Family brands in need of nurturing

18/05/2004 - 22:00

ANYONE remotely interested in politics would be well aware of the Howard Government’s focus on families in last week’s budget.

Family brands in need of nurturing

ANYONE remotely interested in politics would be well aware of the Howard Government’s focus on families in last week’s budget. According to the prime minister and his treasurer, Peter Costello, it’s all about putting families first, economically and socially. 

And it seems they’re on to something. It appears family sells, with the word conjuring up images of trust, respect, and safety.

Incorporating that in a brand can be very beneficial, according to Family Business Australia, with the results of its recent survey suggesting many family businesses recognise an emphasis on the word ‘family’ is good for business. 

The Family Business Australia Deloitte snap business poll showed that 61 per cent of participants believed that communicating a company’s family business status was beneficial to its brand.

It also found that 93 per cent of family businesses need to strengthen their brand. 

In a seafood industry dominated by family businesses, Catalano's Seafood certainly believes in the power of family in the brand.

But while the family name is incorporated in the company name, it’s not blatantly promoted in marketing collateral, according to Catalano's Seafood managing director Nick Catalano.

“When you walk into the reception area here you see pictures and the history of how we developed this business,” Mr Catalano said.

“Different industries have different needs but for our sector, which is fresh fish, it is important. It takes years and years of knowledge, so family members hold key positions.

“Most seafood companies in Australia are second, third and fourth generation businesses.

“People in the hospitality industry and people involved in seafood know our business is fresh fish and they all know that our business is a family business.

“It’s really one of our challenges to maintain that,” he said.

But while the word family might generally create positive connotations, a failure to execute the communication properly could do more harm than good, according to brand consultants Baynham Ross.

Baynham Ross partner Peter Ross said incorporating words or logos should form part of an overall strategy, rather than being a strategy in itself.

“If it’s communicated the right way then it can be beneficial,” he said.

“But if it’s done badly then it can have an adverse effect. It’s an important aspect but it’s only one part of the brand strategy.”

European Foods marketing manager John Ferrari agrees that promoting longevity is important but doesn’t believe the word family is good for the brand.

“Saying things like ‘we’ve been in the coffee business for 65 years’ means people assume you know what you’re doing and they can trust you,” Mr Ferrari said.

“For me, using the word ‘family’ conjures up images that we might not want to be. We’re a big business and I think the word family can be as constraining as it is beneficial.”

FBA executive officer Kate Gorce-Macham said many people thought family business were trustworthy.

“I think people know that they’re in it for the long haul and that they are real people who don’t take the business lightly; it’s a way of life,” she told WA Business News.

“I think knowing that it’s not a big corporate is important to many people.”

The Deloitte-administered survey showed 45 per cent of the 67 respondents thought that differentiating a product or service was the most important benefit of a strong brand.

It also revealed that 57 per cent of people thought the most important element they would use to strengthen the brand was values.

Interestingly, 17 per cent of respondents did not know what their brand stood for and 24 per cent of respondents said their staff did not know what their brand stood for.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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