A new national study reveals that membership in a local chamber of
commerce can significantly boost a business’s image among consumers,
as well as among other businesses. In a scientific survey of 2000 U.S.
adults, The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm,
found positive perceptions of chamber members in a number of areas,
including overall favorability, consumer awareness and reputation, and
likelihood of future patronage.
The study, commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce
Executives (ACCE), IBM, Administaff, Small Business Network, Inc., and
Market Street Services, showed that when respondents were told that a
particular small business was a member of its local chamber, they were
44 percent more likely to rate it favorably than study respondents who
were not told of the chamber affiliation. Respondents were also 63 percent
more likely to want to purchase goods or services from a small business
that is a chamber member.
“We discovered that informing someone about a company’s chamber
membership opens the door to substantial increases positive perceptions
of that business,” said Alex Trouteaud, Ph.D., senior strategist for
The Schapiro Group. “There clearly is a feeling by our respondents that
chamber membership is synonymous with quality and desirability.”
To tap into this reservoir of goodwill, a small business should not only
join the local chamber of commerce and participate, but also make sure
consumers and other businesses are aware of that chamber affiliation. The
positive impact of perceived chamber membership is felt by big businesses,
For example, when consumers believed that a restaurant chain was a
member of the local chamber of commerce, they were 40 percent more
likely to eat at the franchise in the future. And if a consumer believed that
one of the major automobile manufacturers was a member of its local
chamber,that consumer was 9 percent more likely to consider purchasing
his or her next car from that automaker.
“This study reinforces research done in 2005 about the perceived capacity
of chambers to lead businesses and lead communities,” said Mick Fleming,
president of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).
“These new national findings point to even more direct benefits for
companies willing to be stakeholders in their local chamber.”
The study results had good news for chambers themselves, where
82 percent of respondents indicated that a local chamber of commerce
“creates jobs and promotes economic development.”
“The message from this national study is as simple as it is
ground-breaking,” said Jim Blasingame, small business expert and president
of Small Business Network, Inc. “Join your local chamber, be an active
participant in your chamber’s programs and be sure to let your customers
and prospects know you’re a proud chamber supporter when they come in
your business and when they see your marketing material.”
J. Mac Holladay, CEO of Market Street Services, an economic development
consulting firm based in Atlanta that helped create the study, said,
“It is refreshing to learn what we have suspected for years — that chamber
membership and community involvement are good investments.”
To review the report click here.