Chambers generally have good name recognition. People may not know what they do but they do know of them. Sadly, many chambers have to fight the reputation of being an out-of-date organization for businesses. Some people think they’re a government entity. So how do you shed this reputation and build one of a modern, valuable community resource?
Chamber Pros Tackle the Traditional Chamber Model
The chamber pros in the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook recently debated the topic and here’s what they had to say:
- The problem is leadership. Brian Anderson from the Great Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce said, “The purpose and need for Chamber leadership isn’t in jeopardy. Chamber leaders who aren’t capable of providing the leadership and the vision communities need is the problem.” Susan Marino added that “Many at the top have not even owned a business in their lifetime much less understand their needs.” Rob Bradham from the Dalton Chamber of Commerce believes “Ongoing relevancy for a local Chamber comes as much from being the leader driving positive change in your community as it does from promoting members.”
- Community promotion is essential. Jo Caskey from the Kimball County Visitor’s Center shared her view that “The Chamber’s role should, first and always, be to promote the business membership through promotion, referrals, testimony, etc. The Chamber is the front door of the community, so promote your community next. Whether you do this digitally or old school does not matter. What matters is that you do it and your members know that you do!”
- Try something new. Sometimes as a chamber leader, you need to do something that no one in your community has ever done before. Be open to the possibility. Katie Stice from the La Quinta Chamber of Commerce advises, “Collaborate. Merge. Change the game. Read this about how chambers can get stuck in the cycle of smallness.”
Registration for the 2017 Chamber Pros Online Conference is NOW OPEN! (Get the details)