Is your brand strong enough to franchise?

Entrepreneur and franchise consultant Rebecca Newenham talks about how you can ensure your branding is ready for the next step

When you consider the most successful businesses around the world, which names come to mind? Global superbrands like Apple, Amazon or Google? Branding is a powerful tool, and getting it right can equip your franchise for success.

Before you take the franchising step to scale your business, it’s vital to think about your branding. Do you have a logo? Or a business name? There are many different aspects to a successful brand, including colours, icons and straplines. If your company name currently includes your own name, like J A Smith Accounting, then the first step is to create a brand that goes beyond you as an individual. For example, ‘Accounting Action’ might be a better option for your franchise business.

Colour is an essential aspect of branding

Once you have established a relevant company name, you need to consider colour. Top brands are often associated with particular colours, like the blue and yellow of Ikea or the red of Coca-Cola. Colour psychology plays a significant role in branding, and it is worth consulting a graphic designer. They can help you understand how different colours make people feel and what might suit your industry.

Don’t forget your brand personality. For example, bright orange might suggest a vibrant, bold company that’s not afraid to stand out. Pastel shades might promote a more caring approach. Think about the possible negatives of some colour choices, as well as the positives. For example, pink can be seen as feminine. If your target market is women, then that’s fine. But if you want to attract customers across the board, you might need to choose an alternative.

Icons and straplines can add power to your brand

Many successful global superbrands have developed brand assets beyond their company name. Think about the Nike swoosh and the Just Do It slogan. The Instagram photo image, or ‘This is not just food, this is M&S Food.” Those images and phrases get stuck in our heads due to the money those brands spend on advertising but also because they live and breathe them across all parts of their businesses and in all their communications.

Effective branding is all about consistency

Once you have all your branding elements together – be it a combination of a name, colour, icon, strapline, etc, consistency is everything. Those branding elements need to appear on your website, in stores, on social media and on email footers. Consider clothing, promotional items like pens, vehicle wraps, signage, and exhibition stands. Anywhere your brand appears needs to look and feel the same. The more consistently well-branded you make your business, the stronger your brand will become.

Once you have committed to your brand, stick to it for some time. If you look at global superbrands, their core branding elements remain essentially unchanged over decades. The Apple image of the apple with the bite out of it has been around since the 1970s. The red and yellow scallop shell of Shell has been used since the 1930s. Repeating the same images over time allows you to build a stronger connection with your audience and a clearer, more recognisable brand.

If you are considering franchising your business, now is the time to consider your branding. In fact, the iconic McDonalds golden arches first came about when Dick and Mac McDonald decided to franchise their restaurant concept. Don’t expect to be a branding expert. Reach out to graphic designers and franchising consultants who can help you build the core branding elements into your success. Even if you’ve already established your franchise, revisit your branding regularly to ensure it remains relevant and is being used effectively as a powerful marketing tool to drive your franchise forward.

Rebecca Newenham
Rebecca Newenham