Skip to main content

As published on 3/24/22 in the Cascade Business News E-Headlines

After many years and many lessons learned as a family business member, I realized I had a lot of experience that could help others. That is how I was inspired to pivot and become a coach for family businesses. It means I help family business owners and members work better together.

When families who work together can work together well, they are more likely to be successful. Failure in family business is usually caused by internal conflict emanating from an inability to find alignment. One way to assure alignment, is to create identity around belonging to a family in business together. That can be achieved by strengthening connections and unity around common bonds and common goals. Once established, a unified identity can serve as a valuable marketing asset.

Lean on Family Ownership Advantage

I often educate families of the value that being family-owned brings to their credibility and how it can work as a differentiating factor in their marketing efforts. Family-owned businesses enjoy a natural competitive advantage over non-family-owned businesses. Studies show that they are perceived to be more trustworthy. And a trustworthy reputation will attract both loyal customers and employees.

Set Your Family Business Off from the Pack

Because people tend to prefer to support family-owned businesses, if you’re marketing one, it makes sense to highlight the family factor in your branding. Differentiating your family business from its competitors isn’t difficult, you just need to identify where your family-story strengths lie. And whatever modality you employ to reach your target market, print, digital, web, television or social media, you can highlight your family from a few different angles. Here are some ideas.

Showcase Your Family History and Legacy

Tell the family’s story. For example, if your grandparents started the business and its now a third generation family-owned business, that’s a great legacy. By sharing this history, you’re establishing your business as more longstanding and solid. When given a choice, customers will lean toward spending their money at more well-established family-owned businesses.

Most of us have an interesting family history that we take for granted, perhaps we’ve heard bits and pieces but don’t have the whole account. With a little research a rich and interesting story is likely to emerge. There are professionals out there that can help capture and showcase your family’s history and they provide a sophisticated means of sharing that story.

Legacy Connections Films for example, produces broadcast-quality documentary films for families throughout the world. They bring a family’s history and values to life through the age-old art of storytelling. It’s a wonderful way to preserve a legacy and a tool that can be integrated into your marketing strategy.

An added value of capturing the family story is that it serves to bring the family together. StoryKeep, exists to support the connection and cohesion of families. It offers a powerful way to create meaning around being a family. They can create customized books, private podcasts or produce films that capture and relay your family story, values and purpose.

Indeed, these options are investments, but can be invaluable when serving as the foundation for your marketing strategy. A story well told, can lay the groundwork to distinguish your family business for decades.

Highlight What is Important to The Family

Another way to introduce your business in the marketplace is by sharing your family values. What is important to your family that shows up in your business? Uncover what is important to you and how that quality manifests in your product or service? You might know that you believe in excellent customer service, but you can be more specific. For example, your customer service might be described as, on-time, polite and eco-friendly, because those are values important to your family.

If you try to list your own values, you may find that you can only name a few. That’s because most of us live our lives based on values quite naturally; without thinking about or naming them. They are an integral part of who we are and the choices we make all day long, every single day.

For your family to differentiate and market its business based on values, I suggest spending some time with the whole family gathered around the kitchen table. Together capture a list of the values your family embodies. Although the number of values out there in the world is vast, most of us can only name a few. A quick google search will render you a comprehensive list to kick start the family’s conversation. This exercise can also lead to new awareness and learning about one another.

Once you’ve identified all the values, and you may find it’s a long list, then select just the top two or three, to highlight in your branding. It’s important to be able to demonstrate how your company embraces those values in its work and in the community.

Feature the Personalities

Promote the individuals in your family, make them rock stars. If your family works at, or supports the operation of the business, introduce them to your customers. By giving them visibility, you bring them to life and make them relatable. Let your target market get to know your family members, their role in the business and what makes them special.

Digital Marketing Strategist, Tim Campbell, suggests using Instagram or You Tube to showcase each family-business member. Do a series of posts where one family member introduces another. Talk about their strengths, especially the ones that lead to positive customer experiences. Or one sibling can share a childhood story about another and explain how that developed into a skill that serves in the business today. A project like this has the additional benefit of engaging siblings to notice one another’s qualities and build appreciation for one another.

Every Industry Sector Includes Family-Owned Businesses

No matter what your family business industry, your family story is a valuable tool to set it apart in the marketplace. Building a brand is about distinguishing your company from the rest of the crowd. Every family and their story are unique. What might seem ho-hum inside a family can be very interesting to outsiders.

I coach family businesses in every area including identity, team building, communication, succession planning and leadership development. At the end of the day, all these pieces fit together like a puzzle, you can’t have one without the other. If your family business ever feels challenging, I’d like to help. We start with a no obligation chemistry call. Contact me by email at