Get rid of brand decay in family firms | Inquirer Business

Get rid of brand decay in family firms

/ 05:02 AM November 06, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is not the first public health crisis that corporations have had to deal with, and it likely won’t be the last.


And one thing that history has shown is that despite these pandemics, family-run corporations that are nimble enough to respond to dire situations and adapt quickly can and will thrive and emerge winners after the latest crisis blows over.

Family-owned businesses range from single proprietorships to corporations that can either be private, exclusively owned by family members, or publicly traded, with family members continuing to own the majority.


The Family Capital 750, now on its second year, shows the robust contribution of family-owned or family-run businesses in the world economy, reportedly generating $9.1 trillion in revenues in 2018, fueling the employment of more than 30 million staff worldwide and driving global economic sustainability and growth.

Many of these companies have been around since the 1300s, 1600s, 1800s and so forth, clearly alongside the world’s worst pandemics. The following are some of the companies listed in the The Family Capital 750 that have remained familiar brands.

Brand survival

Regardless of company size, businesses that survived the worst pandemics were able to immediately grasp their situation. Many reasonably took a hard-line approach and cut dead weight and fat.

Reality check comes with the assessment that in a pandemic, annual sales growth may not happen. In such difficult times, survival and stability are the main goals with sales targets taking a back seat.

It is also during this time when savings generated from cutting organizational fat can be used to rebuild or strengthen brands so that they will remain top of mind of consumers distracted by a pandemic.

Mars, a confectionery brand founded in 1891 and turning 130 years old, built its brand identity on the singular campaign, “a Mars a day helps you work, rest and play” for several decades.

In 1997, the chocolate bar’s positioning was changed as part of a rethink strategy drawn up by smooth-talking fresh blood thinkers.


Unfortunately, not one of the replacement brand stories and selling lines matched the success of the original campaign and slogan. Thus, 10 years later, Mars resurrected its iconic story, “Work, rest and play” but gave it a fresher execution.

EO-Executive Optical, a 52-year old brand founded in 1968, rebranded a decade ago under seasoned brand management guidance, is now the leading eye care specialist.

It has never failed to inject witty humor in presenting real time poor eyesight situations that affect daily living and relationships thus, underscoring the need for expert eye care.

Its proprietary selling line, “love your eyes” is a constant reminder of the importance of having experts handle or manage one’s eye health as good vision impacts daily living.

Brand vision, story

The brand positioning and its story is the equivalent of sustainable brand vision. Brands are not only products and services but may be companies, too. A company can sell commodity products or services but the firm behind these commodity products and services may actually be the brand whose identity, story to tell, trademark and logo are familiar, memorable and trusted images by loyal, repeat consumers.

SC Johnson, Virgin, Baidu, et al. are just some examples of these company brands.

A clear-cut brand vision determines the direction of the product or service, its target consumers, where it is likely to be distributed, the future depth and width of the product portfolio, the type of media engagement it requires as well as whether to engage a celebrity spokesperson.

The amount of money spent on media or use of a celebrity spokesperson can be optimized only with the depth of knowledge that a targeted consumer can acquire about the brand.

There are entrepreneurs and there are visionary business owners. The latter understand that branding is a legacy that can be handed down from one generation to the next, and one that should be protected and strengthened even amid a pandemic. —CONTRIBUTED

The author is Chief Brand Strategist of MKS Marketing Consulting. She can be reached at [email protected]

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TAGS: COVID-19 pandemic, Family Capital 750, health crisis
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