Wooden blocks with icons to represent businesses, stacked up

Does keeping your franchise on-brand feel like trying to herd cats?

If so, you’re not alone. Franchise marketing brings unique challenges. Franchisees may be dotted all over the country or even the world. Each are run by teams with their own skills and ideas. Trying to bring everyone aligned to one brand vision is hard.

But there’s a reason why McDonald’s, KFC and Marriott spend so much money on brand marketing. It’s also why they’re some of the biggest franchises in the world.

They’ve spent time and money crafting and protecting a strong central brand with a positive reputation. Their franchisees carry the benefit, allowing them to welcome customers across the world and drive revenue. The franchise stands a better chance of attracting high-quality franchisees for increased success.

Icon of a business on wooden cubes to represent a franchise network

With such valuable rewards to be won, franchise brand management is key. A franchise marketing function must bring everyone together, ensuring each franchisee stays on-brand. We list the common mistakes franchises make when it comes to brand management – and what marketers and brand managers can do to overcome them.

  1.  Mismatched visions

A franchisee might have a specific vision of how they want their business to run, including how it’s marketed. But the issue is that they won’t necessarily have the marketing experience to match head office’s.

The risk of mismatched visions is a diluted brand. We buy from the brands we trust and are familiar with. If you spend time building a strong brand that people recognise and your franchisees don’t use it, customers are less likely to visit them. Sharing a name simply isn’t enough with consumers 81% more likely to recall brand colours.

Keeping your branches on-brand will allow them to benefit from familiarity. Franchisees have an increased likelihood of customers using them. Everyone benefits from the increased reputation and revenue.

Communicate the value of a shared brand value with your franchise teams. By ensuring they are bought in, they’re more likely to follow your guidance and receive the benefits. It also makes your job of managing them much easier!

  1. Inconsistent experiences

Mismatched marketing = inconsistent customer experiences.

Imagine your friend recommends a business to you because they had a great experience at a branch. You go to another and have a terrible time. It’ll likely put you off going there or any other branches again.

Marketing has a bigger impact on customer experiences than the average Joe might expect. The way a business is marketed sets expectations and convinces people to use them.

If your franchisees aren’t aligned, it means one branch (with great marketing) might benefit from lots of customers and revenue. Another (with poor marketing) gets hardly any. Plus, if someone has already made up their mind about one part of the franchises because of bad comms, they’re unlikely to consider another branch.

It’s worth noting that 29% of franchisees operate multiple units. Consistency now matters from franchisee to franchisee, as well as within branches.

Aligning brand and marketing creates a level playing field for all franchisees. Everyone benefits from the rewards associated with your brand. Customers benefit from a better experience, wherever they go, which heightens your reputation.

Plus, brand consistency can increase revenue by as much as 20%, which will be great news for franchisee managers and your CEO.

  1. Overcomplicated guidelines

Even in a franchise scenario, the people operating your franchisees are running their own business. They’re busy. So, any marketing or brand activity they do is done as quickly as possible.

Due to this, they don’t want to spend time digesting complicated brand guidelines and checking their work against them. In many cases, branding might be new to them, leaving them without the skills or resources they need to enact guidelines. It makes franchise brand management almost impossible to enforce.

Make your brand guidance as easy to follow as possible. Often, a shared document won’t cut it. This is where brand asset management tools are your saving grace.

A platform like RightMarket embeds your brand guidelines into an easy-to-use templating system. Your users don’t have to worry about consciously following them because they’re already there. It means every piece of content is on-brand, regardless of who has designed it and their skill level.

Quote from Emma Scholes about impact of RightMarket on her franchise

  1. Missing language and cultural differences

It’s likely that your franchisees are based in different locations. This brings plenty of opportunities for error in the form of language and cultural differences. Even when the location isn’t far away, the communities you’re targeting may differ drastically.

Image of a red wall with the KFC slogan "it's finger lickin' good"

Missing these differences is a common error even the most famous franchises make. One well-known example is KFC who’s famous ‘finger lickin’ good’ slogan was translated to ‘eat your fingers off’ for their Chinese audiences. Not exactly an image that whets the appetite. That’s just one of many examples, too.

In some cases, the faux pas could be not addressing the language or cultural differences of your audience at all. You need to have the resources to acknowledge them and craft your marketing accordingly. Examples include brand management tools that have multilingual options.

You should also involve franchisee teams. They’re likely to have a better idea of your customer base in that area, which leads us to another common mistake…

  1. Not empowering your teams to embrace local opportunities

Your franchisee teams will have a good knowledge of what works in their location. They know the customers and the opportunities there. What they lack is the resources and skills needed to embrace those marketing opportunities at the right time.

For better results, you need to give your teams the means, confidence and free rein to create comms. However, you also need to keep them on-brand.

Again, this is where a brand asset management tool adds value. By offering branded templates, it’s easier than ever for them to design their own comms. They don’t need experience or other resources. It’s also much faster than having to wait for a central marketing team to respond to a design request, so opportunities aren’t missed.

Plus, as everything stays on brand, there’s no need for marketing to intervene – meaning you get more time to focus on your strategic goals instead. Everyone wins!

  1. Having multiple voices

When it comes to franchise marketing, tone of voice is often overlooked in favour of visuals. Your teams concentrate on making collateral that looks good (at least, in their opinion) and don’t think about the accompanying words.

The result is different voices for each brand and confusing messages for your customers. Even something as simple as misspelling the franchise name (it happens more often than you might think) can baffle customers.

Tone of voice is often the difference between a customer feeling welcomed or excluded. And when you’re running a business of any description, you want them to be welcomed.

That’s why voice has to be a crucial part of franchise brand management. It should feature in your brand guidelines just as much as visual elements. With a set tone of voice, every franchisee shares the same customer-friendly language.

However, as we’ve already mentioned, it’s hard to enforce these guidelines even when they’re documented. That’s why RightMarket includes a Tone of Voice Assistant to take care of it. We monitor the words users choose and suggest better, on-brand alternatives.

It means everyone across the franchise is speaking the same language for a stronger brand and satisfied customers.

  1. Not balancing compliance and trust

When you’re marketing a franchise, you naturally want to protect the hard work you’ve put into building a trustworthy and recognisable brand. Sometimes this translates as trying to micromanage franchisees.

However, franchisees see themselves as their own businesses and do not need hand holding. Your efforts to do will likely lead to wasted marketing time and tension.

Instead, you need to ensure they feel trusted to succeed without swaying too far from your brand guidance.

RightMarket’s hands-off support helps by enforcing your brand guidelines without you having to check up on users. Our template systems combines visuals and tone of voice. Your franchisees have everything they need to create their own marketing.

If you do still want extra peace of mind, approval workflows will allow you that final check before any design can go off into the real world.

As a result, your teams are empowered to take an active role in their business’s marketing and you don’t have to worry about brand catastrophes. Franchisee trust and compliance are both ticked off.

The tool to conquer franchise marketing chaos

If you’re marketing a franchise and find yourself facing daily chaos, you need something that unites your franchisees. Effective brand management protects the overarching brand so your franchisees reap the rewards.

RightMarket is the brand management platform that makes it easy for your teams to create impactful, on-brand designs. We’ve already got proven experience helping franchises to align their network and access benefits.

With easy-to-use templates, approved image libraries and tone of voice guidance, there’s no risk risk of off-brand comms. It means your franchisees are trusted to embrace local opportunities, while your brand is protected.

Marketing capacity is also freed, meaning they can focus on doing the things that matter.

Book your Project Discovery today to find out the time and money we could save your franchise marketing team.

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