Let’s say you live in California, and you’re vacationing in Iowa. You’re a fan of Chick-fil-a® and you’re hungry. You find the nearest Chick-fil-a, dig into your chicken sandwich, and you’re a happy camper. Just as you knew you would be. That’s the power of brand consistency at work.
You knew what your experience would be like before you even got there. You knew how great the sandwich would taste. You knew how pleasant the staff would be. You knew what the restaurant atmosphere would be like. You knew you might run into cows who don’t know how to spell. Done right, a well executed brand is hard to resist.
It Starts with Brand Personality
When you think of Coca-Cola, you have feelings of wholesomeness. Coke quickly positioned itself as a tradition as American as apple pie. When Pepsi came along later, it had to find a way to chip away at Coca-Cola dominance, and positioned itself as a little edgier alternative to Coke. The hipper choice, if you will.
These are two brands occupying the same market space, but differentiating themselves to appeal to different audiences. In the U.S., Coke goes after middle-America. Pepsi plays up its underdog appeal. Maybe you remember the Pepsi Challenge?
What Branding Means at the Local Level
Brands come in all shapes and sizes. Like him or not, Donald Trump is a brand. Disney is a brand. Twinkies is a brand. Brands can cover all bases from Apple to Zumba. So, you see, brands can be used to describe people, companies, products, beverages, apparel, automobiles, organizations, political parties, causes – even ideas – … most any entity striving to become a household name will do so through establishing its brand.
Franchisees are invited to tap into a national or regional brand’s marketing to give each franchisee location an instant brand presence at the local level. The brand positioning and personality a franchisor creates is the main value the franchisor brings to the table for franchisees to succeed.
Branding: The Big Advantage of Purchasing a Franchise
When you choose to join a franchise company, you do so in the belief that the franchisor has done all the homework, made all the mistakes, and fine-tuned the branding for the product or service you’re setting out to represent.
The franchisor will deliver to you everything you need to be successful and will expect you to follow the guidelines about how your marketing, trademarks (logos), and operational tools are used. When you choose to be a franchisee, you’re buying into proven branding practices and need to follow the branding story consistently if you want to get the most out of your investment. Otherwise, you may as well go it alone and suffer the expenses and challenges of creating a brand from scratch.
There’s Power in Numbers
Branding is not meant to be limiting. It’s meant to connect you with every other franchisee owner in your system. There’s strength in numbers with everyone following the same script, so as your customers get to know you and your fellow franchisees, you’ll experience mutual success.
A best way to describe it is that someone who’s a fan of your company’s brand in another city or neighborhood is a potential built-in customer when they come to your area. Brands are powerful, because people can travel all over the country and find comfort in knowing what your product or service experience will be like, no matter where you are.
Brand Consistency is Key
Some of the areas you can be expect to be supported through branding:
- Logo design
- Consistent product and service offerings
- Marketing strategies (daily and seasonal)
- Web strategy
- Social media messaging and imagery
- Location signage
- Interior and exterior design
- Local advertising materials
- Team training
- Dress codes and uniforms
- Company culture
- Operational support as it relates to supporting your brand
Sometimes branding is the simplest of things. You’re unlikely to hear a Chick-fil-a employee respond to your thank you with a “No problem,” but rather a “my pleasure.”
Trust the brand and you’ll enjoy the success it delivers to its fullest capacity.