A brand is an intangible business asset that has a lot of value. It speaks volumes about your company’s story, its principles, vision, mission and values. And if managed correctly, it can lead to impressive results. While this may be somewhat easier to manage with a sole business owner, with franchising things get a bit more complicated. If you are interested in finding out more about why brand consistency is important, particularly with regard to a franchise operation, keep reading.
Importance of brand consistency
Franchise operations by their very nature consist of multiple different actors who each play a crucial role in the success of the franchise business. There is the franchisor who has established the brand already and then there are the franchisees who are responsible for maintaining brand consistency throughout their relationship with the franchisor. However, with different people striving for different things, consistency can be somewhat tough to achieve. But that’s not to say that it’s not important or impossible. In fact, its importance can’t be overstated enough. And here’s why.
Brand consistency importance in the franchising relationship comes into play whether a product is being sold or a service provided. Either way, the story of the company’s origins, its goals for the future and its mission for how things are done need to be consistently clear during every interaction with a new or existing client.
But it gets more complicated than that. Especially when there’s marketing involved. Marketing is a crucial part of any business, including franchising, and this is where uniformity in the use of logos, colours, brand tone and voice, what should be said, what should not be said and more come into play. There needs to be ongoing communication so that every franchisee is on the same page and living out the brand and its principles at every interaction with a customer or even a potential client.
Maintaining brand consistency
So, what are some of the ways that a franchisor can ensure that franchisees are aligned when it comes to ensuring brand consistency? Here are some ideas to try:
- Regular communication: franchisors and franchisees typically communicate on a regular basis and most of the conversations are about goals and priorities. But why should brand consistency and communication be left out of the conversation? In fact, they shouldn’t. These aspects should deliberately be included in regular conversations so that the entire team is operating from the same starting point. It’s also a good idea to meet with franchisees by stopping by their operations from time to time to see if they’re encountering problems, where they’re facing successes and get their input on whether they have ideas about how the brand should be communicated. It’s also crucial to get their input whenever negative reviews arise to determine where the problem lies and how to address it as quickly as possible.
- Overseen communication: while most franchisors take care of the marketing messages that the brand sends out, in some cases, it’s impossible to oversee all communication that is sent out and franchisees will need to be more responsible for marketing communication on a local level. This means getting to know their customers, ideally through a buyer persona, as well as tailoring their communication to this persona with clear-cut messaging that goes together with your brand guidelines.
- Re-examine your systems: furthermore, it’s crucial to ensure that your systems are automated enough while offering sufficient human support where necessary. Email campaigns can be automated through various email marketing platforms. Social media content can also be scheduled for certain periods of time in the future. Automating as much as possible takes the hassle out of manual labour and it also ensures that the brand messages that come out of your company are delivered in one voice. You should also be prepared for franchise expansion and ensure that your franchise business’ marketing department is ready for growth by putting the right systems in place beforehand.
- Get input from your franchisees: franchisees that feel a part of the brand may also have valuable input to provide you with. It’s important to sit down and listen to their ideas and suggestions. Forming a franchisee marketing committee with a couple of franchisees involved is one way of ensuring that the franchisees feel heard, that any ideas discussed are agreed upon by all sides and that once an idea has been decided on, they can pass it down to their respective employees and to ensure brand consistency. While not all franchisees may choose to be a part of such a committee, making sure they know that the opportunity exists for them to take advantage of is a great way to start.
- Offer support: branding is as much a part of ongoing marketing efforts as it is a part of the product or service provision experience that franchisees provide. Make sure that you provide your franchisees with the right marketing materials and ask them if they need help either disseminating it, giving them more options or figuring out how you can help make their experience better.
If you’ve always wondered how to ensure brand consistency, we hope we’ve answered your questions. The impact of brand consistency can be huge on a franchise business. It can lead to stronger business relationships, better customer service, improved client loyalty and satisfaction as well as better relationships with your franchisee partners.