the individual objectives of each person and therefore requires the collective’s mobilization and the power.

The territory needs the involvement of its businesses to promote and illustrate its dynamism and economic attractiveness. In the same way, businesses also serve their own interests (image, brand, employer, …) by promoting the assets of their local area. 

Some of our recent references  

Attractiveness and promotion of territories
France Mountains 

Local bodies
 Villefranche Beaujolais Saône urban community  
Porte de l’Isère urban community 
Metropolis of Lyon 
Très Beaujolais