Family + Business = A Great Company

Family businesses play an important role in the contemporary economy. Various data sources estimate that family businesses account for 75% of all businesses in the UK’s private business sector. This equates to over 9 million jobs, or two out of every five jobs in the private sector and contribute close to a quarter of the nation’s GDP.  Agriculture contains the highest concentration of family business – some 89%. Globally, it is estimated that there are in excess of 500 million family farms providing more than 70% of the world’s food supply.  So, as a specialist agriculture marketing agency, it pays to understand what makes family businesses so special and how best to create engaging brand content.

Family + Business = A Great Company

There are several definitions of family businesses, but from our own work with family owned farms, we believe the values held from one generation to the next and their passion for farming (or making cider, baking bread, building homes) can also be applied to other family businesses.

Having recently undertaken a market research study with family owned farms and comparing our results with non-family owned farms, we have concluded that family farms are more driven by principles, ethics, the long-term viability of farming their land and supporting their communities.   However, the research also highlighted that non-family owned farms are more open to change, technology and the importance of building financial value.

When comparing the strengths of both types of ownership, it is clear the family owned farm has more emotional equity in running the business, partly down to the family name being above the door, or the farmer being aware of their responsibility at an early age. If someone leaves the farm – a brother or sister for instance, part of their own self-identity and even purpose is left behind.  Life on the farm doesn’t quite sound the same as ‘life in London working in banking’.  Our research suggests there is a relationship between the values held dearly by the farmer, being integral to their own purpose in life.  Without the farm and the responsibility of the farm, their role, value and offering to the family and business becomes unclear. There must be thousands of retired farmers who can still offer the industry an enormous amount of advice and support.

Family + Business = A Great Company

We often read in the press about the ‘Knowledge Economy’, but we rarely recognise the knowledge acquired from one generation to the next in farming. Surely the assets of any farm should also value the total number of years a family has farmed the land, and thus recognise the balance of tradition with innovation. Modern and innovative farming methods shouldn’t always be at the expense of traditional and proven farming techniques.  This is no different than TAP working with Clients selling services and products in the Ag sector - where we find our Clients are perfectly capable of being responsive and innovative in their creative thinking - but want us to apply traditional sales and marketing disciplines to campaigns, such as WOM, good sales training, PR and events (exhibitions).

When developing brand content and engaging farmers through social media channels, we are fully aware that family businesses are emotionally defined and are therefore inclined to respond passionately. They occupy the same space as their suppliers and even customers, they are used to listening, being open and honest with each other, valuing relationships and ultimately being more trustworthy.



Photos by Gamze Bozkaya & Drew Hays

Shaun Cooper - 31/05/18

"Partnering with TAP has helped our team tackle the challenges of the European marketplace and its diversity of geographies and languages. TAP’s expertise, connections and work has strengthened our brand, content and social media efforts. We appreciate its responsive collaborative approach, and its ability to work efficiently within short timelines, limited budgets and across time zones and languages. Plus it connected quickly with our team and are a pleasure to work with."

Colleen Shaw - Global Communications Leader, Nuseed

"The Ad Plain team partner with our business in a seamless way delivering the best return from our media budget, ensuring we take full opportunity of new concepts and driving our social media activities in a progressive and most professional way, the relationship and trust we have in The Ad Plain is highly valued."

Geoff Hall - Commercial Lead NW Europe, Monsanto

"Mexico Tourism Board continues to use TAP for all its creative requirements for UK, Ireland and Scandinavia. We have been delighted with the strong creative concepts which work effectively over a broad spectrum of media. In addition, as well as communicating a strong image of Mexico, the creative works to accurately portray the rich diversity of Mexico's many regions. The whole team are always ready to help and will find a solution for any problem and hit even the tightest deadlines."

Lupita Ayala - Deputy Director, Mexico Tourism Board

"TAP have helped Monsanto through all stages of establishing and building a social media presence for DEKALB, which yielded impressive results in a recent high-profile website launch."

Lucy Kane - Production & Marketing Coordinator, Monsanto

"The Ad Plain's professional, creative and patient approach enabled us to produce a vibrant and accessible report for the conference which will stand the test of time and which is already creating demand for further copies. Thank you to The Ad Plain team for working so effectively with us."

Julian Gairdner - Co-chairman Oxford Farming Conference