Brand management in a family-owned company

And emotion commands all

Emotionalising the brand – this advice to family-owned companies is also repeatedly brought up by agencies and consultants. What needs to be taken into consideration here?

Brand management in in a family-owned company is subject to special conditions and leads to special conclusions. Even the input parameters are different for family-owned companies: 

1. Attention is not on financial return but on adding substance. 

2. The time frame explodes into the region of 10 to 100 years. 

3. In a family-owned company the brand is firmly rooted in the enterprise and its origins.

In order to do justice to the input parameters we need special "brand management in a family-owned company" that from the outset arches across the generations. This is free of the immediate jargon of the marketeers in order to be comprehensible to the next generation and to be given a life of its own.

And how can a the emotionalising of a brand succeed in a family-owned company?

It is important to know that a brand does not simply embrace a logo and communication. Nor does emotionalised advertising produce an emotional brand. A brand is meta-product and is all-encompassing. It is what the customer perceives when viewing or consuming a product. It is the feeling that binds employees with working at "their" family-owned company.

It is what can be experienced, meanwhile, is always only the result of brand management. Brand management is not the icing on the cake (the outcome), but the cow that gives the milk (the process). 

A swing through ownership

Brand management, expressly in a family-owned company, does not begin by influencing public opinion formation, in the form of an emotionalised production on the customer front, with soft lighting and pleasing music at the shop shelf. Brand management is a process and has a beginning. In a family-owned company it begins with the dynastic will and determination of the owners to establish themselves in the market, develop and sometimes also discover something new. Also the emotionalising of a brand, when strategically desired, has to start at the beginning with a forceful swing through the ownership. It is right to to question the status of the advertising and the distribution channels, as well as the emotional loading of a brand.But only when they lead to conclusions concerning the formative totality. 

A brand charter offers a firm hold for emotions and operations.

The formative totality can be defined and carried out in a compact brand charter. The brand charter contains what constitutes the "family brand": the values of the family,the causal achievements that have contributed to the company's success, as well as all the experiences, perceptions and actions around the brand that can be rehearsed now and in the future. Such a brand charter is not only helpful in major existential brand decisions, but also in the day-to-day derivations into advertising and distribution channels, and wrestling with the appropriate form of emotionality.

Only with customised brand management in a family-owned company can it succeed in taking hold of and forming passion and life blood, in filling it with life for employees,in making it a customer experience and, ultimately, in consolidating economic success.

The authors:

Erich Posselt, born 1972, has supported companies for 15 years in the development and maintenance of their brands. He sees the greatest practical potential today in bringing branding techniques together with family-owned companies.

Philipp Steiff, born 1962, has 20 years experience in branding theory and communication. In addition, there are his personal experiences from a Swabian family-owned company in the toy industry.

Both combine creative joy in organising things and enthusiasm for the remains of the incomprehensible. Such is a brand.

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