What Can Chamber Membership Do For Your Business?

Active involvement in a local chamber of commerce has longbeen believed to not only be the right thing to do for your local community, but that it also benefits your own business success as well.
But is there data to back up that well-meant sentiment?
Yes there is. The Schapiro Group and Market St. completed a scientific web-based survey of 2,000 adults nationwide that validates this. Page one of their report, "The Real Value of Joining a Local Chamber of Commerce," provides the following data in support of chamber membership. (CLICK HERE to download a copy of the report.)
Here are some highlights of that report:
  • Most consumers (59%) think that being active in the local chamber of commerce is an effective business strategy overall. It is 29% more effective, however, for communicating to consumers that a company uses good business practices and 26% more effective for communicating that a business is reputable.
  • If a company shows that it is highly involved in its local chamber (e.g., sits on the chamber board), consumers are 12% more likely to think that its products stack up better against its competition.
  • When a consumer thinks that a company’s products stack up better against the competition because the company is highly involved in its local chamber of commerce, it is because he or she infers that the company is trustworthy, involved in the community, and is an industry leader.
  • When consumers know that a restaurant franchise is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 40% more likely to eat at the franchise in the next few months.
  • When consumers know that an insurance company is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 43% more likely to consider buying insurance from it.
  • When consumers know that a small business is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 44% more likely to think favorably of it and 63% more likely to purchase

Chamber Membership as a Business Strategy

The results show that being active in the local chamber of commerce is a good strategy for businesses to use in communicating each of the four specific company traits. The percentages in Table 1 on page 2 of the report show just how effective of a business strategy being active in a local chamber really is.
Figure 1 on page 3 provides a snapshot view of how effectively chamber membership conveys to consumers each of the specific company traits, as well as the baseline measure of “showing people about your company.” (Since the percentages are collasped for easy viewing, the percentages do not match up exactly to the statistical data, but they are accurate.) What you can see is that 7 out of 10 consumers believe that being actively involved in the chamber is enhances the business' repuration and demonstrates that it uses good business practices.

Chamber Impacts and Their Causes

The results show that chamber involvement can enhance a company's reputation in a couple of ways:

  • If a company shows that it is highly involved in its local chamber (e.g., sits on the chamber board), consumers are 12% more likely to think that its products stack up better against its competition.
  • When consumers find out that a company is involved with its local chamber, they are 19% more likely to think favorably of that company. This effect is not dependent on the degree
So, what does chamber membership say about a company that creates these positive impacts? Highly involved membership implies to a consumer that a company is highly involved because it is trustworthy and an industry leader. However, even membership alone infers that the company is trustworthy, is involved in the community, cares about its customers, is successful, and is a leader in the business community.

As shown in Figure 2 on page 4, these opinions are based on the following beliefs in facts and myths about chambers of commerce.

Impact of Chamber Membership on Large Business

When consumers know that a large business is a member of the chamber, they are likely to patronize the company more often, to express favorable opinions about the company, to know more about the company and to buy the company's products.
The impact of chamber membership on large restaurant chains:

  • When consumers know that a restaurant franchise is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 50% more likely to eat at the franchise more often.

  • When consumers know that a restaurant franchise is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 25% more likely to think favorably of the franchise.

  • When consumers know that a restaurant franchise is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 40% more likely to eat at the franchise in the next few months.
  • Among consumers who already know about a particular restaurant franchise, those who are aware that it is a member of the chamber are 38% more likely to eat at the franchise in the next few months. Among those who are less knowledgeable about the franchise, chamber membership increases the likelihood by 76%
The impact of chamber membership on insurance companies:

  • When consumers know that an insurance company is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 39% more likely to know a lot about the company.

  • When consumers know that an insurance company is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 43% more likely to consider buying insurance from it
The impact of chamber membership on automobile manufacturers:

  • Among consumers who have favorable opinions of an auto manufacturer, chamber membership leads to a 10% increase in the likelihood that they report knowing a lot about the company.

  • Among consumers who have ever considered buying a car from a particular auto manufacturer, chamber membership leads to a 10% increase in the likelihood that they report knowing a lot about the company.

  • Among those who have ever considered buying a car from a particular auto manufacturer, chamber membership leads to a 20% increase in consumers' favorability reports.

  • When consumers know that an auto manufacturer is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 9% more likely to consider purchasing their next car from that company

What is the impact of a chamber membership on small businesses?

The impact of a local chamber membership on small businesses is more consistent and more powerful than for large, national corporations.

If consumers know that a small business is a member of its local chamber, the business enjoys a 44% increase in its consumer favorability rating, a 51% increase in consumer awareness, a 57% increase in it local reputation, and a 63% increase in the likelihood that consumers will patronize the business in the future.

Table 2 on page 7 shows the overall impacts of chamber membership on small businesses.

Value of Chamber Membership

ChamberMe is designed to provide an overview of Chambers of Commerce and to introduce the next generation of business people to the advantages of membership in their local Chamber of Commerce.

Technology is changing the way we do business. Business can now be done from any location through applications designed for Android, Blackberry, iTunes, iPhones and other mobile operating systems.

This new mobile technology can be made available through Chambers of Commerce. This technology is extremely valuable to business people on the move.

Remember…The Chamber of Commerce is the most trusted source for information on local businesses and services and Chamber Nation would like to introduce a new generation of business people to the advantages of Chamber membership and the mobile technology that is now available.