Numerous polls suggest that the vast majority of consumers 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 than non-family companies (Grow Media).
Much of this has to do with perception: consumers perceive family businesses as more trustworthy, stable, and approachable. We associate the term with companies built from the ground up, owned and operated by multigenerational families that know their local community well.
Nonetheless, we know from our work with some of Scotland’s best family-owned businesses that managing a business of this kind is hard work. Many family-run businesses struggle to drive sales due to outdated methods and growing market competition.
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. As one of Scotland’s leading PR and marketing agencies, we have a few tips up our sleeve that will help you take your family business to the next level.
Don’t bury your heritage
Family-owned businesses often worry that advertising their identity weakens the brand; in fact, the opposite is true. Sharing the story of your business on your website and social media channels allows customers to know and appreciate the real people behind the brand.
Doing so increases your credibility within the sector and shows brand authenticity, strengthening the relationship between you and your consumers.
Don’t be afraid to scrap tradition
Just because your company was founded in 1906 doesn’t mean that you should continue to run your business as if it were 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.
Just look at our results for William Purves funeral directors, which celebrates its 135th anniversary this year!
Communicate 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 is key to capturing consumers’ hearts.
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. The reality is people change, and your audience will evolve over time. It’s wise to review your target market at regular intervals.
Do you know your customer’s shopping habits, or which marketing content is most effective with your target audience? By defining your ideal audience, 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.
And it just so happens we know just the Scottish marketing agency for you!
Need help taking your family business to the next level? Get in touch, we’d love to help.