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By Sarah Bright on May 13, 2024

Designing a Franchise-Focused Marketing Strategy: Brand Uniformity and Local Relevance

If you've ever been to Sedona, Arizona, you've probably noticed that something's a little off about their McDonald's. Those iconic golden arches we all know and love are, in fact, teal green. When the restaurant was first built, McDonald's corporate agreed to depart from their brand colors in order to avoid clashing with the hallmark backdrop of Sedona's red rocks.

The teal arches were a calculated decision to deviate from the McDonald's brand standard — one that has since paid off in spades, now that the location has become a popular destination for tourists. But if every McDonald's franchise suddenly decided to pick a different color for their arches, it would erode the strength of the brand and take away from the comfort and familiarity that customers have come to expect in a franchise restaurant. 

What Is Franchise-Focused Marketing?

Franchise-focused marketing is the promotion of a franchise business at both the corporate brand and individual store levels. It includes all of the tactics that a franchise owner might employ to drive business to their particular store location as well as the broader strategy the corporate business employs in order to empower franchisees to succeed. 

Good franchise marketing strikes a balance between driving individual store success and ensuring broad brand compliance across the company's network of franchises. In order to achieve this balance, companies need to build a unified franchise-focused marketing strategy that offers individual franchisees the guidelines and resources they need to market their businesses successfully.

4 Qualities of a High-Quality Franchise Marketing Strategy

Different companies will have different specific marketing objectives, but there are four key characteristics that every good franchise-focused marketing strategy has in common.

1. It Empowers Franchises to Succeed

Let's face it: not everyone is born with an innate gift for business. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that roughly 40% of new businesses fail within four years. Franchise ownership offers new store owners access to the wi34.7 percent of business establishments born in 2013 were still operating in 2023 : The Economics Dailyder business's knowledge, resources, and support — but only if you make it available to them. A good franchise-focused marketing strategy should equip franchisees with everything they need to succeed.

2. It Encourages Brand Compliance

When individual franchise owners deviate from the company's unified design, voice, and tone, it erodes the strength of the brand. A good franchise-focused marketing strategy not only lays out guidelines for franchisees to follow, but it also incentivizes owners to follow them. 

3. It Leaves Room for Individuation

Brand guidelines are important, but they should be just that — guidelines. It's not realistic to expect that store owners will only ever utilize the exact language and branding passed down by corporate, especially when they're feeling the pressure to keep their store profitable. A good franchise marketing plan leaves room for owners to get creative without having to venture beyond the bounds of the company's brand strategy.

4. It's Flexible and Adaptable

Each franchise location might have the same company name on it, but they're far from the same. Different locations will have different local economies, communities, events, suppliers, and environments — all of which impact how each store owner runs their business. A good franchise-focused marketing plan is capable of providing every store owner with the tools they need, even when their needs are evolving and diverse.

How to Craft a Franchise-Focused Marketing Strategy

Establish Brand Standards — and Make Them Easy to Follow

If you want to make sure your brand is well-represented across hundreds or even thousands of franchise locations, you need to make sure that every store owner understands your brand guidelines down to the letter. Every franchise should have a brand book that lays out all of the company's standard colors, fonts, and design specs as well as a guide to writing copy in the brand's voice and tone. 

Moreover, make sure that your brand guidelines are simple to implement. Put yourself in the mindset of a stressed-out small business owner and design your brand guidelines so that following them is the easiest option. If you provide copy, designs, logos, and templates, franchisees will have no reason to deviate from your brand standards.

Set Up a Centralized Source of Information

Anyone who's ever played telephone knows that it's virtually impossible to keep multiple stakeholders on the same page unless everyone is getting their information from the same source. That's why it's essential for companies to build a single shared location for its entire franchise network to access the design assets, copy, and templates they'll need to stay compliant with the company's brand guidelines. 

This centralized platform should act as a storage unit for brand resources as well as a dynamic tool for building unique brand-compliant assets and utilizing customizable templates. 

Help Franchisees Gain a Foothold in the Community

Although each store will eventually have its own unique marketing needs, the essential steps of the initial launch project are typically the same across franchise locations. Your franchise-focused marketing strategy should include guidance and training that empowers new franchisees to launch a successful marketing strategy of their own. 

Company-provided marketing guides help franchise owners avoid common mistakes and save the time and resources they would otherwise waste on trial and error. They also afford the company an opportunity to exercise some control over how their franchisees' initial marketing efforts are executed, which makes it easier to ensure those efforts are aligned with the company's brand and values. 

Templatize as Much as Possible

Companies can pre-create a lot of marketing assets and guidelines for franchisees, but the lion's share of each store's marketing needs will be dictated by individualized local factors. At some point, store owners will inevitably have to create social media content, web assets, and landing pages that are customized to their unique needs.

While your company likely can't provide bespoke digital assets at scale, you can provide dynamic templates that allow franchisees to edit parts of an asset while keeping key brand characteristics consistent. With more complex templates, you can provide a branded foundation for just about anything an individual franchisee might need.

Good Franchise-Focused Marketing Benefits the Company and Its Franchisees

Brand uniformity doesn't have to feel limiting to franchise owners, and neither does individual owner creativity have to threaten the consistency of the company's brand. With a solid franchise-focused marketing strategy and the tools to execute it, companies can balance the needs of the individual franchise alongside the values of the corporation to ensure that everyone wins.

Next Steps in Creating a Franchise-Focused Marketing Strategy

As you navigate the myriad options for enhancing your franchise marketing strategy, one of the leaders in the space is Pica9. Known for the standout features of CampaignDrive, his comprehensive solution offers detailed analytics. This enables you to refine your strategies based on real data. Its dynamic content customization ensures that your marketing materials resonate with local audiences while maintaining brand consistency.

Investing in a franchise marketing strategy that aligns with your current needs and future goals is paramount. To explore how CampaignDrive can elevate your franchise marketing, we recommend scheduling a demo today.

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Published by Sarah Bright May 13, 2024
Sarah Bright