Rebranding the Family Business

Your loved ones have put decades of hard work into the family business, and their efforts have created a legacy in which you take great pride. There is a difference, however, in honoring past achievements and letting your family's beloved business suffer stagnancy. Changing circumstances may call for rebranding. Your challenge is to find an approach that refreshes your business while still paying homage to those who came before.

Identify Compelling Reasons for Rebranding

Don't obliterate a previously successful business model for the sake of change. Determine clear issues with the current approach and solutions that rebranding could bring about. For example, your current brand could stand in the way of geographic or demographic expansion. Competition may also prompt rebranding as you strive to stand out in a crowded market. The most common impetus for family business rebranding, however, is an outdated approach.

Hold True to Original Values That Customers Value Most

Your focus and marketing efforts may change, but the same values that guided your business in its early days should remain, particularly if those values continue to guide customers your way. For example, a business that built its reputation on prompt service should remain as efficient as ever. Only shift core values if they impede your business or are no longer relevant in today's market.

Develop a Brand Positioning Statement

Your brand may not be clear to employees or clients unless you state it outright. Experts at the Small Business Administration recommend developing a brand positioning statement that sums up your company's primary products or services, your target market, and your intended impact on the community.

Consistency Is Key

Your target market may identify strongly with your company's previous brand, especially after decades of exposure. They may feel confused after you switch up your approach, particularly if your new message is inconsistent. Your shift will be more effective if it is immediately evident to all customers. Every element of your business should reflect your new brand, from your social media presence to your receptionist's phone greeting. Rebranding involves far more than mere logo modernization; at its core, it's about company culture. Former Kodak CMO Jeff Hayzlett says it best: "A brand is a promise delivered... a logo is not a brand."

Establish a Clear Plan for Rebranding Execution

As a small business owner, you'll benefit from easier company-wide execution of rebranding efforts, but you'll still need to monitor employees to ensure their full and consistent adoption of the new brand. Consistency in rebranding is only possible if you plan for it. Once you've identified your vision and your benchmarks for rebranding success, it's time to create a detailed plan that addresses all aspects of the rebranding process. When planning, highlight who will be impacted and how, along with your method of delivering the rebranding message and enforcing its execution. Plan your meetings with graphic designers, your social media debut, and rebranding-related email marketing campaigns.

Careful rebranding could position your family business for several additional decades of success. Conversely, a haphazard approach could cost you time, money, and loyal customers. Think carefully about what you wish to accomplish, and develop a strategic vision of your business’s future. Once you begin your structured rebranding, embrace your new message and get ready for explosive growth.