How to keep your branding strong whilst being part of a franchise

Having the opportunity to work with an established brand is one of the many benefits of working for a franchise

How to keep your branding strong whilst being part of a franchise

This often comes with preexisting brand awareness and it means you have a strong foundation to begin building your business from, enabling you to get going sooner. However, there can be a sense that working within a franchise can lead to limited freedom and less opportunities to be creative. In this article, we’ll be busting this myth and exploring how you can utilise the branding you’ve been equipped with as a franchisee without comprising on your creativity as a business owner. 

How to use Franchisor branding in your marketing 

Joining a franchise should come with plenty of ready-made marketing materials you can use. If you’re concerned about what you’ll be able to get from your franchisor, make sure you have a conversation with them about what will be available to you as a franchisee ahead of time. Most franchisors will have a suite of assets which include the logo and key materials relevant to the business you’re joining e.g. social media banners and point of sale boards.  

With these materials coming directly from the franchisor, you can use them safe in the knowledge that these are on-brand and using the same designs and messaging as both the franchisor and your fellow franchisees. 

However, no-one is closer to your individual franchise than you, you know the area, your customers and what marketing opportunities and connections you have. This means you can work with the marketing materials you’ve been equipped with to come up with a marketing plan that fits your business. Plus, you can identify opportunities for your franchise that could help with your brand’s message and run these by your franchisor if you’re in any doubt about whether they’re on-brand e.g. working with other local brands or charities. 

Why does staying on brand matter?

Finding unique marketing opportunities and creating additional assets for your business yourself can be fulfilling from a creative standpoint and in most cases, you will have the opportunity to do this in franchising. However, it’s really important to factor in where your activities sit within the context of the brand, both in terms of imagery and style as well as the brand message and values. Part of the agreement you make in joining a franchise is to stay on brand and the last thing you, your fellow franchisees and your franchisor want is for the brand to be compromised by anyone going off-brand. This can have a knock-on effect for the wider business and could make any plans you have to invest further with your chosen franchise through taking on additional units at risk. 

If you’ve joined a franchise that’s familiar to customers, you don’t want to be using messaging or imagery that conflicts with what the customer is expecting as you lose customer recall (which you need for remarketing!) and you’re diluting the brand through inconsistency with the marketing efforts of the rest of the network. Something simple like using colours outside of the brand’s palette where it’s not appropriate can risk that all important recall and trust with the customer. 

You can do an exercise in the importance of branding using various iconic company logos and changing the colours or rotating the logo to see how those simple changes make a well-known brand look much less recognisable. 

Getting creative without risking non-compliance 

Now we’ve established how to use the materials provided by your franchisor and the importance of staying on brand for your own marketing efforts, we’ll explore how to get creative without risking non-compliance. When you first consider joining a franchise and you start having conversations with a franchise you’re interested in, add talking about branding and your own creative plans to the agenda to see what your franchise agreement allows.   

Most of the time, you’ll have opportunities to make your own social media posts and ads, customer emails and print materials if you want to take them. Make sure you have the brand guidelines to hand to check what you have in mind is on-brand and remember you can check this with the teams at the franchise head office as well if you’re not sure. Plus, one of the biggest strengths of working for a franchise is that you always have existing marketing materials you can use when you don’t have the time to be creative or if creativity is not your strong suit when it comes to running your business. 

Keeping your branding strong when working as a franchisee is key to both your and the franchise’s success but there will always be opportunities to be creative with your plans. As long as you’re working with a franchise that aligns with your values and you like the look and message of the business, keeping your branding strong should come quite naturally. 

This article comes courtesy of Stagecoach Performing Arts, the UK’s largest extracurricular performing arts school provider for children. To find out more about investing in your own Stagecoach school, visit 

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