The Denison Area Chamber of Commerce is considering ways to increase its services and the value of chamber membership for local businesses. The fresh look at its services comes as the Chamber saw a change in leadership late last year with new President Diana Theall stepping in to head up the organization.
“One of the biggest questions we always get is why join the Chamber — what can the Chamber do for me,” Theall said during the Denison Development Alliance’s recent annual economic development conference. “By being a member of your local chamber, you are instantly joined with a group of like-minded people dedicated to helping local business — not just their business, but yours as well.”
Theall said the efforts to revitalize and renew the Chamber started shortly after she joined as the new president in September. With the change, the board of directors refocused its efforts by creating a new mission statement for the organization.
“At our annual retreat, our board of directors came up with a new mission,” Theall said. “It is to promote and serve as an advocate for our community and our businesses. Simply, our goal is to increase local commerce. That is what we do.”
One of the biggest pieces of this effort will be educating members of the ChamberMaster online program which will allow members to have their own small website through the Denison Chamber. Theall said the Chamber has used the program in the past, but it has been mostly underutilized, she said.
Through the ChamberMaster program, Theall said members can update a small profile for their individual business. As an example, a business could list a sale or other promotion that visitors to the Chamber site can see.
“It is a great program and it does a lot of things, but we need to learn how to use it,” Theall said.
The Chamber is also considering options to include advertising for area businesses on its newsletter, Theall said. Other advertising opportunities include two new carousel racks at the Chamber that can be used to advertise area businesses and carry the opportunity for sponsorships.
With these new efforts, the organization is also looking to rebrand its long-standing ambassador program. Theall said the ambassador program recently met for the first time since she took leadership at the Chamber and agreed to change the group’s name.
Moving forward, the ambassador program will be known as the “gold coats,” which is a play on the industry-standard red coats. These members will serve as a face and outreach effort for the Chamber into the community and to new businesses. As an example, the gold coats will take over the Chamber’s annual clay shoot fundraiser, Theall said.
On average, similar groups in other chambers would make up about one-10th of the membership, but currently the gold coats would need to grow by about 20 members to reach this mark, Theall said.