If you’re a franchisor, surely you have a lot on your plate. We’re willing to bet though, that one of your #1 priorities is keeping your franchisees all aligned with each other and with your overall brand identity and message. A challenging feat, to be sure. And with recent consumer trends—things aren’t getting any easier.

The Challenge

In the good ole’ days, franchise marketing wasn’t so hard. You could develop the message and collateral at national or regional franchise level, and the assets would trickle down to individual franchisees to use in their local markets.

But with the recent trends toward hyper-local marketing, franchisors are now facing the very real need for advertising and marketing tools that are specific to each franchisee’s market. But why? According to a recent study from BIA/Kelsey, “consumers have a growing sense of localism, and marketers need to key into this in their campaigns to achieve a level of genuineness. They fail to do so at their peril.1” Because of this, it’s estimated that national brands and franchisors will increase spending in local marketing by over $17 billion over the next 4 years.1

What does this mean for you as a franchisor? It means you’re facing a new challenge. That is, figuring out how to meet the demand for localization in multiple markets, while maintaining control of your overall brand and message. Oh, and of course you’ll want to figure out how to do all that without breaking the bank.

The Good News

Lest we have painted so bleak a picture that you’re wondering how you’ll ever navigate these new waters, we do have some good news.

With the growing dominance of digital marketing tools—it’s easier than ever to create multi-market advertising and marketing assets and campaigns. What this means is that there’s no longer always a need to create and recreate assets for multiple markets. Assets can be reused and tweaked easily for multiple markets.

In other good news, just because consumers are demanding localization—doesn’t mean all your marketing must actually be localized. Confused? Allow us to explain. Consider the example of power tool brand STIHL. As a franchisor with nearly 1,000 local dealers across the U.S, they decided to lean heavily upon localization to drive increased business. However, they accomplished that by using high level digital assets that merely encouraged customers to “Get your own STIHL power” by emphasizing local dealer relationships—which made “destinations of local dealers instead of connecting with STIHL directly.1

What this STIHL example highlights is the fact that franchisors can achieve the feel of localization without actually having to recreate the marketing wheel so-to-speak for each and every franchise location.

Even More Good News

This idea of localized marketing may still be overwhelming for you, and we don’t blame you one bit. Truth be told, there’s more to local marketing than websites and digital ads. To be truly effective at localized marketing for your franchise, you want to make sure that the online business directory information for every one of your locations is correct and locked, that every one of your location’s websites is optimized for search, appearing well in Google Maps, and has fresh, relevant content. The list, quite frankly is endless—and that’s where things can get messy, overwhelming, costly, or all of the above. So, where’s this good news we teased you with?

The good news is this. There are services and tools out there that can help you manage it all. These tools offer the ability to not only manage the brand and marketing efforts of every one of your franchise locations—but to also see the performance and demonstrate ROI for all those efforts. Sounds costly, I know. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, Vivial has some great solutions that will not drain your resources. (Find out more about Vivial’s franchise solutions.)

The Bottom Line

We get it, franchise marketing is a tough nut to crack. There’s so much to do, and you really want to be focusing your efforts on franchise performance, not making sure each franchise’s marketing efforts are on-brand and localized. Unfortunately, with the trend towards localization in marketing—franchise-level marketing efforts geared towards specific markets are becoming a necessity. Doing so in a way that maintain brand and message integrity while continuing to demonstrate strong ROI is your new focus. But with the right tools, it’s certainly doable, and can be done in a way that will allow you to keep your focus on running your franchise.


Sources: 1. “The Win of Going Local,” BIA/Kelsey, 2017.