Maintaining Your Brand

July 8, 2013

Much has been written about the importance of building, maintaining and protecting your brand. Providing a consistently good product and equally important, a consistently exceptional customer buying experience are cornerstones of any business. This idea is especially critical for growing franchise companies. I have a lot of experience marketing, selling and managing franchise sales. I used to work for a highly successful California-based franchisor and saw first-hand how quickly sales could be compromised at a particular location when owners deviated from the established brand model, whether it was by purchasing product outside of approved vendors, not using systems provided by corporate or failing to utilize effective, branded marketing collateral. This was always a struggle as many owners purchased the business to get away from the constraints of a previous job and were not as interested in applying the model. Today, there are greater opportunities to promote and market your business. Social media is one area that can help local owners capitalize on a national brand but it can also be an area where owners go “rogue” and convolute the message. The following piece discusses the peril of websites that are inconsistent with corporate brand standards. http://empowerkit.com/blog/marketing/achieve-brand-compliance/.

Brand Perception

When franchise companies have an established brand, capitalizing on that is an imperative for business owners who have bought into the model. It is then the responsibility of the corporate office to ensure that their owners are in compliance with these standards and equally important in protecting the brand from infringement. http://www.franchoice.com/resources/franchise-articles/Protecting_Your_Brand. Strong brands are directly related to consumer purchasing. Large, non-franchise companies with thousands of locations have an advantage in maintaining brand standards since store managers’ employment is largely dependent on the extent to which their locations maintain pricing, signage, customer service, hours and best practices that line up well with the defined standards. This is why your experience in Starbucks is so consistent. Appropriately, their hiring practice and the simple mantra that is sewn on the inside of the barista apron (Anticipate. Connect. Personalize. Own.) ensure a highly consistent level of service. I always want to support the little guy but have no patience for bad service. A bad hire and a confusing process makes cost irrelevant. We pay for the experience. To that point, John DeJulius gets it right. http://blog.thedijuliusgroup.com/2012/07/05/ and has the chops to show for it.

So what does software have to do with maintaining brand standards for franchisors? Volano Solutions is currently working on a mobile application for regional franchise managers. This tool will replace the current, paper-intensive method currently standard in growing franchise companies and will allow for faster collection of data from on-site visits and greater visibility for the corrective actions between the franchisee and corporate. The idea is to position this franchise support rep to spend more time helping develop their owners and less time auditing them. It also ensures that the information collected will drop into a transparent, accountable workflow for reconciliation. In that respect, technology can be a conduit to greater adherence to franchise brand standards. It also saves time. We’re excited to roll this out and have early, local interest in beta-testing the application.

Does your business struggle with brand consistency?