Five-step branding checklist for franchises
Bek Agius — 30th August 2017
A strong brand is an essential part of franchise success, not only to retain loyal customers but to attract new franchisees. Having done our research, we'd like to share the top five criteria the most savvy potential franchisees check for when assessing a franchises brand strength.
1. Highly recognised brand
Ever heard of a Cheesymite Scroll? If you have, you’re probably already thinking about Baker’s Delight, which has become a household name along with this iconic baked treat in Australia thanks to a highly recognised brand.
Baker’s Delight highlights the strength of their franchise brand while promoting the marketing support they offer to franchisees: “Everything that we do in marketing from campaigns, product innovation and social media to local store marketing is to increase brand awareness and drive customers into your bakery. We make sure that everyone knows about your delicious freshly baked products, so that you can focus on delighting your customers and growing your sales. ”
Tip: Chat to your friends and family about your franchise brand, ask if they can recognise your logo, your tagline, your most iconic products and what your franchise stands for. If you’re met with blank looks, consider investing in building brand equity: it will strengthen your franchise system and attract new franchisees.
2. Ongoing national campaigns
An ongoing calendar of exciting national campaigns can be a big boost to brand awareness for local franchises while also keeping the brand top of mind nationwide.
A great example is Mad Mex’s award-winning Los Locos Big Burrito Challenge campaign, which head of marketing Gaye Steele suggests rewarded customer loyalty nationwide: “We want to continue to push the envelope by evolving the retail experience and coming up with compelling ways to gain our customer’s undivided attention, while also reaching a new audience.”
Tip: Head office should invest in the brand regularly, and on a national level, to make the whole country excited about the franchise. What campaign has the national marketing manager planned for the next six to twelve months and will they reach a national audience?
3. Local area marketing
A strong, ongoing national campaign is important to franchise success, but the head office marketing team should also support franchisees with local area marketing.
Domino’s head office discovered the pitfalls of failing to work transparently with local franchisees in reporting on its marketing pool. Similarly, Which Franchise highlights a lack of support from franchisors to local franchisees as a key reason franchises fail: “Without any brand presence, the franchisee will just become like an independent and not benefit from being part of a franchise network.”
Tip: Ensure there is transparency in national and local marketing budgets, advertising in local newspapers and websites, area-specific social media channels and marketing collateral distributed around town that increases awareness and foot traffic to the franchise in the local community. Talk to your current franchisees and genuinely ask them about the marketing support they get from your franchise.
4. Brand consistency
Ongoing national marketing campaigns and local area marketing support can only be effective if consistent with your brand styleguide across the entire franchise network.
As 12-Round Fitness founder Tim West tells Business Franchise Australia, brand consistency is crucial to build a strong franchise identity: “Because we are a reasonably new brand in a crowded fitness market, building a strong identity is crucial. I knew I couldn’t afford for any material not to be on brand.”
Tip: Check for consistency across logos, colours, fonts, messaging and tone across examples of national and local marketing to ensure the brand complies with your style guide wherever your customers come across it.
Platforms such as Outfit can help you build a highly recognised brand, maintain brand consistency across ongoing national campaigns and local area marketing, support your franchisees and reduce the workload for your marketers and designers at head office.
5. Brand ambassadors
We don’t mean street promoters wearing a branded sandwich board and handing out flyers. Brand ambassadors at every level of your franchise (including you) and throughout your franchise network can become a powerful team that advocates for your franchise’s success at every opportunity.
Franchise Business cites this as essential to franchise success: “Your genuine commitment to the brand will drive your employees’ commitment, your customers’ loyalty and ultimately your profitability.”
Tip: Chat to your franchise’s customer service staff, your marketing team, your managers and executives to find your internal brand ambassadors at every level. Once you find them, ask why they are so passionate and discuss how you can get more staff passionate about it.
If you have cultivated a network of ambassadors that are proud to be associated with the franchise brand and who understand these five criteria for franchise brand success, retaining loyal customers and attracting new franchisees should be a piece of cake.