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Branding your franchise right

Whether we realize it or not, we’ve spent our life with franchises. I remember taking long drives down from New Jersey to South Carolina and Florida as a kid and one of the things I remember most is the different franchises---restaurants, motels, etc --- competing for attention on roadways and rest-stops. Some of them succeeded, some of them failed, but all of them fought passionately for the consumer’s attention.

Now, there are hundreds of factors that dictate a franchise’s success. Master your franchisee training but fail to maximize the right territory and you’re as likely to fail. That said, the branding of a franchise continues to be one of the most essential ingredients in a franchise’s profitability. I can still remember walking into an Arby’s in South Carolina once. There was just something authentic about it. Clearly, someone in their corporate offices had gotten all the small details right and the result was a memorable franchise experience.

Branding is often the difference between whether a franchise rises into the public consciousness or drifts away unsuccessfully. Janet Muhleman, the president of re:group, has pooled together her thoughts on branding in the latest edition of Franchising World. Here are her seven tips to improve your franchises branding:

  1. Listen to your customers, but lead with your heart.
  2. Tell your brand story, what you believe in, why you do what you do.
  3. Create a brand personality that people relate to and want to engage with.
  4. Make believers out of your franchisees and their front-line staff so they can live the brand.
  5. Engage your customers consistently and openly at every possible touch point.
  6. Measure your performance and be prepared to embrace change and innovate to stay current and relevant.
  7. Return to No. 1.

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