A national survey of 2,000 adults reveals that being active in a local chamber of commerce is an effective business strategy because two-thirds of consumers believe that such companies use good business practices, are reputable, care about their customers, and are involved in the community. The study, conducted by The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm, found consumer perceptions of chamber members to be positive in many ways. When consumers know that a small business is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 49% more likely to think favorably of it and 80% more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future. If a company shows that it is highly involved in its local chamber, consumers are 10% more likely to think that its products stack up better against its competition.
“Despite changes in markets and demographics, a nagging recession and the growing influence of the internet, the chamber brand today is stronger and more dynamic than ever,” said American Chamber of Commerce Executives President Mick Fleming. “We’re proud that the numbers prove, once again, that engagement in a chamber means a positive perception of the business in the eyes of the buying public.”
Small businesses represent the largest segment of most local chamber membership roles, and the study indicates that chamber membership has consistent and powerful benefits for small business members—if consumers are aware that the small business is involved with its local chamber. For example, the business enjoys a 49% increase in its consumer favorability rating, a 73% increase in consumer awareness, a 68% increase in its local reputation, and an 80% increase in the likelihood that consumers will patronize the business in the future.
The key factor in developing and maintaining positive consumer perception of chamber members, the Schapiro Group said, was that “positive outcomes only occur when consumers know that a business is a chamber member (i.e., being involved in the chamber is a known facet of the company's reputation).”