Canada has a thriving construction industry franchising market, with franchises located throughout the country. Franchises offer business owners the opportunity to own and operate their own businesses without the need to start from scratch. Successful franchises typically come with established brand recognition, operational systems, training and support, marketing resources, and access to suppliers. This helps reduce the time needed to get a business up and running, while also providing potential cost savings.
The Canadian franchise industry is regulated provincially, ensuring fair practices and consumer protection for both franchises and customers.
Franchisers have a lot to think about
Franchisers have much to think about. Not only do they have to develop a successful business strategy, but they also have to develop a successful franchising strategy. As in any business, part of this strategy must involve a branding component.
Branding is one of the most important foundational strategies for a company. Often, when people think of branding, they think of a logo or tag line, but these can only be developed as a result of a good branding strategy.
The main purpose of a franchise branding strategy is to identify, research, and communicate with a specific audience that will buy a product. You need to know who they are before deciding what kind of visual (logo) or message they might respond to. There are specific exercises that branding professionals go through to help know their audience and develop materials that will appeal to them.
Franchise AudiencesFranchisers usually have at least two audiences who they must market to at the same time, and neither can be neglected.
- Franchise buyer
- Business clients
Franchise Buyer – who are they?
Franchises are popular among entrepreneurs as they provide business opportunities without having to start from scratch. People who buy franchises come from different backgrounds and have varied experiences in business, accounting, or marketing. Many franchisees also have special market-specific skills that can help them successfully run their own businesses. Therefore, business skills and market experience are key, which is critical for targeting them.
If you knew that franchise purchasers skewed towards males, aged 40, who are highly motivated, self-starters, with some cash in the bank, do you think it would be easier to find them?
Business Clients – who are they?
If you have a successful business that you are franchising, chances are you already know your end customer well, but luck or intuition needs to be formalized so that you can consistently roll out successful franchises to new owners. Write it down. Look at your business analytics. Who buys your products?
Knowing that your customers are predominantly young families and that your phone calls and website leads skew towards females, aged 35, with two children, and professional careers can help you make a whole bunch of decisions.
Customer PersonasThe two examples above scratch only the surface. When branding specialists examine customer profiles, they dig more deeply. They look to identify the following:
- Demographics – such as age, gender, income level, geographic region, hobbies, and interests.
- Responsibilities – what are they responsible for in life and in their job?
- Pain Points – what is the cause of pressure and friction in their lives?
- Motivators – what inspires them to take action toward change?
- Media consumption – what media are they likely to consume?
- Decision Criteria – what do they need before they agree to purchase?
- Approach – how will you approach this type of persona?
Buyer’s JourneyOften included with each customer persona is a buyer’s journey. A buyer’s journey refers to how a customer moves through the buying process. It looks like this:
- Discovery – just becoming aware of the product or service.
- Research – getting more interested and requiring information.
- Evaluation – looking to see who the best local provider is.
- Justification – requiring rationale to justify the purchase.
- Purchase – the final thing that trips the switch and instigates the purchase.
- What is the persona’s motivation?
- Which questions does the persona ask?
- What message do we want success with?
- Which content will the persona respond to?
The second most important aspect of your branding strategy is defining how a product or service meets the needs of your customer. You can usually find the answer in their pain points. You want your product to take their pain away. If your service gives them back four hours from their Saturday, and they can now spend that time with their children, then you have the pain and the motivator dialed-in.
You also want to use this intel to decide your market position. Are you the cheapest solution? The Fastest? The most elite? The most expensive? The highest quality? If you take a good look at your competition, you may just find something that has been missed or a sweet spot that will resonate with your customer profile.
Communication Platforms for Franchisers
You now have some dynamic information that you can use to build out your written and visual communication.
Your written platform will take the information you have discovered about your clients and your place in the market, and put it into words that will resonate, creating the real essence of your brand.
For example, you want to ensure that your vision, mission, and core values align with the values of your clients.
- Core Values
- Tag Line
- Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
This piece must come out on its own. If you don’t have a good USP, you can’t communicate effectively. This is the basis of your pitch, which is the main argument for your product.
There are many different templates that can be used for this purpose, but the most popular one is by Geoffrey Moore, a Silicon Valley-based consultant:
For____________ (target customer)
Who____________ (statement of the need or opportunity)
Our (product/service name) is ____________ (product category)
That (statement of benefit) ____________ .
Who struggle to successfully implement digital solutions
We offer industry-specific expertise
That translates into measurable revenue metrics.
This is a great place to begin discovering how you communicate the reason you do what you do. The why.
Visual platformNow is the time to create a visual identity. Now that you have read this you know, it should not be any sooner. Visual style and colors represent the values of the brand. For example: Royal blue instills trust, rounded shapes create visual calm, certain fonts can create retro nostalgia as so-on. All of this builds the tone of your brand so that it resonates with your customer – exactly how you want it.
- Corporate assets
- Social assets
- Style guide
The Power of a Franchiser Branding Strategy
Every successful franchise you look at has extremely strong banding. You might see a logo, but there is a tremendous amount of thought and planning that goes alongside it. Rolling out franchises without this strategy in place will make it almost impossible to manage the overall brand and how it is perceived in the market.
Branding strategies are foundational and marketing strategies are built upon them with tactics designed to reach the audience and put the appropriate message at their feet. As in most business processes, if you do it right the first time, things flow – if you don’t you fight the current at every step.
Let us know if you want to talk branding strategy – it’s what we do.