Brand Compliance and Strategies for Implementing It Across All Creative Processes

date icon 5 minutes to read date icon 28th February, 2024

The very nature of franchise marketing is that it involves numerous simultaneously moving parts. Whether it’s social media or pay-per-click (PPC) ads, blog posts, your website’s design, or even your franchisees and their employees’ uniforms or the stationery used for formal communication, one thing is clear: brand compliance is a must.

Since a franchisor has spent many years building brand recognition, one detrimental aspect of non-compliance is a dilution of the brand. However, there are other risk elements associated with this. Here, we focus on the concept of brand compliance and look at potential risks as well as ways to enforce and monitor it. Let’s get started.

What is brand compliance?

In the franchising world, brand compliance refers to the regular actions taken by the franchisor and franchisees within the network to ensure that there is consistency in terms of when, where, and how marketing materials and visual elements of the brand are portrayed to the public.

Brand compliance is achieved when brand standards are followed to the “T” by all team members. Such standards often include both visual and written content that reflects the overall parent brand. They may include aspects such as tone of voice, a certain color palette, logos and its acceptable variations, the personality of the brand portrayed to the public, fonts and font sizes, etc.

Risks of not ensuring brand compliance

Failure to follow brand guidelines as defined by the parent franchise company comes with significant risks, not least of which is a chaotic approach to marketing. Other potential risks include:

  • Failure to attract or retain customers
  • Failure to maintain customer loyalty and relationships
  • Damage to the business’ reputation through bad press
  • Diluted brand integrity
  • Ineffective marketing campaigns
  • Loss of confidence in your franchise’s ability to offer superior products or services
  • Loss of sales and a strong impact on your bottom line
  • Potentially harmful legal action against your business, caused by “rogue” messaging
  • Can lead to false claims and false advertising
  • Outdated marketing messaging
  • Failure to meet regulatory requirements

How to enforce brand guidelines

So, how does a franchise brand with multiple franchisees maintain brand consistency? Below, we outline the process from start to finish so that you can take more proactive steps and exercise greater levels of control over your brand, its identity, and assets.

Step 1: Create your brand guidelines

It doesn’t matter whether you choose a PDF or Word document or to place your brand guidelines on the cloud. One thing that’s certain is that they must be set out in stone and easily accessible to every party that is authorized to use them.

These guidelines should focus on every aspect of your brand’s visual identity, including colors, logos, fonts and font sizes, tone of voice, acceptable messaging, etc.

Also worth considering are ensuring that there is consistency between your brand purpose (vision, mission, and core values), brand history, and messaging through various messaging pillars.

Other aspects worth adding to your brand guidelines include your key value proposition, service descriptions, unique selling points, competitive strengths, and others.

Make sure you identify where, when, and how these guidelines are to be used and by whom.

Step 2: Create marketing-focused asset libraries

This means that everyone who is authorized to access them can do so, franchisees included. You should also consider using dynamic templates together with providing instructions for how to use them to the relevant people in your organization and the wider franchise network. 

Step 3: Create approval loops and workflows

You should make sure that there is an approval process in place before franchisees or anyone else in your organization hits the “publish” button. For this reason, you need to have a dedicated person or partner who helps enforce brand consistency.

You should also implement a formal, predictable, and traceable review process for every branded asset. Make sure to track all changes and versions as well as approval decisions on creative assets.

Also worth considering is applying electronic signatures at approval stages to ensure stronger recordkeeping.

During this phase, you should also consider using real-time reporting tools to keep track of all of the brand’s assets while at the same time, using the insights from these tools to help steer ongoing creative development.

Step 4: Invest in continuous adoption and training

Brand compliance is not just about making sure that your franchisees use the right brand colors or logos. It’s also not just about the approval process.

Since brands are living things, they do change and sometimes undergo significant overhauls. For this reason, everyone who is a part of your network should be empowered to adopt changes through regular and timely training.

Training should be a part of every franchisor’s culture and franchisees familiar with this will know how beneficial it is for the entire franchisee network.

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How to monitor brand compliance

If you don’t have a dedicated team to monitor compliance with your brand assets, you can always reach out for external help. Your selected partner’s role will be to carry out brand audits of every aspect of your brand elements, including tone of voice, typography, logos, colors, layout, and brand personality.

You should have approval processes in place and a feedback loop that gives franchisees the green light to proceed with publishing or distributing their marketing materials.

In the event of non-compliance, you need steps to ensure that it is dealt with quickly and efficiently so that the rest of the franchise network doesn’t suffer from brand dilution. In each of these processes, using the right technology is critical.

This technology will ensure your asset libraries are centralized, that you have templating tools for easier production of visuals and written content, and that your workflows and communication channels are more streamlined.

After this, the process is about reporting which enables your franchise’s brand manager to track the use of brand assets and acquire insights into brand performance.


If brand compliance and consistency worry you, you’re right to be concerned. After all, brand dilution is a serious risk in the franchising industry and can cause significant reputational damage.

For this reason, you will need the services of an experienced and dedicated franchise marketing team on your side to help you counter those risks and lead your brand’s marketing efforts to success.

Get in touch with the team at Franchise Fame and experience just that: fame at local and national levels for your franchise brand, done the right way each and every time.

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