It’s Your Family Brand, Own It! (Part 1)

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(Image licensed by Ingram Publishing)

Diana Vollmer |

Emotion, tradition, trust — carry big advantages

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 who 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.”

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 some of those reasons:

FAMILY, PURE AND SIMPLE

Whether the personal family experience has been dysfunctional, chaotic, or a source of constant joy, it is easy to relate to a family, their activities, relationships and interactions and to sympathize and empathize with their situation.

Most people can laugh with them, cry with them and congratulate a job well done. Hence the popularity of the sitcom and also family ownership marketing.

FAMILY = TRUST

There is a predictable yearning for the concept of trust within the family, even if a sworn enemy is a family member and your own family regularly wages “WWIII.”

People like to believe that they can trust and rely on the family.

Use that belief to your advantage: “Thank you for putting your trust in us for the last 53 years.”

FAMILY = SAFETY

Families are supposed to represent a welcoming environment and a safe harbor from the storm of everyday living.

What imagined scene makes you feel safe? Chances are it includes your biological, adoptive or chosen clan. Whatever that image is for you, it probably resonates with others as well.

How can you convey that same safe feeling to your customers and prospects? Does the image of a “Daddy & Daughter Dance” work in your community? A parent teaching a child a new skill can also be powerful.

FAMILY = COMMUNITY

“A sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food and shelter. Feeling that you belong is most important in seeing value in life and in coping with intensely painful emotions,” notes Karyn Hall, Ph.D., another blogger on the Psychology Today website, from her post of March, 2014.

“Some find belonging in a church, some with friends, some with family, and some on Twitter or other social media,” she writes.

That “family” fulfills the longing to belong. As the song goes: “Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name.”Cheers theme song by Gary Portnoy.)

TRADITIONAL VIEW

Whether your family is like the 1950s American TV sitcom Father Knows Best model, a rare example, or it is more like the prevalent Modern Family TV show starring Ed O’Neill, most families have traditions that provide a dependable perspective.

What traditions do you hold dear that resonate in your market? Green Bay fans not only love their Packers, they actually own the team.

Holiday celebrations are traditions that evoke strong emotions. Preparing heirloom tablecloths for important occasions is a good example of a way to tie these strong emotions to increased sales for your business.

Another is care and/or preservation of a family quilt.

LONGEVITY

Multi-generational, family-owned businesses provide an impression of longevity. The age of a business can induce the thought that: “If they have been around that long, they must be good, so I can trust them with my valuable wardrobe.”

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.

About the author

Diana Vollmer

Methods for Management (MFM) Inc.

Managing Director

Diana Vollmer is managing director of Methods for Management (MFM) Inc., a consultancy specializing in drycleaning businesses. You may contact her at dvollmer@mfmi.com, 415-577-6544.

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