Familiar with the term “brand police”? If you work in a central or head-office marketing team it’s a term you’ll have had levelled at you at some point. Apparently, it’s not meant as a compliment! But, when it comes to brand management, having the eyes of a hawk and the nose of bloodhound is in all good marketers’ DNA. We simply can’t help ourselves. Which is why, without the right tools, rolling out local franchise marketing can be both a minefield and a headache.
Branding is a complex animal. A science in its own right. At the risk of over-simplifying it, we’re drawn to these five basic tenets: -
- Appealing design - everything a customer encounters looks as though care and attention have been paid to it and that imagery, fonts and colours marry to deliver an impressive sense of the organisation.
- Consistent delivery - Customer experience is everything. Obviously. So, each interaction with the brand – whatever channel or medium – must positively contribute to that.
- Relatable values – the culture and personality of the brand needs to shine through so customers can relate to it and forge a relationship with it.
- Deep understanding – of its market and its customers tastes, preferences and needs.
- Trust and Integrity – it’s well-understood that “a brand is a promise”. Break that promise and your brand’s reputation is shot.
There’s no such thing as the average franchise nor, the average franchisee, but it’s a business model which naturally attracts those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Their initial and ongoing investment will have been hugely influenced by the strength of the brand and they will want to exploit this to the max. However, the franchisee is not best-placed, or resourced, to manage or develop it.
The central marketing team on the other hand has the knowledge and experience as per the five rules above, as well as the brand strategy and campaign-planning expertise. At local or regional level though there may be factors, anomalies or events that make changes and deviations to these necessary. In addition, the custody of and responsibility for data for personalisation may also sit locally with the franchisee.
A centralised system that serves both parties and plays to each of their strengths is the solution. A Brand Marketing Hub which allows the central marketing team to protect the brand, craft campaigns and keep a firm grip on brand assets, while delivering easy access to those that need them. A system that makes written brand guidelines a relic of the past and helps franchises nurture brands for the future. One that makes brand custodians the good cops, not the bad cops!