Many families want to stand for something and want that narrative passed through the generations. This speaks to the case for families having a "brand". The key is how such brands are constructed and communicated.
The following brief commentary comes from Jennifer Prosek, who is managing partner at Prosek Partners, a brand and communications firm focused exclusively on the financial sector. Branding used to be just for consumer companies. But no longer. Hedge funds, private equity firms and fund managers all realize the power of a strong differentiated brand narrative and have been investing in the space. And more recently families and their family offices have been working on the family brand narrative as part of their legacy passed down through the generations.
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If you have a family office, or are considering forming one, you need to invest in a family brand.
Smart wealth creators are tapping brand experts to guide them in developing brand equity that will grow in value for years to come.
The starting point is nailing a narrative that clearly communicates the mission of the family and identifies the characteristics that arise in a person’s mind when they hear or see the family name in their community.
Getting the process right helps unite the family over many generations, making it easier to create impact, generate goodwill and build and protect the family’s reputation.
Many families are increasingly hiring the same experts that build brands for all sorts of companies - from consumer goods companies to big banks and asset managers - to help them clarify their thinking and obtain the outcomes achieved by previous visionary founders, including Rockefeller, Carnegie and Gates, who were able to build family brands that were as powerful as the business brands that made them rich.
These are family brands that stand for something, grow beyond the source of the family’s wealth, and continue to be relevant in the world.
There is a lot to learn about how they built these brands over time including:
• To have the power to unite, a brand must have a strategic “North Star.”
A strong family brand narrative should define what is distinctive about your family, what the family stands for and reflect its vision and values.
• To be relevant, a brand must be meaningful.
Strong brands are relevant in the world and build equity and reputation over time by addressing both current and future societal needs.
• To stay meaningful, a brand must evolve
While a family’s core values should remain consistent, its narrative will likely change over time. Families should revisit their brand at least once a year to ensure that it still aligns with current external trends, as well as family priorities.
• To last, you must govern your brand
Once the narrative is nailed, everyone in the family needs to live and breathe it. Every great family brand rewards members who value the brand, and polices those who do not.
Although still a relatively new trend, more families are turning to advisors to work with them to develop a narrative that can unite the family across generations, create impact, generate goodwill and boost their reputation. They recognize that the work they put in today can deliver equity to the family for years to come.