How to Promote your Family-Owned Business

If you’re a family-owned business, now’s the time to sing it from the rooftops! Did you know that 60% of consumers prefer to buy from family-owned businesses, according to Family Business Magazine1? Why is this so? A few data points that illustrate the family business legacy appeal: 

  • Team Cohesion Over World Domination: Family businesses are more interested in getting the right talent than in profitability. According to a recent survey, 85 percent of family businesses described “attracting and retaining the best talent” as an important personal goal, compared to 76 percent who selected “improving profitability”.2
  • Pride of Ownership: More than 70 percent of survey participants said their company values create a competitive advantage. When we engage in a transaction that feels personal and pride-based, we feel better about the purchase and more loyal to the purveyor.
  • Staying Power: Family businesses make up more than half the world’s GDP. They are engines of growth and catalysts for recovery in times of challenge.
  • Pragmatism: Family-owned businesses embody several characteristics that make it unsurprising that they are the force behind economic recovery: commitment to values, long-term thinking, and sensible financial leverage.
  • Warm Fuzzies for Family-Owned: According to Forbes4, family-owned businesses enjoy a more attractive profile (or company “story”), increased consumer confidence, and more profitability. Communities like to support their own, and as the largest companies become absurdly powerful, the desire to purchase from neighborhood shops and smaller online stores is increasingly appealing.

“Talk to the Hand” vs Family-Owned Hand Shake

When dealing with a behemoth, publicly traded company, have you ever felt like you’re not actually the customer? Like the end-customer is actually Wall Street and its shareholders, and you’re working for them? When dealing with the largest phone, utilities, and wifi providers, many of us have experienced the frustration of receiving the bare minimum of customer service, including hours of annoying hold music, phone trees, and chat bots circling the drain. Large companies seem to know the very least they can provide in order to keep us coming back, especially if they dominate the market and we have few options. 

On the other hand, as large businesses seem to offer less in the way of personal touch, the appeal of family-owned business continues to grow. This pull is fueled by a unique customer loyalty born of a desire to connect on a personal, human to human basis (even if the transaction is online!).  

Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

Branding Your Family-Owned Business

Running a family-owned business is a multi-generational job that consumers equate with customer commitment, reliability, resilience, and innovation. The business origin story of a family-owned business is uniquely compelling. Who started the business and why? How has it changed over time with the involvement of new family members and influence of outside economic and other factors? Leverage these unique characteristics in your branding to grow your business for future generations: 

Celebrate Anniversaries Every Year

Remind customers they’s supporting a family-run business year after year with customized products that advertise your years in service, generations involved in the business, or newest family members. Whether yours is a multi-generational family business or your company origin story began 10 years ago, these pens offer room to personalize: 

Design Wrap Color Accent Contour Pen: Tell them all about when your business started and which generation’s at the helm, with this completely customizable, very comfortable pen!  

Paragon Anniversary Pen: Help customers keep your family business in mind year over year as you distribute this sophisticated pen marking your years (or decades!) in business.  

Get Involved in the Community

Chances are good that among your family members you have the chance to support all ages within the community, from youth sports teams to senior centers to neighbors in need. Sponsor events and advertise family-centric facts like the number of years you’ve been part of the community, the generations your business has spanned, and how you’ve changed and grown up over the years. 

Build Your Family Run Business for the Long-Haul

Based on the findings of a study done by business consultant PwC3 on family business in the U.S. , there are a few areas to keep in mind as you move your family business forward:   

Sustainability: It is difficult for small businesses to commit to sustainability due to economies of scale that favor the big guys. But family-owned businesses, especially those that are actively incorporating and empowering the younger generation, stand to make great strides in this area. And when your business does, be sure to promote this in signage and advertisements. Promote your commitment to sustainability with gifts with purchase that underscore the point, like an Eco-Friendly Bamboo Arlington Pen or a Grande Full Color 16 oz. Eco-Friendly Reusable Coffee Cup made out of reclaimed wheat straw. 

Put Your Values on Paper: Documenting your family business values helps everyone involved in the business to keep their eyes on the prize and make decisions that reflect agreed upon priorities. Many family-owned businesses don’t officially document their mission or values, thinking they are perhaps intrinsic and self-evident. But writing them down allows objectivity that’s important for family dynamics. Include a slogan that helps reinforce your company’s core values, and imprint it with your logo on tote bags and other promotional items, so customers share in your vision.  

Next Gen Knows More: Make a conscious decision to involve the younger generation in moving, growing, and modernizing your family-owned business. Especially when it comes to important initiatives like sustainability, ecommerce, social media and other digital enhancements, the best way to keep future generations interested is to allow and encourage them to make their mark.  

Family-Run Requires Perpetual Pivots

Like all successful businesses, when you’re in it to win it the environment is dynamic. The benefit of succeeding within a family-run business is an unparalleled sense of personal fulfillment, connection with customers, living your values, and taking care of your own. Make sure your customers know you’re family run, highlight the multi-generational team doing the running, and support fellow families within your community. 


Karleen Wise Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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