Date posted: May 27, 2018

I am writing this the day after Insights – Demystifying the Digital World for Family Businesses (State Conference 2018). The room was a buzz with the digital realm and the feedback was very positive (unfortunately at the time of writing the survey results are not in yet). The common theme from all speakers was the need to relate to our customer-centric world. As Steve Job’s said “start with the customer experience and work backwards”.

John-Paul Drake (Drake Supermarkets) energetically reminded us that the customer has their world in their hands (their mobile phone) and that this is the most powerful communication tool today.

Will Fuller (Fuller Brand Communication) took us through the digital ecosystem, told us that email addresses are like gold, as people only give them to you when they are interested and touched on the wealth of information available through Google. Google is King (or Queen)!

Jacqui Brown (Stellar Marketing) likened Sales and Marketing to dating and explained we need to foster our relationships and not to go in for the hard sell straight up, but to woo prospective customers. The aim is the have your customers become referrers of your brand or product.

Kathryn Murray (KPMG) impressed us with global indicators, showing us how markets are shifting and how doing business is changing. She again reinforced that sales and marketing is or should be data driven.

And then there was the panel discussion with Tom Foristal (Melba’s Chocolates), Corrina Wright (Oliver’s Taranga Vineyard) and David Osborn (Detmold Group). This was facilitated by Zoe Detmold. They engaged us with their own digital experiences explaining what digital platforms they used and how they implemented them.

I hope this has given you an “insight” into Insights 2018! Stay tuned for the theme of Insights 2019.

On a personal level, I am about to become a grandmother and have been told by every grandparent that it is wonderful. I was reflecting this morning about our children and how we brought them up, nurtured them and taught them values. It is exciting to think we can do this again, albeit from a different perspective and we get to give them back! This is the fourth generation about to be born and reminds me to ask myself “what is the legacy we will leave them?”

Our histories all vary, but there are common threads. How and why our businesses started, early successes, growth, downturns, overcoming adversity and prosperity. The aim is to imbue this into each generation so that we remember where we came from. But when the family is sitting around the table reminiscing, we will not be discussing balance sheets, we will be telling stories of our founders and successors. These stories are the family legacy, they are what tie us together. I remember Ennio’s father telling me that invention isn’t always about inventing something, but is recognising something in front of you that nobody else has seen. I must remember to pass that on.

I think that is why when we join FBA, we immediately feel at home. We are already connected on both a business and a personal level because our journeys have so much in common.

Speaking of FBA and our continued learning, events coming up are:

Hope to see you at an event soon. You really don’t want to miss out!

Mary Mercuri
SA State Chair