Helping SBAM Garden for Economic Growth

Helping SBAM Garden for Economic Growth

As part of the celebration of 35 years of MessageMakers, we're telling the stories of 35 great projects throughout our history. This is one of them.

The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) is the statewide association that focuses on serving the needs of Michigan’s small business community and improving the business climate and conditions in which small businesses operate in Michigan.

In 2010, SBAM wanted to promote its new “economic gardening” initiatives and also draw in new members to help them achieve their vision. In particular, SBAM was planning an annual meeting at which they wanted to roll out the economic gardening idea with a splash. MessageMakers was brought in to assist with these goals.

“For them we worked to produce a video to help tell their story, build their membership, and then an event that was all about economic gardening,” said Tom Lietz, senior video producer.

2010-2011 SBAM board chair Cynthia Kay explained that “economic gardening means that we are going to grow our own small businesses, and we’re going to grow them from the ground up. […] What we really need to do is rebalance. We’re demanding a major policy shift away from hunting and towards the cultivation of home-grown firms. Instead of throwing tax breaks at large companies, let’s put some dollars into helping Michigan entrepreneurs launch and grow their own small enterprises.”

Watch more of her speech here:

This theme of economic gardening was promoted throughout the event, including by using small plants as table decorations and favors to remind attendees of the importance of this strategy.

The event also included a debate among 6 candidates then vying for the governor's office: Virg Bernero, Mike Bouchard, Mike Cox, Tom George, Pete Hoekstra, and Rick Snyder.

MessageMakers converted its IMAG videography of the events of the annual meeting to brief YouTube versions with light motion graphics (linked above) to present the most important content to a broader audience and allow attendees to share what they experienced with their contacts. This was especially important with SBAM’s encouragement to hold legislators accountable and evaluate candidates (gubernatorial and otherwise) on the basis of their support for small businesses

“[Economic gardening] was something that people picked up and ran with outside of SBAM, which is always kind of exciting,” said Lietz.

Meanwhile, the 3-minute promotional video focuses in on the value of membership as shared in the stories of members’ experiences and some brief description of services and advocacy, pulling potential members in to learn more. Watch here: