A Guide to Franchise Branding & Marketing Strategies
It’s not enough to have a great product. It would help if you had something more than what people can get on their own – something they’ll be willing to pay money for.
That “something” is called a franchise agreement. It essentially puts all rights associated with ownership into one location, which gives the owner significant advantages over independent business owners.
Franchise agreements are written documents that lay out the terms of an ongoing relationship between you and your franchisor.
Every company has its unique culture and needs. Some companies thrive in chaos, while others require a little more order. If you’re working in a corporate setting, it could be challenging to establish the right work-life balance.
But it doesn’t stop there. To make sure every aspect of owning your new business is as easy as possible, most franchisors also create a unique corporate image representing everything from its name to its logo design.
These images become part of the overall franchise branding experience, giving both employees and consumers a sense of belonging.
They’re often so well-received that many franchises go out of their way to protect them by trademarking these elements. This ensures that any other businesses can’t use them.
Franchisees are generally required to pay an initiation fee when purchasing an existing business or franchise. The cost can range between $10,000 and $25,000, depending on what’s in the package deal.
This article covers franchise branding and marketing, including the critical components of a successful franchise branding system. Read on if you want to precisely know why having a solid franchise identity is crucial for running a profitable small business.
How to Achieve Successful Franchise Branding & Marketing
- An adequate market
- Strong franchise branding
- Well-thought-out marketing plan
- Solid training program
- Supportive franchisor
All five elements are necessary to achieve success when starting any franchise branding operation. Still, franchised businesses excel at delivering results through each category, while other companies struggle with only two or three aspects.
What makes franchising different? How does this help my business succeed beyond the point where I could do it alone? Let’s take a look at some ways franchisers stand above the rest.
1 – An adequate market
As we mentioned before, selling your products effectively isn’t enough. To really grow your company, you must find a niche where demand exists.
Offer services instead of tangible goods. Your target demographic might include anyone who needs personal assistance doing things like cleaning up a room full of art supplies, planning trips, preparing meals, etc.
On the other hand, offering food items targets families with kids who don’t eat right. Whatever your area of expertise may be, you should first identify your potential customer base (including age groups, income levels, geographic locations, gender, race, education level, job titles, hobbies/interests, etc.)
Then ask yourself whether your service meets their basic needs.
After identifying your target, think carefully about which demographics actually show interest in buying from you. For example, online retail has grown exponentially because many men under 40 years old look for inexpensive alternatives to big box stores.
However, women still prefer shopping in person even though they typically buy larger ticket items like cars, appliances, furniture, etc.
And seniors generally prefer the tried-and-true method of visiting brick-and-mortar shops. So unless you already possess a wide range of merchandise or plans to expand to serve multiple markets, you probably won’t see much benefit from trying to cater exclusively to particular segments.
But this may not be as simple as it sounds: If you’re running low on inspiration, it might be time to turn to other people—especially those who have gone before you and whom you respect.
There aren’t any new great products anymore; there are only innovative ways of making products that aren’t working and improving them.
2 – Strong franchise branding
Once you’ve pinpointed the perfect group of people to work with, you can start developing your franchise branding.
One thing worth mentioning here is that you shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel – sticking too closely to traditional methods is almost always better than making bold decisions. After all, you don’t want to confuse your audience members!
Instead, focus on keeping your message simple yet appealing. Just remember that a franchise is supposed to give you a leg up on competitors, so don’t skimp on quality. Use materials that convey professionalism without going overboard. Remember, simplicity is best for everyone involved.
In terms of colour usage, avoid using bright colours that are difficult for older folks to read. You can use a contrasting background with your text as well like this:
Or you can use smaller typefaces for the header and footer. Remember that it’s not always possible to make everything easy on the eyes.
Also, stay away from flashy ads that may turn off younger audiences. Stick with black and white text against a solid background, with subtle highlights whenever possible. Make sure your graphics and layout aren’t distracting, either.
Don’t use cheesy clipart or anything that looks amateurish. Please keep it clean, professional, and consistent across all channels.
Above all else, treat your franchisees’ opinions seriously. Even if you disagree, consider their input before deciding what goes on your next promotion.
3 – Well-thought-out marketing plan
Now that you’ve got your idea down pat, you’re ready to develop a franchise marketing strategy. But wait – not quite yet!
Before you go crazy spending tons of cash on advertising, talk to local retailers about what works for them. Find out what kinds of promotions bring in the most traffic and sales, and figure out how to incorporate similar ideas into yours.
Don’t advertise based solely on price. People shop according to perceived value, meaning that you’ll need to come closer to the mark by providing additional benefits and incentives.
Try to use social media, especially Instagram and Facebook. Social networking sites are popular among teens and young adults, so you’ll want to utilise them to reach this crowd.
Be aware of seasonal trends, holidays, and cultural events. Know what days and times would be most appropriate for promoting specific offerings.
Find out how many leads are needed to support your marketing efforts. Determine what type of ROI (return on investment) you can expect from various promotional strategies.
Avoid gimmicks, useless gadgets and tools. Most people are sceptical of advertisements promising free items or prizes. Instead, stick to promises that add real value to their lives.
Support your marketing campaign with analytics. Track your numbers and tweak accordingly until you see positive growth patterns emerge.
4 – Solid training program
When setting up a franchise brand, you’ll receive extensive training via seminars, books, manuals, videos, etc. Here again, however, you should strive to streamline your learning curve.
Many franchisors will send out hundreds of documentation pages within the first few weeks of signing on. While it’s understandable that franchisees need guidance, cut down on unnecessary details and repetition.
Focus on teaching the basics, especially during orientation sessions. By doing so, you’ll save countless hours spent reading boring documents later on and retain valuable knowledge longer.
Remember that training takes place in the context of your specific industry. When designing your programs, keep in mind that you cannot cover everything, nor should you feel compelled to.
Trainees must learn specific skills independently, so don’t forget to pass along helpful information.
Above all, try to teach your prospects how to act professionally. Teach them respect, courtesy, integrity, honesty, loyalty, responsibility, accountability, etc.
At the same time, be patient and reasonable. No matter how long it took you to earn your degree, college students usually don’t understand the importance of hard work immediately upon graduation. Be prepared for this fact, and realise that patience is sometimes required when dealing with unruly trainees.
5 – Supportive franchisor
One of the main reasons franchising is so successful is due to the power of word-of-mouth referrals. Because franchisors rely heavily on repeat customers, they have no choice but to provide excellent service throughout the relationship.
As such, they tend to perform additional research, hire highly trained staff, monitor performance closely, and offer lots of helpful resources.
If you run a fast-food restaurant, chances are pretty high that you’ll never hear complaints from your customers regarding poor service.
Yet restaurants are notorious for firing managers simply because of a bad review posted anonymously somewhere on the Internet.
Other industries suffer from the exact opposite problem, so don’t let your franchise slip past unnoticed.
To wrap up our discussion, here’s a summary of what to look out for when choosing a franchisor:
Make sure they offer superior management practices. Ask questions about how the franchisor deals with problems and issues, and examine how they handle employee disputes.
Check references and credentials. Some franchisors require prospective franchisees to attend seminars, classes, or conventions before becoming official representatives of the company. See if they belong to relevant trade organisations, associations, and government agencies.
Look for longevity. Compare the length of existing franchises with the number of new ones recently opened in your area. Examine the percentage of returning versus new clients.
Do not hesitate to contact previous franchisees directly. Ask about their experiences with the franchisor, as well as their successes and failures.
Ask about ongoing fees. Are they fixed or negotiable? Is there a limit on how much you can spend per month? Does the fee change depending on your revenue?
Understand the territory requirements. Do they apply to all territories nationwide, or are they limited to select areas?
Examine proposed royalty rates. Too low or too high? Have they changed since last year? Will they drop once your client count exceeds X amount?
Keep notes. Every time you meet with someone affiliated with the franchisor, write down names, dates and details about meaningful conversations so you can keep track of what’s said during your visits in case you need them later on.
For instance, write down the name of whoever answers the phone when you call; how long it took before someone returned your call; whether that person said what they implied; etc.
Don’t rely on memory alone. Remember, this could be a significant business decision for you and your family for years to come. So get your ducks in a row before signing any contracts!