Editor's Note: From Bloodlines to the Bottom Line1 Jul, 2012 By: Thomas Haire Response
Our feature story this month on multi-generational families in the direct response business started out as an idea from one of our great contacts in the industry who’d noticed just how many adult children of long-time DR executives were popping up in the space. But now, upon publication, it seems even more meaningful.
It’s not just because our cover subject — Daymond John — owes much of his start in business to his mother’s sewing lessons and a mortgage on a house he shared with her. Nor is it completely because, in recent months, I’ve noticed that I’ve reached the age where my friends and I are starting to see our parents face tough, life-challenging health issues.
Those are two key reasons why I find the story touching. But a third reason is that the families we feature in the story are, by and large, filled with good people who value their businesses and the people who work for them equally. In a time where many businesses operate wholly under the weight of the almighty dollar — and sometimes choose to blindly dispose of key employees with nary a thought given except to some balance sheet — it’s wonderful to read about a group of people that you know, generally, to be not only good businesspeople, but also even better people.
The power of good friends and family is also a great marketing tool, as you can read about in this month’s feature on the entertainment market. Nikon is growing its business using social media DR tools that promote community through sharing life’s best moments — becoming the latest company in the space to not only make its customers feel good about using its products, but also to promote the kind of brand image that will keep those customers coming back.
While many consumers see product marketers with varying amounts of skepticism and cynicism, it’s clear that not all marketers are deserving of this. Some have found ways to do business profitably, while taking care of both their customers and their employees, even in the toughest of times. Instead of blindly cutting heads in one successful department of their business to make up for the failures in others, they take a fuller stock of what their customers need and the value of the people in their business to provide it.
For the most part, these are the kinds of leaders who end up with their children working for them and — often — eventually taking over their companies.
Here’s to that kind of business leader — one who treats customers fairly, employees honestly and families lovingly. When you run into a leader who does all three, it’s often the case that the business’ bottom line is as strong as the bloodline from generation to generation.