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February 20, 2018

Huge Growth for Franchise Networks Predicted in 2018 — Is Your Brand Ready?

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Ready to launch your franchise network into the stratosphere? Recent reports indicate that 7 out of 10 CMOs believe their franchise network will at least triple in growth over the next five years. Marketers believe that this accelerated growth rate will come from investments they're planning in three critical areas: an improved customer experience, new products/services and better marketing technology.

To facilitate this growth, the world's top franchise brands have begun to really evaluate how local marketing contributes to the bigger corporate objectives. Some have even invested in scalable solutions to help partners deliver expert local marketing. However, one fact remains: local marketing execution problems and brand inconsistency are still major roadblocks on a brand's path towards new growth. In order to grow the location network, brands must be able to hurdle these and other local marketing barriers with ease.

Are you ready to take your brand to the next level in 2018? Let's start the year off right by analyzing the most common local marketing challenges brands have to overcome in order to accelerate their growth.

Achieve Accelerated Franchise Growth in 2018

Challenge #1: Figuring Out Local Autonomy vs. Brand Control

When it comes to distributed marketing, there are a lot of moving parts. It's important for franchisees to work independently, but corporate marketing teams must also take ownership of a few critical areas including campaign strategy, asset deployment and more. Even for the world's most successful franchise organizations, brand governance is a tricky issue to navigate. Give too much control to local partners and brand consistency issues will likely arise. You could start to come across colors and fonts you've never seen before in your brand's advertising. While corporate marketers often expect that franchisees and store managers lack marketing expertise, brand consistency challenges could just as easily be coming from cumbersome corporate systems like lengthy approval processes or legacy software that's difficult to use.

To tackle this local vs. brand ownership challenge, brands must first analyze their internal marketing infrastructure. How much leeway are local partners being given when it comes to planning and designing their own marketing pieces? Does your corporate design team shoulder most of the weight? In order to achieve maximum growth, you need to be prepared for success. Decide how much responsibility each stakeholder group should have and give them all the tools and resources they need to develop, deploy and manage marketing at scale.

Developing a solid organizational infrastructure is a critical component of success for any distributed brand. For more insight, check out Managing Marketing Collateral Locally: Who Owns Asset Creation?

Challenge #2: Local Adherence to Brand Standards

Did you know that 7 out 10 corporate marketers believe that brand standards and guidelines are critical to the brand's identity and marketing objectives? Without brand standards in place that are being shared and followed across the organization, brand consistency challenges will likely occur, customer experience gaps will emerge, and as a result, revenue growth targets will be missed. All of those growth-sapping issues can be fixed by implementing a few clear processes. This way, corporate marketing teams can help their local partners adhere to established brand standards and still support local affiliates in their quest to deliver local marketing excellence. Consider using the following processes:

  • Brand Assets: Build a repository of pre-approved brand assets to help local partners use the right imagery, typeface, colors and messaging in their marketing materials. Why is this important? Without a collection of brand assets in place, local partners will likely invent their own. Usually, this is where you get low-resolution imagery and non-standard fonts. If you just make the high-quality versions available to them from the start, you can head off all those headaches.
  • Brand Standards & Guidelines Documents: You've given your local partners a collection of the brand's most important marketing assets. Now it's time to make sure they're using those assets correctly. With a brand standards and guidelines document, local affiliates can better understand how particular assets should be arranged, which colors should be used, and what not to do.
  • Marketing Templates: The Brand Bible is a great starting point, but it's not all that easy for franchisees to make sense of it. Take the legwork out of local marketing compliance by giving your partners print and digital templates as well. With the brand's core messaging and aesthetic already in place with these templated materials, local partners can add some unique local flavor to boost marketing results and never have to think twice about fonts or colors.
  • Routine Support & Education: Without on-going support and education, local partners may fall out of sync with the brand's unique visual identity. By giving them the tools and resources needed to manage brand standards and guidelines, local partners will be empowered to deliver more effective marketing.

Help your local partners create beautiful marketing campaigns. Check out 4 Ways Leading Brands Create Beautiful Local Marketing Campaigns.

Challenge #3: Delivering the Right Message in the Right Channel

To capture and retain audiences, brands must deliver the right marketing messages at the right time. Fail to capture the attention of local consumers and your franchisees will have a hard time hitting next month's revenue goals. For marketing campaigns to be truly impactful, they need to tap into the emotions of the customer. When the distributed brand can't quite home in on those unique desires or deliver consistent messaging across the franchised network, growth ends up diluted.

In order to deliver the right messaging, boost local marketing performance and gain some serious traction on the path to franchise network growth, brands must deliver an orchestrated customer experience across multiple channels and locations. This could involve two or more channels in the marketing mix including email, social media, direct mail and more. The real challenge is to multiply this multi-channel marketing approach across the franchise's 50, 100, or even 1,000 locations.

To tackle this challenge, brands can start by listening to their local partners. What marketing channels work especially well in their local market? Can they offer any information to support these claims? Consider surveying local customers to identify the most significant areas of marketing impact. What types of messaging really resonates with them and why? Use this information to tailor the local marketing materials you give to your partners so they're optimized to support the brand's growth goals.

Help your local affiliates to deliver the right marketing message. Don't miss 5 Ways to Make Digital Marketing Easier for Local Marketers.

Jumpstart Your Marketing in 2018 with Local Marketing Automation

To solve these and other distributed marketing challenges that tend to get in the way of growth, many enterprise brands have invested in Local Marketing Automation (LMA) solutions. This type of software is tailor-made for the local marketing challenges that crop up with a large location network. The systems can be advantageous for both corporate marketing teams and local partners. Here's how:

  • Corporate: As a brand manager, corporate marketing executive, or graphic designer, your primary goal in local marketing is to help local partners follow your brand guidelines to create effective marketing pieces. You've established a clear standard of excellence for your local partners, now it's time to put those standards into motion. With LMA, local marketing compliance is never left to chance. In fact, corporate marketing teams can simply build all of the brand's complex design rules right into the LMA system. That means your local partners will use the correct logo or fonts and colors in their marketing, every single time. As a result, LMA gives corporate marketers the maximum return on their creative.
  • Local: As a franchise owner, the top priority is to drive more traffic to your location and oversee daily operations. Franchisees simply don't have the time, energy or bandwidth to focus lots of time and effort on marketing. With LMA, local partners can actually get to spend even less time on marketing, while still getting better results. How? With convenient access to easy-to-use print and digital templates, local partners can quickly tailor marketing to fit local needs while simultaneously adhering to brand standards and guidelines.

Now might be the right time to invest in LMA. For more, check out 7 Signs Your Brand is Ready for Local Marketing Automation.

Ready to Boost Local Marketing Results?

The anticipated growth of franchise networks in 2018 will depend on brands' ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences at greater scale. In order to achieve accelerated local marketing results and provide consumers with a world-class experience, brands must hurdle issues related to local marketing execution and consistency. To take these challenges head-on, many enterprise brands have chosen to invest in dedicated software for local marketing.

For even more insight into LMA performance, check out the 2017 Distributed Marketing Benchmark Report. In the report, you'll find data gathered from over 1,000 distributed marketing professionals that gives key insights and predictions for distributed marketing in 2018. Distributed-Marketing-Benchmark

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