Inconsistent branding and messaging has a negative impact on your ability to attract new franchisees and local customers. While you should give your franchisees a certain level of freedom, when it comes to local marketing you should try maintain control so that your theme, logo and images are consistent as possible.
What is brand consistency?
Brand consistency is the uniform identity your business presents in visual and contextual materials to current and potential customers. Not only does your appearance define your business and the perceived quality of products/services you provide, but it also differentiates you from other companies — especially your competitors.
By providing your franchisees with simple set of brand guidelines to follow, you will strengthen your business’s collective identity because every location will share dependable and steady branding.
Remember, your brand is how the public sees you; they do not understand that different locations are owned or managed by separate businesses. Your goal is to create, promote and protect the image that corporate determines in order to help your franchisees be successful.
Creating, promoting and protecting your brand — or marketplace identity — requires careful and diligent management. Your brand may have started as a name and a product or service, but over time your brand identity may include a logo, mascot, slogan, color scheme, phone number and even a smell. Your brand is used in corporate and franchise marketing materials, signage and even business stationery. It shows up in the quality of your product or service and the consistency of its delivery.
Attract new franchisees and local customers
Franchise brand consistency, also known as repetitive quality marketing (RQM), refers to repetitive and consistent marketing messages. Whether you are a one location or 100 locations, each one will have the same branding, the same logos and the same message to customers.
The goal isn’t to bore or detract from the fact that each location is independent, rather to present a united front. A customer will be confident that whether he/she visits the location nearest to them or one a state away, the experience at every establishment will always be the same.
The constant quality your brand provides creates customer loyalty and attracts new franchisees by presenting your brand in a positive light. Potential franchisees will see established brand dependability and quality of product/service that is in demand and want to join your team.
The easiest way to keep a consistent brand message is to define one from the beginning. If you’re just starting to build your franchise, you see the potential for growth and have already established a brand that customers appreciate. Take the materials related to the original brand make sure each shares the same message.
Whole Foods is a great example of a modern brand that uses their original store’s intent. Whole Foods core values are incorporated into every piece of marketing material, even though the images associated with the brand have changed to reflect a “greener” approach to grocery shopping.
In addition to presenting a consistent brand, you need to stay up to date with the latest trends in marketing. Be prepared to guide your franchisees in social media marketing best practices and ways how to optimize their individual efforts around the brand message.
Give your franchisees some freedom
Now that you’ve developed brand consistency and have franchisees who are trained on your messaging, you need to give them some freedom.
Your brand is the core of your business, but your franchisees are the ones who are tasked with presenting it to their local communities and if they are successful, your business is successful. Whether they create relationships using the brand on social media or post marketing materials in the community, don’t choke their efforts with strict brand regulation.
Going back to Whole Foods, you can see that each location has a dedicated section in the store for local and personal flair (below). They use the space to highlight employees and partnerships with local farms and providers of goods.
It is not always easy to keep your brand consistent throughout all franchisees across all channels. Vivial helps you maintain your franchise brand consistency across all franchisees in the online marketing arena — while also giving your franchisees the freedom to grow independently. Vivial will help you and your franchisees reach local customers across multiple touch points, optimizing your marketing efforts and keeping your brand message uniform.