The Right Advice: Maximize the impact of your brand development council.

Author:Hansen, Dustin
 
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Franchise councils play an important role in the success of a franchise brand, and the most popular type being used is the Franchise Advisory Council (FAC). Many brands struggle to maximize the true power of franchise councils because they are missing a few key ingredients. Just like baking a pie, all the right ingredients must be used, or the result could be unpalatable.

InXpress was one of those brands, but through the teachings of Dr. Ben Litalien, CFE, we effectively established a Brand Development Council (BDC) and broke open the power of our franchise network, increasing our brand's value by more than 41 percent during a two-year period. So, what are the right ingredients?

First, for context, what led InXpress to make a change and set up a BDC? We learned the hard way that a franchise council lacking the proper ingredients can become divisive. We found many benefits the first few years with an FAC, including a better understanding of the needs of the franchisees, more effective communication with franchisees on key initiatives, and deeper understanding of current challenges and solutions to those challenges. But when the FAC came to be seen by franchisees as their "representation" that would negotiate and fight against the franchisor, the basic tenets of the FAC were lost.

Under the leadership of Litalien, we established our BDC to includes the following four key ingredients. It consists of franchisees (called BDC councilors) and franchisor executives. Each BDC councilor has a work group of franchisees. The job of the BDC councilors and their work groups is to make sure these four key ingredients are covered:

No. 1

PERSONAL CONNECTION

Franchise networks are just that: a connected network. Powerful people networks are optimized when there is a common connection or relationship established between people. Think Facebook, a fraternity, or a religious congregation. BDC members will only be effective in creating franchisee engagement if they established a connection with other franchisees. In truth, this is quite easy: ask questions about a person until something in common is discovered, and then use that commonality to strengthen the relationship. Once this personal connection is built, the opportunity to capitalize on free-flowing ideas will present itself. This is the foundation and a core ingredient to a good franchise council.

No. 2

PROACTIVE IDEAS

Each BDC councilor and their work group members frequently and proactively speak to...

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