SAN FRANCISCO — Family-owned businesses are prevalent in fabricare.
They have the same issues, concerns and opportunities as non-family owned companies. They also have additional challenges and considerations.
However, very importantly, they enjoy additional competitive advantages that can be leveraged to make the company grow and prosper along with the family that owns it. Among these advantages are emotional feelings of trust and reputation that the “family” engenders.
According to an online blog at Psychology Today about how emotions influence what we buy: “Most people believe that the choices they make result from a rational analysis of available alternatives,” wrote Peter Noel Murray, Ph.D., in his Feb. 2013, post.
“In reality, however, emotions greatly influence and, in many cases, even determine our decisions,” he noted, adding: “The influential role of emotion in consumer behavior is well documented.”
In fact, a great deal of consumer research has focused on the role of emotion versus the rational determination in consumer choice.
The power of emotion is a convincing reason that family businesses have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Here are more of those reasons:
Families create an instant brand, and specifically a brand with a personality or several personalities, to whom consumers can relate.
It is no coincidence that many families appear in their own marketing and advertising campaigns. Family members provide an instant mental image of the business that is uniquely its own (good or bad). These ads are often the ones you love to hate and/or mock, but they are so prevalent because they work for the companies they represent and yield the hoped-for resulting sales.
Customers like to watch the life cycle progression and see the photos of Christenings, the first day of school, the recital, graduation, first job, wedding, celebration of life, etc. All of these images engender empathy and present opportunities to remind customers of your services at the same time.
The family name on the door exhibits a sense of pride in the product or service and conveys the feeling that the family stands behind the quality and desirability of their “creation.” No one wants to tarnish the family reputation by disappointing their clientele. The business and the family are so intricately related that for image purposes they are one and the same.
Storytelling is an effective form of engaging the consumer in your offering by showing how someone else benefited by using the product or service.
Families not only provide the personalities that are needed in successful marketing stories, but they also provide characters that people can root for.
As in home life, business dynasties have engaging life cycles that can interest the community. Land O’Lakes was named a “Business2Community Top 4 Storyteller” by focusing on family life.
The Land O’Lakes website — of an agricultural cooperative based in Minnesota — offers a well-made (emotionalizing) storytelling example in content marketing.
In September, two-thirds of the company home page is filled with illustrated seasonal recipe ideas. These include the characteristic Jack O’Lantern, back to school recipes, and apple-based baked goods.
The focus lies on (American) cooking and family life.
Further, blog posts such as Ask Becky and The story of my S’mores obsession, suggest an emotional story line of helpful guidance coupled with family fun.
As such, the company’s products gets branded as “family friendly,” and appeal specifically to an American market.
Your family business website can easily show emotional life events that require professional fabricare preparation and/or follow-up. The Ask The Expert (meaning “you”) Q & A format has been used successfully in this industry by many companies.
Another impressive example of leveraging the family business is represented in Boston, where Anton’s Cleaners created the “Belle of the Ball” prom dress collection drive.
This is a source of community service, volunteerism, pride of purpose, wonderfully emotional stories, lots of PR and, yes, a great deal of business resulting from the many consumers who see these stories and applaud what the family and company have contributed to the city and its residents.
To successfully tie the family brand to the company brand, the family should meet at least quarterly to review the business goals and to discuss the alternatives for reinforcing those goals through family involvement.
To read Part 1, go HERE.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].