Better Business Bureau

San Jose, CA
Spring-Summer 2016
Project Location
San Jose, CA
Project Type
Full team
Project Focus
Marketing & Communications,
Strategic Planning
Organization Type
Community or Economic Development


Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles Silicon Valley (BBBLASV) is the largest of 110 independent Better Business Bureau offices throughout North America. Serving Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, the BBBLASV monitors over 420,000 CA businesses. BBBLASV is a $2.5 mm organization, with their primary revenue source being fees collected from 5,000 qualified clients for the right to display BBB’s “Accredited Business” logo. The BBB mission is to foster trust and ethical behavior in commerce and to uphold high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Consumers are given free access to BBB’s business reviews and dispute resolution services. Over two million consumer inquiries were received in 2015, and over 65,000 consumer complaints processed within this BBB’s area alone. BBBLASV has 26 staff members and is headquartered in San Jose with a branch office in downtown Los Angeles.


How should the Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles and Silicon Valley (BBBLASV) respond to emerging competitors?


With the advent of the Internet and the growth of social media, the competitive environment has undergone significant change. In addition to BBB, consumers have easy access to Yelp, Angie’s List, Diamond Certified and others. The effect has been to dilute the perceived value of being a BBB “Accredited Business.” BBBLASV is particularly concerned that younger consumers are unaware of BBB’s capabilities and its 100-year history. Millennials, having grown up with social media, are more likely to utilize mobile devices and source Google and Yelp rather than BBB.  An added challenge is negative publicity resulting from the expulsion of the previous BBB Los Angeles office for encouraging pay-to-play accreditation and lax controls. In January 2014, BBBLASV annexed Los Angeles County and is attempting to repair its image through focused PR programs. However, BBBLASV feels that an umbrella marketing strategy is needed to restore trust in the BBB and support efforts to grow the number of clients and retain existing accredited businesses.

Project Overview

BBBLASV is asking for ACT’s help in developing a strategic marketing plan that will increase awareness among an increasingly diverse pool of consumers while enhancing the perceived value of the “Accredited Business” certification for existing clients and prospects alike.  The project will likely involve identifying competitive advantages, reinforcing the BBB brand, setting communication objectives and recommending communication channels, all within a marketing framework.