Is rebranding taboo in a family business?

5 minuten

Firmly rooted in an authentic and valuable heritage that goes back many generations, family businesses often come to us for specific and/or rather small branding applications. Think of additional brochures, new packaging designs and roll-up banners, or, to put it briefly: an extension of their visual identity. But an entire repositioning of their brand? That’s not what they have in mind. After all, the multi-generational lineage of these enterprises, combined with their ingrained core values and anchored brand identity, have been an integral part of their success. Yet, there is more to a 360° marketing approach than meets the eye. And we’ll tell you why.

A young heart with an old soul

Ever heard of Mornflake? It is an English cereal company founded by William Lea in 1675, making it one of the UK’s oldest companies. Lea milled oats for farmers and later, in 1915 when it officially launched, the family company started selling cereal products of its own. His skills and expertise were passed on to the following 15 generations and continue to be today.

In 2018, Mornflake was reinvented with an ambitious repositioning strategy. After all, a 350-year-old company can use a brand update once in a while. The new identity can be considered an hommage to Mornflake’s long-established heritage, because it showcases the old way of working: three shire horses pulling a binder and harvesting oats. Originally, the products’ packaging only featured the main ingredient – oats.

Their new positioning is built around the idea of ‘Strength through Oats’ and ‘Mighty Oats’. Combine that with the image of the pulling horses and you create a brand that exudes authenticity, tenacity and strength.

“Talking about increasing a brand’s ‘horsepower’ by embracing its key drivers” — Marc Wellens, co-founder Duval Branding

A rebrand reaffirms your success

At Duval Branding we regularly meet family companies. They approach us with a well-defined request, but sometimes it results in an A-to-Z story; as was the case for Reynaers, Brachot and Compaxo. This is because we strongly believe in meaningful brand engagement. By digging deeper into the core, reasons arise as to why a company should consider to rebrand. They can be either business-related or brand-related.

Business-related reasons to rebrand:Brand-related reasons to rebrand:
1. There has been a takeover or fusion.1. Your company offers a wide variety of products.
2. There has been a shift in the internal way
of working.
2. There is a conflict between the offered products
(different distributors).
3. There is a shift in your product range.3. Online sales are increasing.
4. The legal structure has changed.
5. Your company has become publicly traded.

A fresh pair of eyes for a bright outlook

Like true artists, companies can benefit from starting over from a blank canvas. A delicate ‘tabula rasa’ to raise questions that spark new opportunities. The family does not always see the full potential or challenges of their brand when they are so rooted in their heritage. To cure this organisational blindness, an external party – like us – steps in to do a brand analysis of content and form. It helps to discover and uncover brand elements (e.g., company history, work process) which families often take for granted, but that actually define and differentiate them. We look at brands from a new perspective and that can be truly rewarding.

A meaningful rebranding will result in…

  • a brand that can adapt to the market of today and tomorrow.
  • a greater potential to lead the market rather than follow it.
  • a uniform and clear communication with all stakeholders (based on the brand story).
  • the creation of sustainable value and revenue generation.

Compaxo, the rebirth of a butcher’s tradition

In 2019, the fifth generation van der Post took the helm of Dutch meat products company Compaxo. Their first goal: breathe new air into the long-established family business. They initially came to us for a campaign to celebrate their 125th birthday. Our conversations and research revealed that they needed more than just another campaign. Eventually, Compaxo received a complete makeover, both in content and form, making the company future-proof again.

  • New logo and tagline
    The “Tastefully Honest Tradition” tagline is a three-word combination that completely grasps the essence of Compaxo’s business. Furthermore, with their new stamped logo, they figuratively and literally reaffirm their brand as an established quality seal.
  • Market trends
    Before the rebranding, this line of products did not receive much attention. Now, there is a separate and distinctive ‘Veggie & Vegan’ section on the website.
  • New generation, new approach
    Opportunities for new market trends, products and services, competitors etc. Therefore, new faces behind the company also call for a fresh look and feel of the brand.
  • A refined brand story
    Compaxo manages two locations, one in Gouda and one in Zevenaar. Before Compaxo came to us, few stakeholders placed both locations under the same parent company. Their split identity caused confusion. Therefore, we refined the brand story to reconnect both locations.

Compaxo is a great example of a brand shifting from product-driven to value-driven. It shows that the story behind your company is just as important as the product you sell or the services you offer.

“Rebranding is the mirror next to the family portrait.”

A family brand with a future focus

We believe a mindful yet impactful rebranding is the mirror next to the family portrait on the wall. Rebranding is not just about refreshing your brand’s image. It gives companies the opportunity to highlight elements that did not receive much attention before, allowing them to genuinely distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Mornflake’s and Compaxo’s repositioning have taught us a valuable lesson: even when your family brand’s values and heritage are set in stone, an innovative and thoughtful approach can breathe new life into your brand’s old soul.


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