Working within a franchise has its pros and cons. On one hand, you benefit from your franchise having a strong, trusted identity. Local customers may choose to visit your business based on what they know about the national organization, and you have a vast network that can support your business with ideas and resources.
On the other hand, you may feel limited in marketing your business within the franchise’s standards. It’s a delicate balance: you want to get word out about your business, but you don’t want to violate the overarching organization’s standards. Here are some concerns about branding your franchise and some tips for dealing with those issues, because we’re all about finding solutions.
Concern #1: I’m Worried About Breaking Franchise Rules
You’ve got a great marketing idea for your business, but it breaks several different franchise rules.
First, always consult the franchise guidelines to fully understand the rules in place. When preparing your marketing strategy, ask yourself these questions to help explain why your idea is useful and beneficial. What makes this idea great in your region? Is this an idea that other franchisees could benefit from? Would changing the rules hurt the national franchise in any way? Do the rules prevent you or other franchisees from properly promoting your business? Having these points solidified in advance will address any questions the national team may have.
Franchise rules are in place to protect the company’s overall brand, but the rules don’t always help franchisees. If you can make an economic case to the national company that your idea will boost business without harming the overall brand, you’re more likely to get them to reconsider their rules.
Concern #2: I’m Unsure About Local Involvement
Most franchise companies know that local involvement is key to each business’s success. Some have national guidelines for where money or resources can be donated, such as a nationwide rule dictating the money only goes to one charity.
Check your franchise’s guidelines before donating money and see if you have discretion in your donations. If possible, donate time and resources to either a local charity or a larger charity that supports local initiatives. If you don’t have the authority to make those decisions, find out what charities the community tends to support and see if you can make a case to the national company to support those charities through your business. If you can’t, you may have to support those charities as an individual, which can still create goodwill for your company.
Concern #3: I’m Not Reaching Enough Customers
Your franchise has a national ad campaign, but that doesn’t differentiate you from all the other franchises out there.
Create individual social media accounts (like Twitter or Facebook) for your franchise. Be sure to check your company’s guidelines for the type of material you can post. You can share posts by the national company alongside your own original content. To ensure you make a good impression online, check out our social media tips and guide to converting followers into customers.
There are other simple ways for you to differentiate your local business from others. If you’ve received a positive review or award, post those achievements in your store for patrons to see. Or host a special in-store event like a weekend wine tasting at your liquor store or an evening cooking course at your restaurant. You don’t need to spend substantial time and resources to establish your local franchise in your community.
Alex Harris is Connectivity’s Eastern Region Sales Manager