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Why Branding is vital to your family owned business

  • Written by Stella Gianotto

Once available only to large corporations, branding is now more accessible and vitally important to every size (and type) of family business, including yours.

But what is branding and how does it contribute to your business' success?

Branding achieves considerably more than a clever name or a slick logo does, think of iconic Australian brand Akubra, who has been making wide brimmed hats for over 130 years. With a little known fact, that their name is “believed to be derived from an Aboriginal word for head covering”.1

It is more ingrained than a catchy tag line, such as the one that Walter Kennard (aka Wally) from Kennards Hire said back in 1948, “I won't lend it to you, but I'll hire it to you.” 2

And it’s even more enduring than your latest advertisement or marketing campaign, such Sandhurst Fine Foods radio commercial, where CEO, Mimmo Lubrano* tells Maria to ‘put down the artichokes…’ 3

Branding doesn't replace these important business development or marketing strategies, especially ones that have become part of the Australian business landscape. Branding inspires them, it focuses the strategy, gives it purpose – AND it gives it a long-term impact.

Branding is the driving force behind WHY consumers purchase your product when there are many competitors or overseas knock-offs available to them. The top of mind recall, known as ‘brand awareness’ inspires your customers to buy your product, with just a little extra push.

When Does Branding Start?

Whether you realised it or not, your brand was established from the day you started your family business.

In many cases, the brand remains hidden and ineffective. Once revealed and used, a brand can breathe new life into both the business, the family and the business owners.

It's never too late to brand or even re-brand your family owned business. Big businesses do it regularly as their market and competition change. We’ve all tasted one of the brewed soft drinks from Bundaberg Brewed Drinks (family owned since 1960) whose CEO, John McLean was quoted as saying “Once we took the time and didn’t have to talk about someone else’s brand… we were able to grow our brand and take our business further and further afield,” 4. This is part of the reason they are a global business and now export to over 32 countries today.

Small businesses can, and should, consider undergoing a branding exercise as part of any major investment, such as redesigning marketing and sales materials, or for an advertising or social media marketing campaign.

In addition to improving the initial response to your initiative, a brand will create a lasting impression on the marketplace, for both current as well as potential customers. For Bundaberg, part of their re-brand was to focus on their core offering and what they did well “brewing ginger beer in that familiar stubby bottle”.

In turn, this will improve long-term sales and recognition.

And unlike many promotions, sales efforts won't have to rely on lower prices and reductions in profit margins to gain more market share either locally or abroad, in an attempt to increase your brand awareness.

Establishing and Maintaining a Brand

As with most marketing activities, branding is a specialty skill that every family business should pursue diligently. Family businesses (in particular) should be attentive to branding strategies – according to Forbes “family-owned businesses seem more stable, more customer-friendly, more approachable and more trustworthy” *. It goes on further to say that “even the appearance of a family connection increases market visibility and consumer trust” 5 for any family owned brand.

Once you are able to understand this concept, you (and your family business) are ready to dive into the world of branding. The best introduction to this great marketing strategy should come from a branding expert who will help you get to the heart and soul of your business and articulate its hidden brand message.

Once revealed, your enticing brand message will resonate with your target market and will distinctly differentiate your product from your competitors.

Investing in your branding right from the outset, with a branding expert, will see your next stage of business growth resulting in dividends accruing quickly and continuously, and potentially global expansion ahead too.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

1. Akubra Reference - https://everythingaustralian.com.au/shop-by-brands/akubra.html, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akubra

2. Kennards Reference - https://www.kennards.com.au/our-story

3. Sandhurst Fine Foods Reference - https://www.mybusiness.com.au/management/125-my-business-meets-mimmo-lubrano-ceo-of-sandhurst-fine-foods

4. Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Reference - https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/three-big-australian-companies-that-are-still-family-run-20170825-p4yvjw.html , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundaberg_Brewed_Drinks

5. Forbes Reference - https://www.forbes.com/sites/francoisbotha/2018/07/24/why-branding-as-a-family-owned-business-puts-you-ahead-of-the-pack/#35aa1579e521

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