Q: What should a prospective franchisee look for in an established franchise system’s approach to marketing and advertising?
You cannot evaluate a franchise system’s marketing and advertising without first understanding its brand and reputation. So, first you need to determine if these have been well-defined.
For advertising to be believable, it must support the brand and its promise. As a franchisee, you will want to know how your contributions to the ad fund are being spent and how they will affect the overall ‘brand story.’
Another factor to keep in mind is the mix of media. Consumers are still watching TV and listening to radio, but social and digital media have also redefined how they consume content and are essential ingredients in today’s media mix. Canadians are online more than ever and we can now reach them in more personal and targeted ways than in the past.
Q: Once a prospect has become a franchisee, how can he/she participate in the system’s marketing and advertising efforts?
It is incumbent on the franchisee to ensure the brand’s marketing efforts reach the guest experience at his/her individual store. Participate in all of your franchise system’s promotions and programs. Keep your in-store signage current. You’d be surprised how many franchisees don’t do this!
You can make national promotions more effective by extending their messages through your own local store marketing efforts and into your community. Participate in local events where you can provide samples and distribute coupons. Make your business memorable and top-of-mind for potential customers.
The most important thing to remember is you are part of a bigger system. Whether you’re selling products or services, the ability to deliver a brand consistently across the system and within your location is the greatest benefit of the franchise business model. The whole is far greater than the sum of its individual parts—and each part has an equal responsibility in creating that whole.