Entrepreneurs can’t escape evolution – it’s inevitable and if you fight it, your family business will become stagnant. If your family business is still operating the way it did 10 years ago or before Google, Amazon and Facebook were invented, you’re behind the curve and you could be losing lots of business.
In all business classes, change is crucial and that includes family businesses that have been passed down through generations. Whether it means minor tweaks like updating the company logo, or major ones, like hiring a professional marketing company to put your business on the map, change is crucial and every family business can afford to be spruced up a bit. Even if the first steps feel awkward, they can be warmly welcomed by customers.
What lessons can entrepreneurs learn from household names like Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, and McDonald’s about rebranding their family businesses? Here are some tips to take your brand to the next level.
1. Embrace Change
Before you dive into a successful refreshing campaign, think about what needs to change and why. What is your business lacking, and what can you do to evolve and serve your customers better? Embrace change and be open to adjusting the way you do business to better fulfill your customers’ needs.
2. Look at the Big Picture
Take stock of your business’s strengths and weaknesses, not just a snapshot but the big picture. And, before you take on the “sprucing up” of the family business, focus on: 1) the problem you’re solving and 2) making it a companywide mission to solve it.
3. Ask Around
Before you put a dollar into your campaign, ask around and talk to everyone – your employees, your customers, and industry experts. Get their opinions about your products, services, and brand and what can be done to improve it.
Get down to the nitty gritty. Find out what they like and don’t like about your company. Do they suggest a little refreshing or a complete overhaul? Are your prices competitive and how do you rate in terms of customer satisfaction and branding? Your market research will help steer the course for your journey.
4. Consider Your Industry
How well do you know your market and industry? Has the market changed within your industry in recent years? Is it evolving? Are your customers changing? Is your product or service still meeting the demands of your customers or is it lagging behind? If your product or service is becoming less relevant, it’s time to evolve with the times.
5. Know Your Competition
It’s important to research your competition and look for gaps in the market. What do your customers need that your competitors aren’t supplying? Can you partner with other businesses to help expand your reach and get your product or service into more hands?
6. Think Outside Your Customer Base
Part of updating your family business may be expanding beyond your existing customer base. This could mean targeting customers outside your niche audience vs. developing a whole new line of products or services for the customers you already have. When you appeal to a wider customer base, it can make up for the ebb and flow of existing customer demands.
7. Stay True to Your Values
Your customer base may expand and your marketing may evolve with technology, but hold true to the original values that your loyal customers love, especially if those values keep the referrals coming in the door. For example, if your family business built its reputation based on excellent customer service, you don’t want to lose that. Keep your customer service as strong as ever. Only dispose of core values if they’re no longer relevant.
8. Create a Brand Positioning Statement
For the sake of continuity among your employees, create a brand positioning statement that encompasses your core values, your target market, your products and services, and the impact your company has on the community.
Once you make the necessary tweaks (minor or major) to your family business, your customers may be inclined to identify with your previous brand, especially if the company has been around for generations. To avoid confusion and encourage support of your “improvements,” make sure every element of the business reflects the new image, from the sign outside your building to your company’s website, to your social media presence, your ads, and direct mailers.
Evolving a family business so it’s current with the times is much more than a new logo and a fresh website. At its core, it’s about making a promise and delivering it. To learn more about successfully refreshing a family-owned business, contact us to work closely with a business coach who can help you make a plan for brand domination.