People invest in a franchise to have a recognised brand above their front door but it can all count for nothing if their franchisor isn’t getting the word out
Investing in a franchise offers aspiring entrepreneurs many advantages that aren’t available to them when starting a business from scratch. Not only do franchisees benefit from existing systems and training in how to use them but they also have access to help and support from people who have already made the leap into franchising. This support helps franchisees hit the ground running and avoid the common mistakes many people make when starting a business.
However, perhaps one of the biggest advantages that franchisors offer to their franchisees is access to a well-known and established brand. It means that customers are more likely to trust the quality of the products or services.
McDonald’s, which is currently ranked the sixth most important brand in the world, has enjoyed great success as a result of its brand’s uniformity. Whether you visit a McDonald’s franchise in France, the UK or the US, the brand is instantly recognisable and you will receive the same product, service and customer experience. This is a vital part of the success of the business and its franchises.
The concept of uniformity should be taken seriously by franchises of all sizes and extends to the alignment of their external communication channels with their core values. Small franchises can underestimate the importance of investing in their communication channels, which can ultimately hinder their growth. On the one hand, existing franchisees may struggle to promote the business in their geographical area because of a lack of brand awareness while, on the other hand, that same lack of brand awareness may put off potential franchisees.
When someone buys a franchise, they hope to receive at least two things: a recognised brand and a proven operating system. A lot of smaller franchisors provide the practical support but are reluctant to invest in targeted marketing and PR campaigns, believing that effective marketing is possible only for big players such as Costa Coffee or Subway.
Building network-wide adherence to brand and operating standards is obviously important. However, a brand encompasses every aspect of a business that people see and encounter, from mentions in the press to its social media activity. So while an effective PR campaign is obviously no substitute for building a strong franchisee support structure, hand-in-hand they can help create a successful business proposition.
Franchising is one of the UK’s most robust sectors, contributing £15.1bn to the economy. It’s important to keep that momentum going and make our sector an even bigger player; something that can be achieved by adopting a more professional approach to internal and external communications.