Rebranding a family business

InsightAugust 1, 20234 Minutes

It’s a family affair

It’s not uncommon for family businesses to plan its succession around future generations taking over. It’s a practice many have planned from the get go. (Or when their kids show an interest in the business!) Often they are named after the founding family members, the family name, or even something enduring to the family as a whole. The initial logo may have been an image of the homestead, or of a family element.

However, as the family business evolves there may come a time where rebranding makes sense. The rebrand could include an updated logo, a new name, or new brand messaging.

A few of the common scenarios include when:

The family business is on its way to be a family owned brand

We all love a great success story. A small, family run business with humble beginnings takes off and is working to become a popular, sought after brand. A name change may not make sense if brand equity is already there. However, an updated visual brand can be helpful as it is introduced to more potential clients and positions itself against larger competitors.

The geographic target area grows

Many smaller family businesses begin in their local area. When the decision is made to expand beyond the immediate areas, it’s a good time to take a look at how the brand will be received by the larger target audience. What resonates with your local market may no longer work as your sales area increases.

You’re ready for outside investors

In this scenario, you may have a brand review as part of your business plan after outside investors have committed. Being open to reviewing your brand and making changes to appeal to a larger audience, shows outside investors that you’re serious about growth. But note, this is a review of the brand, not necessarily your values. Compromising quality or commitment to your products and services should not be up for discussion. 

There’s a changing of the family guard

Sometimes the rebrand reflects the transition from one generation to the next. It symbolizes the change in leadership and the introduction of fresh ideas, strategies or offerings. 

It’s been bought by a non-family member

There are times when the next generation has selected another career path outside of the family business. When a non-family member has purchased a family business, a rebrand may be a good signal that the new owner is just as committed to its success as the family was. There is an investment being made towards the future of the business. 

In all cases, the rebrand for a family business should consider:

  • If the family name has any meaning to those outside of the current market
  • How relatable or relevant the brand visuals are to its target audience
  • How well the brand compares to its competitors
  • The brand elements that are core to the brand and its values

Pioneer Craftsmen is a great example of a family business that rebranded to support its growth. In its 3rd generation of family leadership, the brand refresh successfully expresses Pioneer’s forward-thinking design and craftsmanship while still paying homage to its heritage. It continues to represent the lasting quality that the company is known for.