6 Ways To Use Family Business Branding To Drive Growth and Maintain Relevance Through The Generations and Adversity
Family businesses have unique dynamics, unlike others, because aside from the ‘normal’ day-to-day challenges, you’ve got the energy between family members which simply doesn’t exist in mainstream organisations. Load on top of this the increased adversity of the current market and you have a potent force. In that context, it can seem like family business branding strategy is really a barely considered afterthought.
But many family businesses realise that to survive and thrive in a business world where large, well-funded companies offer daily competition, effective branding strategy is another way in which family businesses can set themselves apart.
Related: 6 Ways to Develop and Nurture a Successful Brand Culture With a Limited Budget
Just as family businesses benefit from personal familiarity and individual attention, strong branding can be something which emphasizes to customers what is special about them because it enhances their visibility, differences, trustworthiness, credibility and likeability.
Here we look at some simple but effective ways in which a smart approach to family business branding strategy can benefit these unique organisations and make them more profitable — even when times are tough.
Related: Brand Building, 15 Short Term Ways to Build Your Brand for the Long Term
Family businesses often trade on reputation and generational experience, so may not think very deeply about their branding. However, branding strategy offers businesses of all shapes and sizes specific benefits. This is also true for family businesses, as you’ll discover through some of the insights shared in this article with you.
“I really appreciate Lorraine’s energy and passion. Although good branding includes so many facets, Lorraine is able to simplify the process and make it so much more tangible for any company to put into practice.”
Marketing Communication Specialist
1. Family Business Branding Helps Emphasise the Business’s Local Relevance
Family businesses have certain advantages over other businesses which are not run by a family. One such advantage many family businesses have is their clear tie to a specific area or community. This often helps set them apart from larger or chain competitors.
This is evidenced by the growing trend to shop and support local family businesses in all forms because of the impact of Covid-19. It helps customers feel that by shopping at a family business, they are keeping money and jobs local. Research shows that local businesses keep more money in the community than non-locally run ones.
However, even though a family business may be very local, it is not automatically linked to a particular place. To passers by and even regular customers, a professionally run family business may not seem local at all. Family business branding can help make the business’ local connection obvious.
Related: Branding Psychology in Adversity – 7 Ways You Can Embrace Behavioural Shifts to Grow Your Business
As a family business, branding elements such as brand stories, naming and customer experience can make it easier to emphasise the shared heritage, values or knowledge that a family business shares with its customer base.
Related: 4 Ways You Can Be More Customer-Centric to Grow Your Business
A case study is Black & Lizars Optometrists. Many medical providers are local operations, but in recent decades, consolidation by national and international chains, such as Specsavers, mean that what was once a sign of continuity in a community could now be perceived as an indication that the optometrist, doctor or dentist lacks the reach and expertise of a national chain with thousands of staff.
Blacks and Lizars were two optometrists with long, local traditions in the west of Scotland market. By combining, they emphasized their size and reach, but their brand purpose clearly emphasizes their continued service locally over many generations, from older people to Millennials.
Related: How to Use Brand Building and Culture Integration to Unlock More Value from Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures
“An excellent programme that provides an informative guide on how to structure your brand’s development whether you are launching a new brand, refreshing an existing one and/or conducting a review of your brand to ascertain possible weaknesses.”
We know that sometimes it’s a struggle to build a brand strategy that really engages your ideal customers effectively so we’ve developed three different ways of working with us to help you build your brand, depending on your preferences, so if you’d like us to:
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- Empower you to build your brand – check out the Persona 7-Figure Business Building & Brand Strategy Mastermind here. This is a 12 week face-to-face, fully interactive, live online programme for non-competing peer groups. You work on your brand with us codifying and mapping out your brand strategy for business growth. Within 12 weeks your brand strategy is fully developed, with implementation already making a difference in your business. Alternatively, join our half-day Branding Accelerator Masterclass for a fast-injection of brand building essentials. Ask about our Personal and Corporate Leadership Brand Alignment Masterclass
- Want a DIY solution? check out our how to build a brand eprogramme here and our how to audit your brand yourself eprogramme here
“Excellent programme delivered by somebody who is obviously very experienced and knowledgeable in this area.
Love how Lorraine gave a clear but broad range of areas to cover and the process in which it should be done.
There is so much we need to implement but its exciting to think what it will be like when we do.”
“We participated in the Persona 7-Figure Business Building & Brand Strategy Mastermind 12 week online course. The 12 week program suited us as the weekly accountability spurred us on to get work done between sessions.
We found the flow of the course appropriate for the development of the brand through the various areas of the business. Already, we have developed our Customers Persona’s and our Brand Persona adding value to the business.
The course has helped us make more astute decisions in the business such as restructuring our product offerings so we grow more profitable lines and remove those with lower margins.
Lorraine is very helpful and accessible as a tutor with follow up after each working session and the half day masterclass. Most of all the clarity achieved has been most invaluable.
In the first two weeks of March 2020, before Covid-19 required us to close, we were 300% up in our online sales compared to the whole of March 2019 and after reopening April 2020 we were back to 108% by the end of May 2020 — results achieved from applying our brand strategy.”
2. Strong Family Business Branding Suggests Dependability
One of the key things many customers look for in a business is trustworthiness and dependability. If you buy an insurance policy, whether for a bicycle or a portfolio of office buildings, you want to be confident that the insurer will stay in business for the duration of the policy.
Family businesses are often passed down through generations, and so inherently suggest dependability. As in many countries, a lot of Ireland’s oldest businesses are family concerns, from the fabric company Avoca to Malone’s newsagents in Kildare. 
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Customers may have a vague perception about something which is true but is not always obvious to them, such as the longevity of a business. A well-designed brand architecture is an effective way to help solidify such thoughts in the mind of buyers.
Related: Leading in Adversity – 10 Practical Steps to Make Your Brand Work Harder to Grow Your Sales
Customers do not automatically know that a business is a family business. Communicating that to them can help convey some typical benefits of family businesses, such as continuity, long establishment and dependability. This could be done through a simple naming approach, such as using a suffix for the business name such as “and Sons”, or “Bros.” It can also be done through the slogan or brand story, for example “Family Run for Five Generations”.
But even if your business doesn’t have a long history, you can bring the family element to life by using pictures or descriptions of the family members involved, a technique used by manufacturers such as Jackpot Crisps in the UK, who show photos and names of the owning family members on the back of the pack.
O’Donells of Tipperary Handcooked Crisps, is another Irish family crisp business taking a similar approach and tied even more closely to their local provenance through Seskin Farm in seven generations of family since 1725.
Related: Family Business Branding and The Secret Drivers to Brand Success
“Lorraine’s depth of knowledge in branding is immense. I have attended some of her courses and also see first hand the benefits Persona Branding & Design can bring to a business. I am always happy to recommend Lorraine.”
3. Family Business Branding Emphasises Multi-Generational Expertise
A family business operating across generations can be good in many different ways. One is that involving younger and older people in the business at the same time allows different generational viewpoints to influence the business. This can be invaluable because it shows that a business understands the needs of both children and parents simultaneously internally and, more importantly, externally from a customer perspective.
A case in point is Massey Bros., a firm of funeral directors established in the 1930s. Through their brand strategy they’ve been able to leverage the company’s long-established reputation, whilst also emphasising its relevance to the contemporary generation. For example in the establishment of a civil and religious funeral venue with online viewing options, a national first.
Related: Branding in a Crisis, 5 Practical Steps so You Match to the Moment Brilliantly
Related: Branding for Women, Why Women are Redefining Brands and Branding
Are you a business leader, family business owner or manager or entrepreneur who wants to re-evaluate or build your brand strategy so you can use family business branding strategy effectively to increase your sales? Are you curious about how to build or scale a highly successful standout brand? Join one of our branding workshops because they empower you to build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value so you can command a premium.
In fact, the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind is all about fast-tracking you, your brand and your business through the brand building, agile branding strategy process using professional big-brand know-how with proven systems that get results so you can grow your business faster and more effectively.
The programme enables you to make your brand highly visible, different, credible, trustworthy, memorable and much loved amongst your ideal customers so you can become more profitable and leave your competitors way behind. Be The One — your ideal customers’ favourite brand of preferred choice commanding a premium.
If you want a tailor-made solution specifically for your brand then we also provide inhouse bespoke Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Intensives working with you and your team so you can grow your business faster and more profitably. Contact us to discover more [email protected] or +353 1 8322724
“An exceptionally talented individual. Lorraine Carter, Persona Branding and Design has a wonderful ability to ‘horizon scan’ for any business and then bring them on a journey that delivers value to their Balance Sheet.”
Technology Ireland & ICT Skillnet
4. Branding a Family Business Adds Professional Credibility
One downside of a family business is that customers and employees can perceive that employment prioritizes family membership over expertise. This can be a turnoff, especially for services where skill and knowledge are highly valued. In those scenarios it can be particularly challenging to attract high-performing top talent.
A brand can provide a professional image and tone of voice which reassures customers that the family business is fully professional. Brand positioning, brand identity and brand collateral are some of the elements which can help capture and convey such a brand, so that customers see the benefits of family involvement while also having the reassurance of externally validated professionalism.
Related: How to Develop Your Brand Tone of Voice to Increase Sales
A recent case study is the rapid growth of Spotlight Whitening. This oral care company was set up by two sisters in Ireland who are both dentists. The story of them being sisters and their image is a key part of Spotlight’s brand communication, as seen in this video.
However, rather than making the sister’s story interchangeable with the brand story, the use of the Spotlight Whitening brand adds a layer of professional objectivity and credibility. Thus, customers can feel that they are dealing with a company of oral care experts first and foremost, with the sisters’ story an important reason to believe, but not the only one. They are the voice and visionaries behind the brand — not the brand itself which is an important distinction.
Related: Why Do I Need A Brand? I’ve Got A Great Product and a Logo
5. Family Business Branding Can Help Separate the Business as a Stand Alone Entity of Value from the People in the Business
As a business passes down from one generation to the next, there is the risk of losing customers. Customers can build loyalty assigned to a particular person and when they stop working, they change suppliers. Hairdressing businesses, decorating businesses and professional consultants are all typical examples. A standalone brand can help build and nurture customer loyalty to the business, not just to a family member while they are working in the business. This helps ensure brand loyalty transfers through the generations.
A brand can also provide some level of privacy to family members in their private lives. If family members live and work in the same community, it can be hard for them to dissociate from the business outside of working hours. A brand which puts some distance between the business and the family name can help.
A case study which demonstrates why this can be important is the demise of restaurants associated with the famous chef Jamie Oliver. Oliver’s name was undoubtedly a powerful one, so it is understandable that it was used in branding these restaurants.
However, when the restaurant business went off the boil, the use of the chef’s name led to a lot of anger being directed at him personally, as shown in this video. A smart approach to family branding could have enabled the business to benefit from the association with Oliver, without being so directly connected to him as one person.
Related: What’s In A Brand Name? Lessons Learned From 5 Brands Who Made A Change
“For anyone who has a well established business I would totally recommend working with Persona Design because it will provide them with a new perspective on how to think of their brand. You see in different markets and industries that are overly competitive what makes the difference is knowing what exactly your business is all about and why people would choose you instead of any other competitor.
What makes you different from all the other service or product providers in the market because that’s what’s going to make your business be the No.1 choice in the range of those specific products or services that you’re providing. Also that’s what’s going to make your brand stand out and have a long lasting life and thrive in the context of where you’re operating and delivering value. So totally go for it!
This framework provides you with a lot of insight and more than that, with a systematic process that’s easy for you to understand, easy for you to grasp, easy for you to work with so you finally nail what makes you different in your business, and what you are about and what those key points are that resonate with your audience.”
6. Branding Strategy Helps Family Businesses Expand
Over generations, family businesses often accumulate skill and capital which makes it relatively easy to expand. But if the business is not properly branded, when they enter a new location or market segment, they will often struggle to benefit from that recognition and awareness. A strong brand strategy helps businesses expand by enabling them to build brand awareness and loyalty.
Related: What’s a Brand Guide and How Can it Help Your Business?
Sometimes a family business gets pigeonholed into a certain type of work. A brand is a good way to communicate a more flexible approach or multifaceted offering, which can make it easier to expand.
For example, if someone asked you who owned Dublin-based clothing chain Primark, what answer would you give? Many people would be surprised to learn that the correct answer is Associated British Foods.
Although publicly listed, the large corporation is controlled by the Weston family, who have been involved with it for several generations. Through a careful strategy of corporate branding and operating brands, the family business has succeeded in running a diverse conglomerate highlighted in this video, with interests spanning from fast fashion to sugar refining and supermarkets.
Related: How Branding Strategy is Different to Marketing
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Working with Lorraine has been both enlightening and enjoyable. Her blueprint for defining a brand is extremely comprehensive and challenged us to think very deeply about what we offer to our customers and really understand what underpins our success.
Lorraine is extremely knowledgeable, very focused and supportive and leads you through the process and ensured we got maximum benefits from the investment we made.”
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Lorraine Carter is a branding expert and international speaker delivering talks that inspire and motivate along with masterclasses and workshops that inform and support transformational outcomes fast, and consultancy expertise that solves problems — using agile branding strategy underpinned by professional big-brand know-how — so you can outshine, outperform and leave your competitors way behind.
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A family business enjoys a number of advantages which can help to set it apart from non-family businesses. Using a well thought out brand strategy can help bring these to life in a way which helps the business.
It can emphasise a family business’s local relevance, dependability, and expertise from different generations or family members. At the same time, it can draw a subtle distinction between the business and specific family members, helping to sustain the value of the business over different generations.
Questions to Consider
- What advantages does the family connection add to your business from a customer’s perspective?
- How would customers know that your business is a family business from its branding?
- Does your family business proactively communicate its multi-generational expertise? How?
- What professional credibility would customers seek from your business? How does your branding help to convey this?
- Does your family brand rely too heavily on a single individual within the family?
- Could a brand audit help you identify possible vulnerabilities so you can mitigate them, strengths so you can leverage them better and new opportunities for innovation and growth?
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Get in touch today because we’d love to enable you to re-evaluate and build your standout, powerhouse brand so you can Be The One — increase your profits and leave your competitors way behind.
Email us [email protected] or ring us +35318322724 (GMT 9:00-17:30) and ask about our VIP Brand Strategy Re-Evaluation.
“Lorraine Carter is my branding mentor, she’s the person that showed me how to improve my personal and business brands — they were a mess when she initially looked at what we had — and she blew my mind! I’ve paid high fees to other ‘supposed’ brand consultants who only had 30% of her in-depth expertise and they couldn’t deliver on what we needed.
She gives you the key foundations and lays things out in an easy to use system which gives you all the essentials needed to make your brand stand out, to make your brand highly visible. If you use her branding strategy system you’ll soon have everyone talking about your product or service to become No.1 in your market.
Lorraine takes no name companies and transforms them into household brand names. Most importantly, she’s great fun, absolutely passionate about branding and she’ll entertain you whilst demystifying branding and making the unknown clearer — because designing a logo is only a tiny part of your entire branding process.
I would highly recommend the Mastermind programme to every entrepreneur who wants to be more successful and have a clear message driven by their brand.”
Thank you so much Lorraine for all your help. We wouldn’t be so well known in the USA, UK or Romania if it wasn’t for your direction and input to develop and build our brand.”
If you’re interested in the brand strategy that will take you to the next level, that will put you on the market in a premium position, Lorraine Carter is the person to assist you in getting there with specific elements and with specific tools that simply work. All you have to do is focus and know what you want — she provides the tool kit you need to accomplish your goals.”
Founder, PR, Communications & Media Relations Consultant