Let us start with the definition of brand. You may think it is your logo, signage and uniforms and yes this is all part of your brand identification. But it is much more than just visual. It’s also important to know that branding does not happen overnight. You can’t buy it. Branding is what your customers are telling their friends about your business when you aren’t looking.
Definition: ” Brand is the sum of multiple touch points that goes beyond the first impression including how you meet customer expectations whenever and wherever consumers interact with you.”
The Brand Asset
For your franchise business, brand is a valuable asset because it is what attracts and maintains your customer base. Building a brand takes consistency and effort. It also takes time. And, usually, the older the brand is, the stronger it has become because it has lasted though many internal and external changes and challenges.
Consistency is key to successful branding. As a franchisee, you need to follow the franchisor brand guidelines. Make certain that your graphic design elements as well as your language and messaging is carried across all communication channels. This may include:
- Print collaterals
- Electronic advertising
- Digital display advertising
- Local website
- Business cards and letterhead
- Promotional items
Remember that one of the reasons you purchased your franchise is because of the brand strength. It is important to work hand in hand with your franchisor marketing department to make certain that you are in compliance and actually an extension of the franchisor brand. After all, a big part of what you purchased is the brand and its strength. If you want to create your own brand, a franchise is not the right choice.
Franchise Brand Guidelines
Most franchisors have a brand book or guidelines you need to follow. This will tell you exactly how to preserve the brand. It includes all the ways you can and cannot use the logo or other aspects of the brand
Get to know everyone in your franchisor marketing department on a first name basis. They will be invaluable in coaching you on how to manage your brand carefully in your market and leverage its strength.
Local Marketing and Brand Engagement
Even though you have marketing direction from your franchisor you still have your own local area insights. Only you know your neighborhood market including local area events, organizations, community and referral groups etc. So extend the corporate franchise brand while always keeping in mind your own market personality. Put your own customization in your brand engagement as follows:
- Develop special promotions
- Get involved with local groups and key influencers
- Become visible in the community
- Add local content to your website
Even though you have purchased an identifiable brand in order to build your own local band do not forget that you must be consistent. You should not change colors, design elements or messaging. Work with your franchisor and use your own marketing sense but always stay on strategy. It takes a while to take a national brand and bring it to your market successfully. So be patient and you’ll find the power of the brand that you invested in will be a big part of achieving success.