3 Ways Franchisors Can Protect Their Brands’ Reputations — Without Having to Micromanage Franchisees
As a franchisor, your marketing needs are higher than ever. Customers demand frequent, omnichannel experiences with the brands they patronize, and they expect those experiences to be the same across every channel and every location. And it’s not just the demands that are higher than ever — so are the stakes. No matter what product or service they are looking for, customers have more options than ever before, and Salesforce reports that, if their branding expectations aren’t met, 73 percent will take their business elsewhere.
So, for franchisors in charge of global marketing efforts, protecting brand quality and ensuring consistent communications from every franchise and across every channel is tantamount to the brand’s continued growth and success. But as the brand grows, so do the challenges of protecting it. While the corporate team may be perfectly able to oversee local marketing efforts at the beginning — with just a handful of franchisees to support — that effort becomes more immense as the business expands, and franchisors quickly find themselves spending all their time micromanaging local marketing instead of tackling the high-value, big-picture and growth-driving initiatives they should be focusing on.
Today’s franchise marketing leaders need better ways to empower local marketing and protect their brands — without having to add hours to the day or sacrifice business-critical initiatives.
Here are a few suggestions for streamlining your to-do list and getting back to what matters.
1. Turn Your Franchisees into CMOs
Your franchisees are likely savvy business owners—after all, you wouldn’t have allowed them to buy a franchise if they weren’t—but they probably aren’t natural marketing geniuses, and that’s ok. By setting up the right systems early on, you can empower them to create, customize and execute top-notch (and corporate-sanctioned!) marketing campaigns with minimal effort, ensuring your carefully curated branding and messaging remains consistent.
Start by migrating all the latest assets to one digital location that approved users have access to 24/7. If the corporate-approved holiday open house invitation is available at franchisees’ fingertips, they won’t be tempted make their own — and you won’t have to field dozens of requests to send it to individual owners. And if they have access to predesigned window clings, they’re much more likely to use them to step up their marketing game.
Ensuring everyone has access to the same collateral is a critical first step, but remember that consumers demand personalization in their brand engagement. In fact, research has shown that up to 50 percent of target audiences ignore brand messages if they’re not localized. That means that, at a minimum, they’re looking for their native language, local jargon and cultural references. So once you’re assured every piece of marketing collateral is current, relevant and on-brand, be sure franchisees can easily and quickly personalize and localize those assets, within corporate parameters, for their particular consumers.
And finally, give them access to a trusted printing partner to take yet another load off your shoulders.
2. Spend More Time Driving Growth and Less Time Packing and Mailing Collateral
Managing national and local print orders may have made sense at the beginning of the business, but here again, growth (or even the anticipation of growth) requires more efficient systems.
Identify a trusted printing and distribution partner that can handle on-demand and bulk printing for all your assets — both the traditional, small-format collateral and the special, grand-format items. And even better, choose a partner who can handle packing, kitting and mailing to specific franchises for you, as well.
Using this partner for national marketing campaigns, and giving franchisees access for local initiatives, will not only save the time you once spent managing, ordering, packing and shipping orders; it will also save the worries about whether your customers’ information is secure, whether your collateral is on-brand, personalized and printed correctly and whether it will make it where it needs to go. (As a bonus, you’ll likely see cost savings from special USPS deals businesses can’t get on their own.)
3. Make Micromanagement a Breeze
Let’s be honest: as a franchisor and business owner, you’ll never be completely hands-off, and you shouldn’t be! You’re the one making the strategic marketing decisions that drive your brand’s growth and evolution. But there’s one more tool that will make your job as “micromanager” so much easier.
What are the KPIs you’re tracking from your franchisees? They likely include expenses, asset stock, ROI and more. And how are you tracking those KPIs? Early in the brand’s life, relying on franchisee reporting may be sufficient, but as the number of franchises grows, it becomes all but impossible to both track down all those reports and format them in a way that gives you the at-a-glance insights you need to make smart high-level marketing decisions.
You need a system that will automate those tracking efforts for franchisees, taking the reporting burden off their shoulders and aggregating data in a way that gives you visibility into each franchise’s marketing initiatives and progress at any given moment.
This always-on, consolidated view will make it worlds easier for you, the franchisor, to keep track of everything you need to see and intervene when you need to — without feeling like you’re constantly breathing down franchisees’ necks.
As a franchisor, your brand’s reputation is your number-one priority, but as your business grows, it can feel impossible to stay in control of local brand initiatives. To learn more about how to streamline local marketing efforts — and save you time and headaches — we invite you to contact OneTouchPoint today to learn about our end-to-end print marketing support capabilities. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.