At two in the morning, in any given place, a franchisor wakes from a nightmare involving his or her franchisees straying from the franchise’s brand image. They’re printing their own business cards on the wrong kind of paper, they’ve created their own Facebook pages, they’re distorting the logo and signage, and—gasp—they’ve created their own brand taglines!
When the franchisor comes to, he or she recognizes anew the importance of a consistent franchise brand, and understands the importance of these five-and-a-half steps for consistent branding.
Some mistakes happen when people genuinely don’t understand what the rules are about what they can and can’t do when representing the brand. Help them understand what you expect of them in all facets: merchandising, customer experience, behavior and marketing collateral. Many issues that conflict with brand policy can easily be avoided with proactive education.
2. Make it Easy
Make everything your franchisees need available at their fingertips so that they won’t try to get things done their own way. Consider your marketing collateral or signage. If it takes too long for them to receive it, they might put together their own interpretation of it. Eek! Create a way for them to order everything they need at the click of a button using web-to-print software like Divvy by Alexander’s. It allows you to approve marketing collateral for them to use, and they can customize and order it when they need it. Remember, if you don’t provide franchisees with what they need, when they need it, they’ll get it elsewhere.
Your franchise team members are the living, breathing representation of your brand. They’re on the front line of customer interaction. Like it or not, what they say and do will determine what kind of brand you are, because a customer’s perception of you is your brand. Help them not only understand the vision, but feel it. If they feel aligned with the values and culture of your brand, they’ll stand up for it and be champions for the franchise. Create experiences that allow for this, such as valuable benefits, training, promotion, awards, travel, etc. If your employees love your brand and vision, they’ll stick to it, not out of necessity, but by choice.
4. Social Branding and Voice
Having a franchise start publishing to their own social media can be frightening. Provide them with a way to share their localized content in a way that is consistent with the rest of the company. At Divvy we can set-up channels for all of your franchisees and start publishing to each of them with corporate approved messaging as often as you’d like. The same content can go to each location, giving them a social solid foundation from which to work. From there they can add their own localized images, events and information. But the profile pictures, cover photos, taglines and information will stay the same, keeping yo
u sane and the brand consistent. See our Re-Bath case study [link] as an example of what we can do to help you here.
5. Maintain Your Overall Perception (PR)
Keeping your publics’ perception of the brand consistent can be challenging. It takes understanding what people are saying, what they’re feeling and how they’re acting when they interact with the brand. Social media makes this process easier with listening and publishing tools like Sprout Social and NUVI that can help monitor the public’s sentiment shared on social platforms about your brand. Understanding opinion about your brand in real time allows you to act quickly when crisis hits.
This is a half-point only because it’s not really a new point, but something inferred in each of the previous points. Come up with a solid and robust strategy for your brand to begin with, and then stick with it. Stay committed to each of the five steps above to avoid a breach in the image and reputation of your brand. Adapt and make adjusts as necessary, but be committed to preserving your franchise brand.