A franchise that doesn't manage its brand will ultimately go out of business. But to manage your brand is more than creating powerful visual image. You also need to rely on your franchisees share your view. Let me clarify: nobody is better equipped to bring your brand to life, than your franchisees. Your job is to provide the right working environment for your brand to flourish. Unfortunately, many start-ups and fast growing franchise chains make the mistake of believing that “the brand will take care of itself”. “As long as we have a good identity manual, we can focus on other things in the daily operations.” said one franchisor I spoke to recently. Newsflash: your brand is more than an identity manual. Your brand is an experience – The moment a customer walks through your doors, they establish a relationship with your brand. And I’m not just talking about the look of your signage or the design of your menus. Your customers will also be influenced by how they wre greeted at the door (Did they smile? Were they polite?), how fast their orders were taken, how the food looks (does it compare to the images on your menu?), and how quickly your staff responded to a mistake. (Did your staff know where to look for support?)
Your brand requires buy-in – It doesn’t matter how much you believe your brand is X, Y, Z if you cannot properly convey this to your franchisees in a way that they can grasp. Your franchisees will only be able to bring your brand to life if you can articulate it. Do you have the tools in place to convey your brand story across the franchise? If your answer is "Yes, we have a PDF" - think again. Don't tell me you are relying on the your brand's future through a PDF! Your brand is more than a visual backdrop – While you may have paid a lot of attention to designing great visuals, graphics, signs, and menus, your brand is much more than a visual identity. How do your staff greet customers at the door, how do you respond when a customer has a problem, and how identical is the customer experience from location to location? So how do you create a common view across your franchise? Getting the right tools in place is a good start. A Franchise Intranet will help you getting the basics right:
- Communication: Improve the communication between the franchisor and the franchisee and among different franchisees
- Who’s reading what: Provide an overview which franchisees are actually reading the messages you broadcast, and sending out reminders to those that are not taking part
- Compliance: Enable compliance tracking of franchisees to ensure that the brand is lived up to in the daily operations.
- Common look and feel: Provide marketing design tools for building e-mail marketing campaigns, localized print advertisements, promotions etc.
- Common customer experience: Help the franchisees order supplies from the right supplier so that the product or service is the same in every location.
Creating a common view across your franchise starts at the top of your operation. If you provide the tools and the right communication platform, your franchisees will more easily bring your brand to life.