How to improve brand awareness

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By Bob Linscheid

At the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, we are often asked how a business can stand apart from the crowd. After all, there are thousands of small, medium and large businesses in San Francisco — all eager for publicity and exposure to a wider audience.

One solution, of course, is to amass a large advertising and marketing budget. But not everyone has the deep pockets necessary to generate widespread — or even niche — awareness to position their brand before potential customers and investors. So what can you do?

We have an answer: Apply for the Chamber’s Excellence in Business Awards, the Bay Area’s most highly regarded business awards program. This is the ideal time to celebrate business. Unemployment is low, businesses are creating new opportunities for growth, investment and opportunities, and tax revenue from businesses supports our city’s services.

The Excellence in Business Awards, known as the Ebbies, spotlight the achievements of local businesses. Award recipients and finalists alike enjoy the admiration and pride that comes from being recognized as among the best of San Francisco’s business community.

“We’re honored for the recognition of the impact our efforts are having on education and of our dedication to improving learning through engagement and technology,” said Jim Donohue, Chief Product Officer for Cengage Learning, after Cengage was announced as a finalist last year for the Innovation Through Technology Award.

Or as Boxbee, an on-demand storage provider, said in a Tweet: “Big thank you to @SF_Chamber for recognizing us as a 2014 #Ebbies award finalist. We feel so honored!”

We have a strong track record of picking winners that have and will continue to accomplish great feats. Back in 2003, a year before the company went public, we recognized Salesforce.com with the Emerging Growth Award.

We’ve also recognized leaders in the big and small business communities, such as Wells Fargo, San Francisco International Airport and One Kings Lane.

More recently, we recognized NerdWallet for its goal of providing information that educates consumers in making financial decisions, and Bluxome Street Winery, headquartered here in San Francisco, with the Small Business Award.

This year we are offering awards in eight categories such as Innovation through Technology, Emerging Growth, and Small Business Woman of the Year. See award descriptions and apply online here. To be considered for an award, just fill out a short application with a few questions describing what makes your company a great candidate for the award you’re applying for.

Finalists will be honored on November 19 at a gala at the Westin St. Francis San Francisco attended by more than 500 civic and business leaders.
Less than two weeks remain until the August 15 deadline to submit nominations so act now! You can find all of the information on the Chamber’s website, www.sfchamber.com.

Bob Linscheid is president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

This article first appeared in the Aug. 6, 2015 edition of the San Francisco Examiner.