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How 'family' companies retain their values
It’s been a tough couple of years for many businesses, and in this environment I think that companies which do remain successful will be those whose brands can remain faithful to their own identities. After all, maintaining core values is often what separates one brand from another in increasingly competitive marketplaces. There seems to be something about the consumer goods sector which results in this kind of identity being fostered more often. Maybe it is about the process of making and product creation that ties the people behind brands such as Bettys & Taylors, Ella’s Kitchen and Warburtons together so strongly – these companies definitely draw on their history and family images more than most to inspire success.
The friendly, quirky ethos behind baby food manufacturer Ella’s Kitchen’s history and modern branding shines through straight away: founder Paul Lindley even named the company after his own daughter, who was two when he set up the business. Compared to bigger, more corporate organisations, Ella’s Kitchen’s website stands out as emphasising children’s enjoyment over everything else, with animated graphics, videos and activities all built in to the interface. In this interview, Paul says: “I came along with an emotional person-to-person brand, based on a real family, with a strategy to put kids first”, and that certainly seems to be paying off.
Warburtons goes about integrating the Warburton family into the brand ‘persona’ in a slightly different way – founded in 1876, and with five generations of the family having helped build the company, their presence in the day-to-day running of the firm is vital to maintaining a family image. Even today, Jonathan Warburton is chief executive, while family member Brett and Ross are directors. Surprisingly for such a large business, the Warburtons website is extremely interactive, with different games and sources of information; in an extremely tough bakery sector, this blend of heritage and modern forward thinking have positioned Warburtons extremely well to build on their successes.
Another heritage brand that remains closely tied to its original principles is Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate. Founded in 1919, the business has blossomed from a simple tea room into a operation consisting of multiple shops and bestselling tea and coffee producer Taylors of Harrogate. The brand image targets a slightly more upmarket demographic than that of Ella’s Kitchen and Warburtons, but is no less effective for that: through sticking to its six Ps – Prosperity, People, Planet, Product, Passion and Process – Bettys & Taylors has been able to guide its development according to consistent values.
Whether old or new, these companies have a clearly defined identity and strong familial ties that help them hold on to their core principles in the modern business world. What are other ways in which people can hold on to their brands today? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and have a great week-end.
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