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Keeping brand consistency with franchises
28th February 2020
The franchise business model depends on the standardisation of all organisational processes.
A tried and tested formula offers reassurance. From day one, an investor can access established supply chains, employee training programs and successful marketing campaigns. However, brand guidelines are crucial too.
Maintaining brand standards will ensure a consistent customer experience. Branches may have independent owners but, when it comes to ensuring the long term success of the brand, there should be a standard approach.
Why brand consistency matters
The success of all businesses is built on a strong reputation, and this is equally true with franchises. An inconsistent experience from store-to-store will cause buyers to question the quality of the whole brand, and cost you revenue in the long run.
Remember, consumers love familiarity. Even if there's an excellent local alternative, they don't always want to make a purchasing decision they'd rather a recognisable brand that's been reliable in the past.
So, franchises need to apply current branding on everything from signage to staff uniforms. This reinforces the company's marketing message and the positive connotations for the consumer.
Communication and training
It's impossible to oversee every location individually, so you need to be able to rely on the franchises themselves to uphold brand best practices. This means brand consistency needs to be an essential part of the induction program.
Start by helping franchise staff understand why brand guidelines matter. Explain how ignoring best practices or brand updates is detrimental to the business.
Your training program needs to be engaging and motivating, while demonstrating the value of brand consistency. It's up to the franchise managers to make sure their staff pay attention to branding so it's a good idea to give them the resources they need to do this effectively.
Develop clear branding guidelines
Leave no room for ambiguity.
Franchise staff are busy making sure their branch is performing well. Clear brand guidelines will make it easy for them to know what to do and what not to do. They're a quick and reliable point of reference if there's ever any uncertainty.
Brand guidelines should cover:
- Slogans and taglines
- Interior look and feel of the store
- Tone of voice used in branded literature
To enable fast updates from head office, branding guidelines should be accessed digitally. Changes should be promptly announced and accompanied by the relevant content.
Provide pre-approved templates and content
The franchisor will always be responsible for branding, but it's important for franchises to have flexibility too.
Pre-approved templates can help with this as they eliminate any bottlenecks caused by individual branches waiting on approval from head office. This means staff can produce effective, relevant and localised advertising campaigns.
To avoid delays and prevent the use of unofficial alternatives that don't adhere to your brand guidelines, you should consider making use of a digital asset management (DAM) system. DAMs allow you to update templates, roll out new branded content and track how it's being used, as well as ensure that branded content is not being edited without permission.
Get started with your own branding guidelines
Branding is the key to a thriving business.
Building a strong brand identity benefits all stakeholders, and solid brands have a more receptive audience for new products and services. They also enjoy higher rates of retention and attract high-calibre employees.
"The Complete Guide to Developing Your Brand Guidelines" is the perfect place to start. We cover all the essential elements you need to include in your brand guidelines and demonstrate what a consistent approach can do for the success and longevity of your franchise business. Click here to download it now.