Helping your local franchisees market themselves effectively has always been an enormous challenge—and it’s getting more complex every day. After all, franchisees generally aren’t trained in marketing and they have a ton of other operational issues competing for their attention. To make matters more difficult, franchisees are often short on budget, as well as time. And to top it off, new marketing tactics are emerging and evolving at a pace so fast, it’ll make the average franchisee’s head spin.
So what steps can your brand take to help franchisees win the distributed marketing battle online and off? That’s what this post is all about.
1. Create a brand style-guide website that your franchisees can actually use.
Most brand-guideline websites (and the still-present-and-even-more antiquated brand binders and books!) are filled with complex graphic design jargon that confuses franchisees and sends them running into the arms of local agencies or design firms, where their already-thin budgets will disappear in a heartbeat. Save your franchisees that heartache by keeping the following points in mind:
- Use simple, understandable language to define your brand-approved typography, colors, and logo-handling. If you can afford it, provide access to properly licensed brand-approved fonts so your franchisees can activate the brand voice without running the risk of a lawsuit. If you can’t afford to distribute your brand fonts, provide clear instructions on how to purchase them. At the very least, provide brand-approved font-substitutes from a reputable free source like Google Fonts.
When specifying colors, make sure to provide specific values for all the different color-spaces your franchisees will need: CMYK (for print), RGB (for digital), hex (for HTML and email), and Pantone (for two-color and three-color jobs). Be sure to clearly indicate which color space works best for which environments—franchisees are notorious for not paying attention to that critical detail.
Provide your brand logo(s) in all the formats that are typically required (EPS, JPG, PNG, GIF), and make sure you explain the proper purpose for each. Do not expect your franchisees to understand the problems that aspect ratio can sometimes cause when trying to get a logo to work within a layout. If you have an extremely vertical or extremely horizontal brand logo, provide examples of how the component should be laid out, and be up-front about the difficulties that franchisees may encounter.
2. Create "evergreen" promotions that franchisees can implement quickly and easily whenever time and market-conditions permit.
Remember that, for most franchisees, marketing is something you do with whatever minutes remain at the end of a long day. That means execution has to be easy and the results as close to predictable as possible
As a brand, you should keep an eye out for successful marketing tactics implemented by your franchisees— and then share them with your entire franchisee network, in an environment where they’re easy to browse and use.
These successful campaigns will often come from the experts at brand headquarters. But keep an eye out for tactics that franchisees enact on their own. When a franchisee achieves some marketing success, make the most of it. Write up a case study and publish it on your extranet. Or, even better, replicate the tactic as a template that other franchisees can follow, and give your franchisee full credit for their marketing smarts. You’ll be amazed how far a little recognition like this can go!
3. Combine static assets and customizable templates, and online tactics with traditional.
There’s nothing faster and easier for a franchisee than downloading a brand-approved file and posting, publishing or printing it out on property. That’s why digital asset management capabilities are key to the success of your local franchise marketing portal. But franchisees also love to customize some pieces of creative to make the campaign their very own. It might be choosing photography that addresses their local market. Or selecting a headline and body copy combination that really captures their local store personality. Or it could be as simple as getting local listing and contact information just right. No matter what the need, a little local control helps to activate the brand message—and maximize local franchisee success.
4. A Little Content Management Goes a Long Way.
Franchisees today are awash in different systems that their brands have imposed on them—from billing to HR, to supply chain, and beyond. They know the difference between smart systems, which anticipate their needs and eliminate unnecessary steps, and antiquated tools that put needless roadblocks in their way.
In local marketing, you can increase your system intelligence by making sure your system recognizes each user, grants the right level of permissions for their needs, and anticipates the content they want to use or implement. With a modern local marketing automation system, you can build in this level of intelligence, so that franchisees get the smooth experience they’ve come to expect.
5. Adjust Your Approach to Each Franchisee's Marketing "Maturity"
There’s a temptation to think of your franchisees as a monolithic community of “users.” That’s a mistake. Remember that you’ll have some franchisees who have developed a great deal of expertise in marketing, and others who are just starting out. It’s important to meet each franchisee where they are, and to tailor your advice and recommendations based on that.
As franchise marketing veteran, Michele Whaley, says on a recent Pica9 podcast, you need to offer capabilities and solutions that are compatible with the user’s skill and experience levels. To be sure, this requires investments of time to understand your franchisees at an individual level. But when you take the time to listen and adapt, you’ll find that your local franchise marketing system is a fantastic force-multiplier—giving you the ability to scale yourself and your team in ways you might not have thought possible before.
CampaignDrive Powers Local Franchise Marketing
CampaignDrive by Pica9 is a leading SaaS marketing platform that transforms your brand assets into creative, dynamic, and ready-to-use templates. Our cloud-based platform enables multi-location brands to seamlessly customize marketing materials and promotions for each location's target market.
To kick-start your brand's local marketing effectiveness, we recommend taking our tool out for a free test drive. Experience first-hand how system administrators, designers, and local marketers use our software to power value-driven customer experiences and deliver on-brand creative across the distributed network.