Dynamic Business Logo
Home Button
Bookmark Button

Don’t expect customers to connect the dots in a vague and miserly branding and marketing campaign – To make a franchise work, you need to understand its point of difference and then you need to flaunt it.

Active ImageThe branding and marketing of your franchise is as important as the product or service you sell.

For your franchise to continue to grow it needs to attract customers and this is where good marketing and branding are crucial.

Andrew Griffiths, author and co-owner of the Marketing Professionals, says in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, branding and marketing are essential to building your business. "The problem is that most business owners have a very dollar-based view to spending on marketing—which means, if I spend this much money how much will it return me?" he says.

And while it’s impossible to put a dollar value on marketing your business, he adds, without a good corporate image, branding, public relations and excellent customer service, your business will struggle.

Mike Padden from Franchise Systems Group agrees. "It is very important that the branding is in position well before deciding to franchise," he says, adding that the most successfully branded franchises are those that get it right before they franchise.

Getting the right professional look for your franchise involves choosing the right colours, layout and logo. Padden recommends getting expert help, further to that of a franchising consultant. "Franchising consultants aren’t versed in the nuances of graphics and design," he says. Instead, he suggests hiring a graphics or design expert—one who has proven experience in business branding.

Griffiths agrees, adding that it’s ‘false economy’ to save money on an unprofessional looking brand that will cost you customers. "Have a look at some the leading franchises, every aspect of the business looks the part—the colours work, the logos work, the promotional material works—because the owners realised that the branding and marketing tools are
what make the business different in the first place.

"Don’t do it yourself. Assign a good agency, marketing company or graphic designer or a combination of these, and develop a very clear plan and desired outcome. Then let the professionals do what you pay them for."

If cost is an issue, says Griffiths, you should question whether you really have the money to turn the business into a franchise. "The better the business looks from the start, the greater the chance of it succeeding and attracting new customers from day one," he adds.

Griffiths recommends franchisors look at the following when coming up with a branding or marketing strategy:

• Send a consistent message (don’t confuse the customer) and keep it simple.

• Pay attention to details—in marketing material, advertising and in the business.

• Be a part of the community where you do business—a lot of franchises can be seen as being large, multinational corporations, consumers don’t realise they may be owned by a member of the local community.

• Focus on customer service—it is everything.

• Build loyalty—keep your customers coming back. Acknowledge they have made a clear decision to use your business and reward them for it.

Marketing Tactics

According to Padden, consistency of exposure is important, too. "Franchisors forget the value of PR," he says, recommending that they enter themselves and franchisees in awards whenever possible, as well as trying to get free local media exposure in the form of editorial.

He also advises franchisors, when coming up with a logo or a brand, to think about how it will fit in a variety of locations. For example, a vertical logo would be hidden on a shop with an awning. So find a design that fits where it would normally be placed, something that can be used universally.

"The franchisor is responsible for the marketing direction and branding of the franchise, but they need to give independence to the franchisee to do things in their local area—work with the franchises," Padden says. An established franchisor should help the franchisees with marketing, even if not required to do so by the franchising agreement.

Griffiths says the corporate imaging and branding for some of the stand-out franchise brands (such as Gloria Jeans, Bakers Delight and Eagle Boys Pizzas) work because their distinctive advertising and their in-store promotional material and fit-outs are very well designed. Because the franchise model is also a popular one from the consumers’ perspective, he adds, business in general has a lot to learn from some franchises’ branding. "I think retail and business in general should be following the principles of marketing from a franchising point of view," he says. "If a business can be made to look like it is a franchise, even if it isn’t, there is a very good chance that it will succeed. I call these chameleon franchises—because they look like a franchise even though they are not."

A Handi Brandi

Rod Ellis and his business partners decided to open an Indian restaurant in northern NSW on the presumption that there was a gap to be filled in the local marketplace.

After coming up with a catchy name, Handi Ghandi, it wasn’t long before they realised there was more to a successful business than just a good name. "Our aspiration of having 100 stores was soon cut short when we realised that opening another Indian restaurant was just that, another Indian restaurant," says Ellis.

When he and his partners realised their run-of-the-mill eat-in and takeaway style wasn’t working, Ellis decided they needed something fresh, a point of difference. "Our customers were looking not only for healthier food but, as we put it, cleaner food. They want healthy food; they want it served quickly; they don’t want to pay a lot of money. And so we set about reinventing our shop according to consumer needs."

And while he knew expert help was going to be needed to market his brand, he found it was imperative that he also knew the business inside out, including the direction he wanted the business to take to propel it forward. "There is no point employing someone to help market your business if you don’t understand it yourself."

Understanding the importance of word-of-mouth marketing, Ellis has factored positive customer experience into his marketing plan, making it his goal to produce a good product that customers will talk about. "It’s that simple—make sure your product works."

Also important to Ellis and his partners was ensuring the business looked professional, and coming from a graphic design background helped him make choices about design components to make the logo work.

Ellis approached this from a conceptual point of view. The catchphrase, ‘Great curries … No worries’ represents exactly what they wanted the business itself to represent—great tasting, convenient Indian food. The colours were chosen deliberately to represent the food colours: "To signify the curry look," says Ellis. He was also able to get an ad agency rep to draw the image of Ghandi, after briefing him on the exact look he wanted to achieve.

Part of the marketing of the business included opening up the first concept store in a small country town, where he and his partners thought there would be the least impact while they tweaked the finer details, including the cooking and packaging methods. Once they got the product right, they closed the store, reopening in a larger town, with aims to have 10 to 20 stores open by the end of next year.

What do you think?

    Be the first to comment

Add a new comment

Guest Author

Guest Author

Dynamic Business has a range of highly skilled and expert guest contributors, from a wide range of businesses and industries.

View all posts