Many franchisors spend years developing and refining their business model and brand before franchising their business. A franchisor’s brand is one of the major selling points for prospective franchisees and it’s also an important way to gain more customers, including improving customer loyalty.
With the massive audiences of consumers being online in our day and age – both potential franchisees and business customers – it’s critical for franchisors to establish a clear franchise marketing strategy that focuses on franchise brand marketing.
If this is new territory for you and you’d like to find out more about what brand awareness is, why it is important and how to build it for your franchise business, take a look below.
Table of contents:
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness refers to the ability of consumers to recall a brand at any given moment. In simple words, brand awareness signifies how well your consumers can remember and identify your product or service.
Brand awareness is directly related to the reputation of the brand. Therefore brands should strive tirelessly to provide excellent customer service and experience.
It’s vital to continue building and working on your brand awareness through reputation management on a continuous and consistent basis. This is because the business world is ever-changing and one small but negative customer review online can affect the image of the brand as a whole, taking months or even years to recover from.
As a matter of fact, it’s a franchisor’s responsibility to provide continuous and ongoing marketing support to franchisees with location-specific materials, as well as tools and templates to ensure brand consistency and no dilution of the brand.
Sticking to basics such as brand guidelines which set out fonts, colours, logos and images among others, is an important first step in the brand development process and strategy.
Brand recognition vs. Brand awareness
Before we delve into what brand awareness is, it would be helpful to consider the small but important difference between brand recognition vs. brand awareness.
- Brand recognition focuses on the public’s ability to differentiate and identify your business from others based on your logos, colours, products and overall brand identity.
- Brand awareness, on the other hand, takes recognition a step further so much so that the public is capable of recalling information, emotions and general impressions about your brand.
It’s important to note that both new and established brands need to focus on brand recognition as much as brand awareness. Promoting their dedication to excellence will help with becoming firmly entrenched in the public’s mind that they should be the go-to choice whenever a customer requires a product or a service.
Importance of brand awareness for franchises
There are numerous benefits of strong brand awareness for franchises. This is a two-pronged process that should not be overlooked.
For starters, brand awareness helps to build a strong business reputation, which in turn, attracts customers. But on the other hand, by having a strong brand, you are also much better able to compete with other franchises in the same vertical as you to attract higher quality franchisees, expand the business and generate more revenue from franchise unit sales.
Returning to customers, a strong brand creates expectations in the customers’ minds regarding what type of products or services they can expect. If your offering is of consistently high quality, you’ll not only have happy customers but those who continue to return to you time after time, thereby helping to build your revenue.
Further reasons to focus on your brand awareness efforts are that it helps you stand out from your competitors, fosters loyalty, and can increase the value of a franchise business.
How to increase brand awareness
If you are wondering how to market your franchise specifically through franchise digital marketing, take a look at some of the ways you can go about building and boosting your brand awareness.
1. Start with a clear corporate identity
This means sitting down and clearly defining what values, principles and features you want your franchise business to be associated and identified with.
Your corporate identity needs to have a clear and uniform brand voice. You need to use images, colours and logos on a consistent basis.
Moreover, you need to figure out which channels your target audience is using so that you can regularly update them with news and developments around your brand. This will ensure that you reach them appropriately.
Furthermore, you also need to put some thought into what makes your franchise business unique and how you stand out from the competition. Focusing on these questions is a great starting point for working on your brand identity:
- What are your unique selling points?
- Which products or services are you most proud of and how do you plan on promoting these?
- What is the ultimate goal you want to achieve when customers look at your logo?
2. It’s time to build your brand
Once you’ve created your corporate identity and you’re ready to apply this on a consistent basis, you can start working on building your brand. This will mean having very clear and specific answers to the questions posed above.
From colours to language, tone of voice and channels of communication, every aspect of your external communication with potential customers or franchisees needs to be absolutely consistent each and every time you put out a message.
3. Maintain consistency
The aspect of consistency was touched upon in the point above but it deserves its own separate discussion because effective brand building takes place only through consistent efforts.
Today, franchise businesses have many ways of communicating with their customers and potential franchisees. From social media to other digital platforms, the choice is huge.
However, you need to first figure out where your customers and franchisees are and then continue to target them on these chosen platforms on a consistent basis.
This will start with an introduction to your brand, build recognition, and lead to information-seeking behaviours such as comparisons with competitors. Your ultimate messaging should be able to reel them in so that you gain and retain a loyal customer by offering more than your competition does.
4. Engage your audience
Whichever social media platform or digital channel you use to reach your target audience, you also need to engage with them online. This can take place in multiple ways.
From likes, shares and reposts on social media to gaining and responding to customer reviews (both positive and negative), you’re essentially showing them that their opinions matter to you and that you’re a responsive company. All this ties in with your brand identity which you outlined in steps one and two above.
5. Monitor, test, refine and improve
You should set certain key performance indicators (KPIs) for your brand awareness project and strategy and measure the results against your intended goals. If you find that something is amiss and that you’re not receiving the response you initially intended, you need to take measures to refine your main message.
This can take place by:
- doing A/B testing with different subject lines in terms of email marketing,
- creating a variety of messages for social media,
- adapting paid adverts as necessary,
- and overall looking at your entire brand presence online.
This will help you determine if your goals are being met or whether refinement of certain aspects will be required.
Some ways to help you gain a wider audience and following as well as boost brand awareness include:
- using infographics,
- introducing referral programmes,
- handing out free items or discounts,
- branding your franchises’ vehicles for greater visibility,
- establishing partnerships in your local area,
- utilise influencer marketing,
- holding contests on social media.
These are just some of the options you have through which you can boost your overall online visibility and presence as well as brand awareness.
Need professional help? We’re here for you!
Developing your brand identity and building awareness around it is a long-term process that can be challenging. You need to constantly put out messages that your customers and prospective franchisees will see and respond to all while doing so on a regular and consistent basis.
Sometimes, getting the help of a professional franchise marketing company will make a world of difference to your marketing efforts. Working with an established player in the industry means you’ll have a well-defined brand with consistent efforts in communicating your values and offering. If you have any questions or you’re not sure how to get started, just reach out to us! We’re only a click away and ready to help.
Additionally, you can take our Franchise Growth Quiz. Just answer a few questions and we will send you a personalised report and recommendations on how to improve your franchise marketing.