Is Your Franchise Marketing Experiencing Digital Friction? Don't Worry, You're Not Alone.

Author:Lee, Aaron

We had a terrible rain storm a while back--right after the roads in my community had been resurfaced. Once the flooded streets receded, an annoying pothole emerged. It was unavoidable, so every day I'd drive over it and grumble under my breath. This went on for weeks, and over time I just accepted it. I stopped noticing it altogether--until they paved over it again. "Oh yeah," I remembered. "That used to bug the heck out of me!"

There may be similar potholes in your franchise. Some are so apparent that you feel them every day, but others have been hanging around so long that you've just gotten used to them. Over my 30-year career, I've enjoyed working with more than three dozen franchise brands. Trust me: I've seen potholes in the marketing and branding of almost every franchise--even the ones who seem to be running smoothly. My experience has allowed me to identify common causes of these friction points and, more importantly, how to pave these potholes over. Here are just a couple from my upcoming book, Frictionless Franchise Marketing.

Deviation Isn't Innovation

Innovation requires having a meaningful understanding of what your brand represents and a deep respect for the power of brand equity. The challenge is that success looks different depending on where you're seated at the franchise table. A franchisee wants predictable return on investment. The franchisor wants to build brand equity that drives consumer and franchise sales.

Taking the time to train, communicate with and align your marketing team, franchisees and agencies to serve each other's goals is the key to maintaining brand integrity. Otherwise you'll have franchisees sharing their off-brand "best practices" and unauthorized offers with other owners across the system. They'll claim they are just being innovative, but these deviations only sow consumer confusion, network distrust and brand inconsistency. Get in front of it with great training, and stay on top of it with communication. Your franchisees and agencies will give you gold with the right guidance; otherwise they'll just "innovate" on their own.

One Size Doesn't Fit All

The evolution of digital marketing has offered a plethora of possibilities to mine data and track activity. There are so many input variables, data sources, delivery channels and unique user goals that today's franchise brands face a complex problem: How do they prioritize the best digital strategies to use?

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