The family business that passed down from generation to generation promises one thing to its heirs: a brand legacy. Businesses that already have a brand legacy may look more prospective from the customers’ side if compared to entrepreneurs who start a business from scratch. Because the brand already has loyal customers. In other words, brand legacy promises a more solid market to its heirs. However, sometimes it is forgotten that the market is actually a dynamic world. The behavior market changes over time in line with the ever-evolving world.


Image source: Tegel Kunci


Brand legacy is an asset for building a long-term brand reputation. But it is important to note, brand owners need to be aware of the changing market, which is an absolute thing, in order to maintain the brand. The market will constantly-changing and relying on brand legacy is not enough. This is the challenge for the heirs of a family business. What are they going to do with the brand legacy that has been passed down?


Learn from the Successful Brand Heirs, Learn from the Innovators

The brand legacy issue is not a new thing in the world of brands. There have been many theories that explain how the heirs can maintain the brand legacy of their family business. But, before we discuss the theory, let us learn from the following heirs who have successfully brought their family business reached the pinnacle of success.

Gary Vaynerchuk or better known as Gary Vee is an online celebrity, bestselling author, and CEO of VaynerMedia; a digital agency that is included in the top Fortune 500 list. Gary was a wine entrepreneur long before he was as successful as he is now. He inherited the family wine business originally called Shoppers Discount Liquors.

Gary changed the name of his family wine business to Wine Library. This name changing was also the first step in transforming the family business which later led Gary to become one of the top-tier marketers in the world. When the world was still in the awkward phase in using internet technology, Gary took one step ahead by creating the world’s first wine e-commerce. He also created Wine Library TV, a 20-minute vlog aired on Youtube from 2006 to 2011. The vlog, which discussed everything about wine, became the main platform in boosting the popularity of WineLibrary.com, the first wine e-commerce that he founded. This is the innovation that led Gary Vee to become the most sought-after digital marketing expert as well as an online celebrity.

Now, let us learn from the second example. Tegel Kunci is a cement tile company based in Yogyakarta. It is known for its high artistic value and historical patterns. Initially, the company was founded by Louis Maria Stocker & Jules Gerrit Commane in 1927. However, the founders were forced to return to the Netherlands during the Japanese colonial period in 1942. Their return to the Netherlands made Tegel Kunci’s business passed down to Liem Ing Hwie, the owner of a cement tile factory in Central Java.

Since then, Tegel Kunci has undergone a series of changes. In 1963, the business changed its name from Firma Tegel Fabrik Midden Java to Pabrik Tegel & Beton Cap Kunci. Tegel Kunci was also almost collapsed due to the intense pace of industry competition but was saved after being acquired by Matta Art & Craft.

Kirana Karang is the current successor of the Tegel Kunci family business. She has served as Marketing and Project Manager since 2019 until now. Seeing the long history of the business, she has a big responsibility as the heir to the business. It is undoubtedly not an easy thing for Kirana to maintain the brand legacy of Tegel Kunci, given the almost collapsed history. However, she is always resourceful, as part of the current generation, Kirana saw the potential of Tegel Kunci. She adopted the Tegel Kunci tile pattern into a contemporary fashion product to target the young market segment. From this, Kunci Kreative was born, a brand that produced creative products that adopt the design and pattern of Tegel Kunci. Kirana has succeeded in adapting the legendary designs of Tegel Kunci into creative craft products, from aprons, scarves, pouches, tote bags, antique chairs, gloves, postcards, to snake and ladder board games.


Maintain the Brand Legacy Through Innovation

Inheriting a family business is about responsibilities. Being an heir means accepting a bunch of responsibilities to manage and maintain a brand’s reputation. Reflecting on the two stories above, what can we learn from Gary Vee and Kirana Karang?


The answer is innovation.


Innovation is the main factor in how the two heirs managed to maintain the brand legacy of their respective family businesses. They took one step further to save their family business and even brought it to the pinnacle of success.

We at basicludo believe innovation plays an important role in every stage of brand development. However, it should be underlined that innovation has a very broad scope. Brand owners need to be aware of this so that they can determine what kind of innovation will be used to maintain and grow the brand legacy. Speaking of innovation, there are five points that can be managed by the brand heirs:


  1. Product

Product innovation is crucial especially in responding to market behavior that always constantly changing over time. This is what Kirana Karang did by adapting Tegel Kunci’s designs into various kinds of products.


Reputation

Another thing that is no less important is the brand’s reputation which is reflected from customer loyalty to market perception. Gary Vee provided an example of how he had managed the reputation of his family business by creating various innovations. He realized that reputations can change quickly. Therefore, innovations are absolutely needed in order to maintain the brand reputation.


Market

Brand owners need to be aware of the market development over the years to see whether their products and services are still relevant to the current market conditions. This is the key issue when an aging brand is passed down to the next generation. The brand needs to innovate in order to remain relevant according to the market condition. Just like what Kirana Karang did with Kunci Kreative.


Management

Great management will provide various kinds of benefits for the company. This has been proven by well-known brands such as Google, Apple, or Nike. In Indonesia, PO Bus Putra Remaja is an example of brand heritage in a family business that recognizes the importance of having good management. When they created a new line of business, namely Putra Remaja Logistik, they also paid attention to the management condition and afterward created a new innovation that answered problems at the management levels.


Valuation

If we talk about valuation, then we will be talking about the assets, reputation, and capital owned by the family business. This point can also be the foothold for determining the next steps taken by the business heir for the family business future. Novartis is one of the world’s largest drug manufacturers owned by descendants of Edouard Sandoz. This company is the result of a merger between Sandoz and Ciba Geigy.


Basicludo is a strategic brand consultant who has experience in managing brands from various sectors and industries. Contact us through 1 on 1 consultancy sessions to find out what strategies can be used in managing brand legacy.