How to take your family-owned business to the next level with marketing

Numerous polls suggest that a vast majority of consumers would prefer to purchase goods and services from small, family-owned companies as opposed to corporate giants, with 72% of consumers saying that they trust family-owned businesses more (Source: Grow Media). Much of this has to do with perception: consumers perceive family businesses as more honest. We associate the term with companies built from the ground up, owned and operated by multigenerational families that know their local community well. This means that family businesses have a unique opportunity to leverage their special status in their marketing activities.

We know from our work with some of Scotland’s best family-owned businesses that managing a family business is hard work but rewarding. The biggest obstacle that most family businesses face is increasing sales. Marketing is the key to attracting new customers and landing more sales, but the strategies you’ve been using for years may not be as effective as they once were. Here are five tips to help you take your family business to the next level with marketing.

Don’t bury your heritage

Many family-owned businesses worry that advertising their identity weakens the brand; in fact, the opposite is true. Crafting the story of your business and publishing your history on your website and social media channels allows customers to know and appreciate the real people behind the products. You should be singing about your history as loud as you possibly can and for as long as anyone will listen. This will increase your credibility within the sector and make your brand more authentic to those who want to buy from you.

Don’t be afraid to scrap tradition and innovate

Just because your company was founded in 1906 doesn’t mean that you should continue to run your business as if it’s 1906. For multi-generational businesses, it’s all too easy to continue doing the things that were successful in the past. Being open to change – embracing new trends, marketing strategies, social media platforms, and new customer demographics – is the key to evolving gracefully and sustaining your business.

Communicating your responsibilities and values

Customers want to feel appreciated by the companies they shop with and that their values align with their own. Highlighting the good that your family business does as part of your branding could be the difference between capturing consumers’ hearts and failing to do so. Social responsibility reflects how a business values society and its actions speak to its purpose in aiding it. A 2018 survey by PwC revealed that family businesses that wore their values and purposes on their sleeve saw better returns and greater longevity.

Get to know your customers

It’s easy to assume that you know your customers, especially if your company has been in business in your local area for several generations. Do you know your customer’s shopping habits, or which marketing forms are most effective with your target audience? By defining your target customer, you can work towards creating meaningful and mutually beneficial connections with them.

Bring in a professional

When you’re surrounded by family, it is especially difficult to view your business objectively or to accurately assess your marketing strategies. Bringing in a third-party to manage your marketing strategy allows for new ideas, a fresh voice, and innovative solutions to revamp and expand your marketing efforts.

Need help taking your family business to the next level? Get in touch, we’d love to help.

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