When a Marketing Rebrand is Necessary in the Franchise Industry

A businessman holding up a tablet with words and icons about rebranding emerging from it.

Branding is one of the most underrated services in the franchise industry. As a franchise development company, Rhino 7 is deeply committed to making sure that every facet of an emerging brand is being served, but we put special attention on branding by investing in state-of-the-art electronics sales tools to help brands properly investigate how their product, service or business will be perceived by potential customers.

That said, experts in our field believe every franchise should go through some kind of rebranding every seven to ten years, and that’s without special circumstances that might trigger the process more immediately. Let’s take a quick look at the rebranding process and some famous examples that illustrate the benefits and perils of rebranding.

Why We Rebrand

There are lots of reasons to rebrand a franchise but the process shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s expensive, time-consuming and, for some major franchises, can result in mistakes that lose tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

The first question to ask is, “Why are we rebranding?” There are lots of answers to this question, which may include:
  • Refreshing your franchise company’s public image to reflect modernity or authenticity.
  • Creating a new way to differentiate your company from the competition.
  • Eliminating or improving a negative image.
  • Solving a corporate crisis involving self-image or other aspects of the business.
  • Serving a franchisor’s legal obligation to keep the business up to date, not only in products and services but also in the image they project to the public.

What is Most Important During Rebranding?

A designer creating a new logo for a company rebranding,
 
There are dozens of factors involved in the rebranding process. Complete rebrands destroy valuable intellectual property such as trademarks and logos, making them worthless. We need to know how a rebranding will affect not only current customers but potential new markets. Most of all, we need to understand the problem we are trying to solve and apply a disciplined, innovative business strategy to attain the expected results.

However, at the end of the day the most important thing you should remember is that the key to rebranding is communication. The only constant is change, and franchisees are better equipped to manage change than most entrepreneurs, but it’s still a significant change to their business that could, and should, affect their bottom line. The key message that all franchisees want to hear is how the new branding will help grow their businesses, attract customers, and help them succeed.

Some Prime Examples of Rebranding

If you look up rebranding, you’ll find tales galore of brilliant strategies that transformed companies forever and cautionary tales that could keep you up at night. Let’s look at just a few.
  • 2008: Popeye’s Chicken changes their messaging from “Chicken and Biscuits” to “Louisiana Kitchen.” The company instantly added history, heritage, a sense that the business made real food for real folks. This heavy dose of authenticity helped the Georgia-based chain to upgrade its image and boost sales.
  • 2012-2013: Wendy’s modernized almost everything about its business including its logo, packaging, uniforms, menu and location prototypes. Franchisees could have freaked out but the company provided a $100 million credit facility to finance franchisees who wished to upgrade their locations to the new standards.

And Some Branding Blunders

Two hands giving a thumbs down.
 

  • 2011: AirBNB suffers when a host’s home was vandalized and the company, following its model of claiming to be a software company, offered no compensation. This led to a major rebranding that was both costly and not entirely effective.
  • 2010: The Gap changes its logo. Everyone hates it, and the company reverses itself in six days, at a cost of about $100 million.
  • Rebranding can be a difficult hurdle and it’s not a challenge to be taken lightly but it shouldn’t prompt despair, either. Sure, common and realistic fears of failure are intimidating, and rebranding can always be a potentially risky move. However, it’s important to remember that franchise businesses are a constantly evolving organism and the combination of research and innovation can very often lead to a positive and healthy dose of reinvigoration.

     

    The ultimate goal of any rebranding effort or makeover is to create a positive impression of your business among not only your customers but potential customers and the consumers in your community in general. Franchises that take the time to research, to communicate with customers, and adjust their current offerings to keep up with the times and make themselves appealing to their customers are bound for success.

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