It’s not uncommon to see family businesses in which the founder or leader plays such a public role that they become “iconic.” Often, the lasting effects of an iconic founder can stretch beyond his or her impact on the family to thwart the growth of the business going forward. An icon can cultivate and leave behind a “workforce of the past,” with loyal long-term employees defaulting to the icon’s preferred ways of managing at the expense of fresh ideas. They can nurture a culture of “yes” people rather than independent thinkers, and drive creative next-generation family members away from the business into their own endeavors where they have more control. When family members recognize the complexities of having a truly iconic founder, they can feel trapped. But there are steps they can take to prevent an iconic founder from overshadowing the next generation’s chance to grow and develop.
Sometimes a founder’s image is so publicly associated with his or her company, one rarely stops to ask, “Who is that person?” A few, such as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Henry Ford, and Ralph Lauren become something even more than that; they become “iconic.”
For many family businesses, having an iconic founder has enormous benefits. Building the brand of the person simultaneously builds the brand of the company. As the company has more success, the iconic founder gets more famous and more idealized by their employees and their family. What could be wrong with that?
It turns out that having a full-fledged iconic founder (or leader) is not always a good thing for the sustained health of the business. Though it might be beneficial to have an iconic founder at the helm of a business for years, it can also cause family leadership beyond the founder to be much more challenging. After all, who can live up to the image of a truly “iconic” founder who has become a kind of exaggerated character — a two-dimensional representation of the business without any visible human imperfections?
When founders become larger-than-life icons synonymous with the business itself, they begin to overshadow everyone and everything around them. Worse still, iconic founders can start to believe their own hype and hold next-generation leaders to impossible standards. They can create a “loyal” workforce that is resistant to new leadership, and potentially even cause family members to walk away from the business. Ironically, a wildly successful iconic founder can unintentionally set his beloved business up for failure in future generations.
But being part of a business with an iconic founder doesn’t have to derail the next generation if the family can find a balance between honoring what the “icon” has built and putting their own stamp on the business to help ensure that it will continue to thrive.
Where Iconic Founders Go Wrong
It’s not uncommon to see family businesses in which the founder (or a later-generation family leader) plays such a public role that they become “iconic” — their individual characteristics are submerged under an image that is “preserved” as wise, kind, heroic, generous, spiritual and/or many other idealized traits. The image that is projected out to a wider public — often even beyond the business’s customers — is carefully maintained and protected by employees and by family members. This process of protecting the “brand” can have significant downsides. The more powerful the public persona, the more pressure is felt by the family and the company to keep the founder on a pedestal.
Sometimes the individual entrepreneur is in fact as wise and kind as the image portrays him to be. But more often, that real person is all too human. Successful business leaders, iconic or not, make mistakes in business and in their personal lives. Worse still, we have seen iconic founders who begin to believe their own publicity and consistently choose to grow their image over helping others to shine. Sometimes, they hold their children up to such high standards — standards that they think reflect their “perfect image” — that the next generation feel (rightly so) they can’t possibly meet them.
Iconic founders often lack empathy for the sacrifices others (family, employees) are making. They often see the world through one lens, which leads them to push for business growth and celebrity at the expense of all other priorities. As family members seek the iconic founder’s approval, he or she just pushes harder to promote a super-human image. Those closest to the founder find it hard to challenge him or her in any setting, business or family, for risk of being disregarded by the icon — better to agree and stay in good graces than confront and be shut out.
We have seen difficult dynamics evolve in the families of an iconic founder. When the icon makes irrational demands or unkind judgements, everyone snaps to order — no one disagrees. Family members’ (and often employees’ and colleagues’) unpleasant experiences with the icon get buried: to discuss their pain or to criticize is to be disloyal. The iconic founder’s flaws — some of them grave — stay invisible.
Finally, the lasting effects of an iconic founder can stretch beyond his or her impact on the family to thwart the growth of the business going forward. The icon can cultivate and leave behind a “workforce of the past,” with loyal long-term employees defaulting to the icon’s preferred ways of managing at the expense of fresh ideas. They can nurture a culture of “yes” people rather than independent thinkers, and drive creative next generation family members away from the business into their own endeavors where they have more control.
One “Icon” and His Family
We know one such iconic founder who started as a talkative and charismatic pitchman for small kitchen appliances. Dale (a pseudonym) developed his own line of specialized cooking gadgets, which he grew into a national brand with a high-quality reputation. He became well-known on TV, appearing not just in ads for his products, but also on popular cooking shows. He often socialized with celebrity chefs, and he was invited to the White House several times.
Home, though, was a less comfortable environment. His wife resented what she saw as his manic focus on the company and his image; he was absent from the family outside of work most of the time. His relationship with their four children was strained. Two of the four chose to work in the company and strived unsuccessfully for Dale’s approval. Their father often told them that the business was “too complicated” for them to understand and that they didn’t have the “big imagination” necessary for leadership. The younger two lived across the country and were disengaged from the business and the family.
What’s going on this family is a typical response to a dominant iconic founder. In family businesses, there are four common dynamics connected to an iconic founder:
- The first response is the tendency among the next generation to judge others relentlessly. Dale’s two children who worked in the business continually criticized each other’s ideas in management and board meetings. Privately, key executives and outside directors acknowledged that the siblings seemed like they were trying to “out-Dale” Dale. Dale, for his part, barely listened to anyone’s ideas but just talked about his own plans for the next big splash. Neither sibling seemed capable of extending support or appreciation to their key managers or board members, perhaps because none had been extended to them by their father.
- The second common family reaction is to disconnect. In this case, Dale’s two youngest children moved across the country to work in unrelated fields. Friends often remarked on how their talents could be valuable to their family business, but neither wanted anything to do with it. At the same time, they were careful about how they discussed their father with other people, even with each other. There was no safe place to talk about childhood feelings of abandonment and inadequacy arising from their father’s self-absorption.
- Eventually, when the icon is disabled or dies, a paralyzing effect occurs: Family owners and business leaders can simply stop making decisions, freezing the company in time. When Dale’s eventual dementia became obvious and he retired from public life, there was no one to take his central decision-making role. The two siblings who worked in the business became co-CEOs, but most of the time they could not agree. Each criticized the other for not being having the “big imagination” necessary to lead or not doing “what Dale would do.”
- The final impact is on the business, which can get stuck. In this case, management and board members watched helplessly as the business foundered. The long-tenured non-family managers who thrived in the company were the ones who knew how to say yes to Dale and were not capable of or interested in bringing new ideas. Newer, more talented executives were quickly frustrated by their inability to accomplish their goals and soon left the company. There were no pathways to evolve the workforce or the brand.
How the Next Generation Can Counter-Balance an Icon
When family members recognize the complexities of having a truly iconic founder, they can feel trapped. But there are steps you can take to prevent an iconic founder from overshadowing the next generation’s chance to grow and develop as individuals in your family businesses:
- First, acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of the founder, but don’t let their shadow shade your identity. Recognize the founder as a dynamic person who took risks with a career and with the business. Think of the founder as an inspiration, not a constraint. Forge your own career based on your skills and passions, whether within or outside of the business. Avoid the temptation to be a clone of the icon.
- Second, look forward, not backward. Recognize that your generation will need to find your own way. As next-generation family members, you may not yet be running the business, but as future owners, you can start to communicate, meet, develop trust, and determine how you want to be collective owners of the business. You do not have to be tied to the founder’s version of how family owners should operate.
- Third, be prepared to evolve. You will need to recognize the impact of the icon on the family and the business, and to have the courage to say, “We need to do this differently.” Families who move successfully past the iconic founder refresh their strategies and push their businesses to evolve. In the family, they allow the “icon” to fade and instead acknowledge the talented and flawed relative.
Dale’s family went through some tough times in the post-Dale era, especially the second generation, who never were able to work together effectively. Fortunately, the two siblings who worked in the business managed to at least hold it together, allowing the third generation to bring in a refreshed business perspective. While the cousins were distanced from the business and each other by their unhappy parents, they still felt a connection to the iconic founder’s legacy. They started asking questions about who Dale was and developed an interest in getting to know each other and the business better.
It may not be possible to shake the overbearing influence of an iconic founder until the third generation, if they aren’t aren’t paralyzed by their parents’ emotional baggage. With fresh eyes and enthusiasm, they are able to focus on what the business needs to take it forward. Family businesses can survive and thrive even after an iconic founder fades away.
The Benefits of LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn wouldn’t necessarily be the first platform that comes to mind when considering social media advertising. However, if you are a B2B organisation, the platform can allow you to reach professionals across the globe. LinkedIn allows you to generate brand awareness across targeted professional sectors and reach out to decision makers directly.
Advertising is all about targeting the right people. Users of LinkedIn tend to be older, professional and have a higher income than the average user of other social media platforms. So if that is your target market, LinkedIn offers a great opportunity to reach them. Professionals use LinkedIn for business networking purposes so users are generally in work mode so engaging with them should be easier than on other platforms.
Here we outline the six main advantages that LinkedIn Ads have over other social media platforms.
1. Variety of ad formats
LinkedIn offers a number of options for advertising:
- Sponsored content – this type of ad appears in people’s feeds, it is the least personal form but good for promoting content from your business page and encouraging people onto it.
- Text ads – these are only viewable by people using a desktop. With these you can choose the audience you want to target and you only pay per click.
- Message ads – these appear in users’ inboxes and are proven to be good for conversion.
- Video ads – great for storytelling, you can also retarget users who have watched the video, aiding conversion rates.
- Dynamic ads – these allow you to fully personalise your ad by showing user’s photo, name and title within the advert.
2. Generate high quality leads
The ability to target professionals and gain good quality leads is the primary benefit of LinkedIn ads. Users are looking at work-related content so will be more open to solutions for their business needs.
With more than 800 million users in over 220 countries and territories, LinkedIn is the biggest social network for professionals and businesses alike. 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions and the platform has been rated the best for lead generation by marketers.
By using LinkedIn advertising, you can access their Lead Accelerator feature. This feature allows businesses to follow their best prospects and offer more targeted ads directly to them. This includes remarketing to website visitors, which helps nurture leads, making them more likely to become customers.
LinkedIn allows you to target specific demographics, enabling you to create much more personal advertising campaigns. Facebook lets you target interest and behaviour based factors however LinkedIn is the right medium to use if you want to target individuals based on their industry and job. You can filter your audience by:
- Company name
- Company size
- Degree subject
- Job title
- Member skills
These variables make the platform the ideal choice for B2B organisations wanting to target decision-makers.
LinkedIn allows you to specifically target people who have shown an interest in your products. Matched audiences show you which users have visited your website and the pages that they went on. This allows you to target them with specific ads in the hope that they will return to your website and convert to a customer.
Matched audiences can be created with:
- Account Targeting – Uploading a CSV of company names to LinkedIn allows you to target decision-makers.
- Website Retargeting – Target the users who have visited your website and re-engage them to aid conversions.
- Contact Targeting – Uploading a CSV of email addresses of your contacts to LinkedIn enables you to nurture your leads and prospects even further.
5. Increased conversion rates
The ability to target specific groups, nurture them and remarket to them will increase your conversion rates.
A year-long study by HubSpot found that on average, LinkedIn ads convert users to leads at a 6.1 per cent conversion rate. This compares to 2.58 per cent for Google search ads.
MD of exhibition stand contractor Black Robin Exhibits, Alan Jenkins, managed to achieve a conversion rate of 8.2% with a LinkedIn campaign earlier this year, he said “We were delighted with the results, it wasn’t a huge investment, we could set the budget and the conversion rate was fantastic”.
6. High control
A big benefit of LinkedIn advertising is the high degree of control that you can have. You can set a specific start time for your advert and specify when it will end. As well as this, you can set daily budgets to ensure your advertising costs are kept at the right level for your business.
Setting up a LinkedIn campaign is not straight-forward due to the variety of advert types and different ways of targeting. But the platform has a number of advantages over other social media sites if your target market is professional businesspeople.
B2B organisations will be able to target specific demographics with personal ads, nurture and remarket to them. All this will increase conversion rates, making LinkedIn a valuable marketing tool.
Beginners’ guide to Instagram Reels
If you haven’t already heard the news, according to Instagram, they’re no longer a photo-sharing app. Shocking, right? The company announced they want to start focusing more on video content, like that offered through Instagram Reels, as opposed to being the original square photo-sharing app they’re known for being.
“At Instagram, we’re always trying to build new features that help you get the most out of your experience. Right now we’re focused on four key areas: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging.” — Adam Mosseri, Instagram CEO
This makes total sense because short, engaging videos (shown to us by hyper-accurate algorithms) have proven to keep our attention more effectively than ever before. So effectively that 93% of marketers who use video say it’s an important part of their marketing strategy. Additionally, users are twice as likely to share video content with their friends and family than any other type of content, including social media posts, blog posts/articles and product pages.
So if you’ve been hesitant to start making Instagram Reels or just needed a little encouragement, we’ll cover the basics, give you some ideas on what content to create for your business or brand, and help you understand the data behind it all.
But, before we do, let’s talk about why Instagram Reels needs to be included in your marketing strategy.
What are Reels and why should you start using them?
Instagram Reels rolled out in late 2020 and the feature has continued to increase in popularity. Reels provide creators with a way to produce and share short, engaging videos using a collection of mainstream music and user-generated audio.
With more advanced editing tools, such as speed controls, filters and transitions, you can effortlessly edit multi-clip Reels up to 30 seconds long, entirely within the Instagram app, which is amazing if you don’t want to use multiple apps and extra equipment to film, edit and post to social media.
Reels are definitely a useful feature of the platform as a whole that is worth exploring. When it comes to metrics, Reels receive 22% more engagement than videos posted directly to a feed. In addition to IGTV, Live and Stories, Instagram Reels are another great tool for you to use to get noticed on the platform and reach potential customers.
Nearly two-thirds of Instagram users are between 18 and 29, with 18- to 34-year-olds the most active age group. That means there’s a ton of opportunity for businesses to be discovered by your target audience on this platform. So, if your Instagram strategy needs a boost to stay top-of-mind and ahead of the competition, Reels could be your solution.
Instagram Reels small business content ideas
If your business is active on Instagram but hasn’t posted a Reel just yet, don’t worry, it’s not too late to start. Accounts that don’t follow you can find your content while scrolling on the Explore page, which is why it’s so important for brands to be active where their target audience is.
Don’t let lack of inspiration hold you back, here are some simple and effective video ideas:
The best way to increase your reach and engagement is to give your viewers value. If you can create something that is helpful, users are more likely to like it, share it with their friends and follow you for more. That ultimately, tells the algorithm your content is worth being promoted to others on the app.
For example, you can create shareable workout, cooking or crafting videos just by showing your step-by-step process.
Showcase your products or services
Highlight what makes your business unique with Reels dedicated to each product or service you offer. This could be a tutorial on how to best use your products or a way to update customers on new offerings.
Create original content
Easier said than done, but I know that behind-the-scenes content, user-generated content and FAQs are always a big hit with loyal audiences.
You also have a few different ways to get trending and possibly even viral. You can use trending hashtags, popular audio clips or filters and get discovered among other videos with those elements.
Re-creating a popular trend while highlighting your brand is one of the quickest (but not the easiest) ways for business growth with Instagram Reels.
How to optimize your Instagram Reels
Like with any social media platform, there are always hidden steps you can take to increase the likelihood your content gets seen and please the almighty algorithm.
For example, many users who create content for TikTok have started uploading those same videos as Reels. Seems like a logical time saver, right? Well, Instagram has not only clearly advised against re-posting content that’s “visibly recycled from other apps,” it has also updated its algorithm to recognize and prevent it from performing well on their platform.
That being said, here are some tips on how to optimize your Reels for the best results:
- Try to record (vertically), edit and add effects to your reels from within the app, rather than uploading a video you’ve created elsewhere.
- It’s also important to use text overlays, hashtags, audio, and descriptive captions to let Instagram add you to an algorithm relevant to the content.
- @ other accounts, when appropriate. Just like hashtags, you’ll get more reach by including their name in your content.
- Use custom thumbnails. Doing so will make it easier for users to find videos they want to watch when scrolling on your account. It’s also a great way to incorporate your branding and help your feed look cohesive.
- Sharing your Reels to your Stories and even on your feed will get more people to see it. You can share it when you post it or, if you have posted enough that day, share on a day when you don’t have anything else to post.
Algorithms are constantly changing, and not always for the better. Doing just a little bit of research to stay on top of current trends and best practices will pay off in the long run.
Understanding Instagram Reels Insights
Finally, you’ll need a way of knowing if your hard work is paying off.
Instagram has included a dedicated tab, which is similar to the Insights tab on your static posts and videos, that details the metrics relating to your Reels. With the Instagram Reels Insights, business owners can see important metrics like accounts reached, plays, likes, comments, saves and shares.
By knowing what type of accounts you’re reaching with your Reels and which content formats are most engaging with your audience, you’ll be able to adjust your content to better serve your target audience and grow your account.
Measuring these stats is the best way to make sure all the efforts you’re putting in to engage your fans is actually working.
Once you have a good idea of where your metrics are on average, try experimenting with the time of day, type of content and hashtags you use when posting your Reels. Start thinking of ways to get in front of new users with videos like tutorials, bloopers or more user-generated content. You could even share customer testimonials or success stories for added social proof.
Final thoughts on Instagram Reels
I know I personally struggled with the idea of including yet another item on my content creation checklist, but I’ve found that even just repurposing a few old clips from videos on my YouTube channel into Reels has proved effective in increasing my engagement and reach on Instagram.
Exploring a new feature of social media can be intimidating and overwhelming at times, but Reels seems to be a fun new way to expand your social media presence through the use of short videos. I recommend testing it out and seeing how well it works for you and your audience. You might find it to be your new favorite tool in your social media strategy.
5 Strategies to Drive Customer Engagement
Engaging with your customers is the key to driving sales and growing your company. However, some businesses are not sure how to do this effectively. It means that when they finally manage to engage with their customers, they are not entirely sure what worked. Knowing how to drive customer engagement is all about knowing your customers.
Here are 5 strategies that you can use to drive customer engagement.
Communication is the Key
Communication between your company and your customers is fundamental to engagement. If your customers are trying to talk to you about your products or services, then you should listen to them. Avoiding contact will simply drive them to another company.
Here are some tips you should follow.
1. Listen to Your Customers and Never Assume
If you have a customer that approaches you on social media or any other channel, it is vital that you engage them in a conversation. Their initial message might not be the complete story, so you need to work with them to find the right answer.
Once you have found out what the customer wants, go through your products with them and pinpoint what works for them. Your sales team must never assume that they know what their customers want, or they might find the customer goes elsewhere.
2. Seek Help with Engagement
Sometimes no matter what you try, you are unable to engage with your customers or retain them. It may be that there are strategies that you haven’t considered or lack the knowledge to implement.
This is where companies such as TCC Global can help. By helping you and your marketing team to engage with your customers and create brand loyalty, you can start to grow your business.
3. Respond Quickly to Questions
There is nothing more frustrating for customers than asking a question on social media and not getting a reply. Even a delay of a few hours can be enough to cause someone to look elsewhere.
If your business has a presence on social media, then it is vital that it is monitored at least during business hours.
4. Chat to Your Customers
There is a temptation to use your means of communication to just sell products. While this is an important part, there should also be more customer engagement through conversation.
If you find something interesting, tell your customers on social media. Reply to them if they answer you and keep the conversation going.
5. Blog About the Popular Questions
If you are seeing a trend in questions your customers are asking, then it may be a good idea to write a blog post about it.
Blog posts will drive visitors and potential customers to your website and from there they may go to your products. Answering these popular questions will also save time for your customers and build loyalty.
So, there you have it – 5 strategies to drive customer engagement. These are just a few of the ways your company can build a relationship with its customers and build a loyal following.
It is important to remember to stay engaged with your customers even after they make a purchase.
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