Not that this is some sort of execlusive knowledge, in fact, both franchisor and franchisee would definitely acknowledge the importance of marketing. Just that, in the midst of a mad-house rush to ensure the new franchise unit is being operationally prepared for the targeted opening date, marketing often takes a back seat.
In any case, while franchisors typically focus on an overall branding and marketing message for the franchise system as a whole, there is also a need to be attentive to how these messages are broken down and delivered by franchisees at the local level.
Not Streamlining The Marketing Message
While local marketing could incorporate the local community’s culture and preferences, the marketing message should essentially speak about the franchise’s core values. Besides, brand consistency is a key characterizing element of franchising, and what better way to have this in place by defining a marketing message for all under the system to follow, where a familiar brand provides customers with familiar expectations.
Not Defining Guidelines
Franchisors should establish clear guidelines and directions on how to deliver marketing messages and the appropriate use of brand collaterals. And also, provide objectives so the franchisee fully understands what is expected of them and why they are required to perform certain actions, and the potential benefits that may come along with it.
Conversely, not having guidelines creates a blurred line for who should do what, when, where and how (which could sprout from misguided franchisee expectations that they can kick back and let the franchisor handle everything). Most often, this results in nothing being done.
Overlooking Local Listings
Not being found online today means you don’t exist. While franchises will have their own main website, it might not list all outlet locations, much less an updated version to include new or upcoming units. Whatever the case, there are many options for local listing, with popular ones such as Google My Business, Yelp and Tripadvisor, among many others. Although there is no guarantee of customers showing up at the door, being listed on such local directories definitely helps the business to be more visible online.
Ignoring Customer Reviews
When the Internet was introduced in the 90s, information became widely available. As long as one was in front of a computer, information became instantly available at one’s fingertips. But communication was only one-way, with websites delivering information to the reader. And this came to be termed as Web 1.0. Fast forward to 25 years later, and today, advancements in mobile technology not only allows obtaining information on-the-go, but Web 1.0 had evolved into Web 2.0, allowing a two-way communication channel between websites and readers. Most obvious examples can seen in forums and business review sites.
Now, when one performs an online search to learn more about a business or its products and services, they don’t just look at what the business is saying about themselves, but will also find out what previous customers had experienced. And since these sentiments are not coming from the business themselves, such reviews have come to be a trusted source that contributes to a consumer purchase decision.
Furthermore, a bad online review received now is almost like an in-store complaint. So, imagine a scenario where you are running a restaurant and a customer makes a complaint about the food being cold. Are you going to ignore them and pretend it didn’t happen?