As a franchisee, you have different branding challenges than other small businesses. You must effectively target local markets without straying from a national brand strategy. It’s a delicate balance, but one that’s vital to your success as a franchise. If you’re making any of these top 3 mistakes, you may be eroding your profit, not to mention your investment!
- “Updating” the logo design. Placing that same logo design in the same place on everything – it just doesn’t feel fresh, does it? Hold on. Before you tweak your visual identity, think back to why you bought the franchise in the first place. What were you really buying? A pre-built brand – i.e., the right to use the franchisor’s trademark and trade name. A significant part of your investment is in the brand equity the franchise has achieved through recognition of its logo design, which is the foundation to brand identity. Any change in color, font or unapproved positioning of the logo weakens the brand (which is why there are so many rules about franchisee logo usage). What’s more, it can cause confusion among potential customers.
- Sending mixed messages. The franchise manual says to focus on certain messages, but you want to say something else. Maybe your think your market would respond better if you said things your way. Think twice. If brand messaging is inconsistent between franchises, all messaging can become muddy and unclear. This weakens brand equity nationally and locally. A house divided cannot stand. When you “bought in” to the franchise, you “bought in” to its core messaging. There’s no two ways about it.
- Confusing “consistency” with “boring.” A friend comes up with a clever jingle and suggests you use it on the radio. It’s not brand-compliant, but boy, is it catchy! Time to remind yourself that all marketing campaigns must stay true to the brand (see #2 above). When it comes to branding, consistency is key. While the strategies for reaching your particular markets may vary, repetition of quality marketing messaging and design will give you the most opportunities to grow. This applies to the marketing channels you use as well as the marketing content – if one channel works well, keep using it, even if it seems old-school. Try new avenues, yes, but not at the expense of the tried-and-true. Measure everything, repeat what works, and use data to drive your decisions.