History Smiths
Because history matters. Including yours.


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Family-owned Businesses and Customer Loyalty

What is it about family-owned businesses that make us go all mushy inside? Is it because we all want our own happy family, and these businesses proudly display theirs in public?

Every family has its challenges – the one we grew up in and the one we have now – and it’s just, well, NICE to see family members who get along so well they are able to stay in business together. Of course there are behind-the-scenes issues between husband and wife, parent and child, sibling and sibling, but that’s true in every family. It doesn’t matter. In a family-owned business the commitment to each other is there, and it’s wonderful to see.

Depending on how long a family has been in business, there’s also a sense of family legacy. Family honor. Family pride. It’s all wrapped up together, and proudly on display for the rest of us to enjoy.

An Example
It reminds me of an insurance agency that celebrated its 100th anniversary not long ago. The owner hired me to research his family and his business to provide him with information and images we could work into his company brochure, website, lobby display, and news releases.

This business owner happens to be involved with a historical preservation organization in his community so he “gets” history, and he is beloved by his community. But trust me when I tell you, if his customers loved him before our project, they REALLY loved him after -- and new customers signed on. How could you resist his compelling family story and the pride he showed by honoring his great grandfather, his grandmother, and his father in such a public way?

The Gift of History
I will tell you that in my role as a historian, it is the greatest gift I can possibly give to connect a client to his history. My insurance agent client and I had some very emotional moments when I presented him with documented information about his family he did not know, and when I found historical photographs of his great grandfather’s store-front business in the early 1900s he had never seen.

I tear up just thinking about it.

And, of course, the icing on the cake was my client’s desire to make his story public. He didn’t have to, but he wanted to because he was so very proud of his family.

And so, as a marketer, I tear up again because we were “selling” love, integrity, and sustainability in the materials we created. Not insurance. Far, far more.

Why would you ever want another insurance agent?


2010 © Bonnie Hurd Smith

History Smiths works with service-oriented businesses to use history — their own and their community's — to achieve customer loyalty, referrals, and high status. Subscribe (above, right) to our free Ezine, Connections, where we share ideas and examples of businesses embracing history to achieve business goals.

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