By Lexie Lu
Opening a franchise provides more certainty and reputation upon its formation, compared to the many uncertainties involved in opening a new small business.
The benefits of opening a franchise location are numerous. For one, there are established franchises in the majority of industries, so regardless of your passion and knowledge there’s an appropriate niche for anyone considering a franchise.
Additionally, a great franchise provides the independence that small businesses have, though with the support of a big business network and the resulting connections and immediate reputation that comes from the network. It also helps knowing franchises have a higher rate of success than start-ups, which are risky investments.
In addition to an established image and reputation, franchises are also more accessible to aspiring owners without ample business experience. Franchisors often provide training and consultation regarding the operation of their business model. Still, one of the biggest challenges of opening a franchise is promoting the franchise, while still staying within the framework of company standards.
Six ways you can promote a franchise creatively while still sticking to company standards include:
Champion the Community on Social Media
Rather than consolidate their followers to one Facebook page or Twitter account, franchises are well aware of the benefits of having their various locations operate their social media. Of course, major product announcements or corporate details will be delivered by the franchise’s primary account, though franchise locations should play a unique role in their marketing approach.
Although a franchise’s primary social media accounts best engage the market as a whole, individual franchises can take advantage of their local presence to showcase their commitment to their community. For example, using social media to promote a local charity organization or charitable event shows the franchise location genuinely cares about its community, rather than as a source of revenue for the corporation as a whole.
Although a franchise’s social media activity will often reflect their corporate account’s counterpart, there is room on every social media platform for local-minded content. The localized content can range from community outreach to posting photos of beautiful sights around the city, somehow integrating their product, such as a Wendy’s franchise in NYC taking a photo of a new sandwich with the city skyline as the backdrop.
Consult Often With Corporate
Most corporations with franchises have a rigid set of legal and marketing guidelines franchise locations must adhere to, though they vary in reach. Some corporations take a hands-off approach, while others want the locations to follow their guidelines to a tee. Regardless, it’s prudent for any owner in hopes of unique promotion to consult with corporate on anything that diverts from the corporate strategy. For example, posting an image or message that higher-ups see as off-brand and damaging to the brand can have dire legal consequences. Better to be safe than sorry.
It’s also recommended to routinely consult with corporate regarding franchise promotion since they have monetary and resource investment in seeing your franchise succeed. Corporate has a direct stake in your success and are motivated to help.
For example, Giordano’s Pizza provides a comprehensive guide for a franchise opportunity. The guide stresses the value of franchises in general, noting franchise responsibility for $890 billion of economic output in the United States while growing every year since 2010.
The guide then elaborates on their brand’s iconic status and expansion plans, helping instill confidence that their preceding reputation will aid in promotion on its own. An “Information Snapshot” with tidbits stating 73 percent of their customers find Giordano’s to offer the best pizza on the market helps close the deal.
Similarly, Subways has their franchise resources displayed on their website in three sections. One provides a list of reasons to choose Subway as a business to open, with seminar options to learn more. Another provides a list of actionable steps, like applying to own and contacting sales. Lastly, if someone has interest in a local property they believe Subway may benefit from opening a new location, they can submit details about that location to corporate.
Subway makes the franchise experience easy and accessible.
Wendy’s also offers franchising resources with an informative one-page approach to franchising that lists comprehensive details, like precisely how much it will cost to open the store and the initial investment. Wendy’s informs potential franchise partners of royalty, advertising and technical assistance fees they must pay. The transparency and breadth of information are commendable.
A fun, effective way to creatively promote your franchise is to showcase local artists by hanging up their work on the window or throughout the location. As long as the art is not offensive or political, corporate likely will not have an issue with using an artistic showcase as a way to further engage with the community and go away from the cookie-cutter aesthetic that many locations have.
You can use the art showcase as a way to drum up attention on social media, offering to host a contest for artists, with the winner receiving free products. As a result, the franchise will attract attention from the local community positively, while also championing the arts.
Sponsor Local Events
Keep corporate in the loop with local events or charity causes. Whether it’s partnering with a little league sports team by purchasing their jerseys or helping to co-sponsor a local charity event, having the franchise’s name showcased prominently in exchange for some press and contributions can be well worthwhile. Sponsoring with fellow businesses may not be something corporate has interest in, since a competitive factor may arise, but aligning a sponsorship with charitable causes and local events has its benefits.
Personalized Flyers and Advertising
The strategies, showcasing artists and sponsoring local events, can also play a productive role in personalized flyers and advertising. For example, sending out a flyer showcasing your local arts showcase or sponsored event tells the recipient you’re not only telling them about your franchise, but also their community as a whole. Of course, the flyer can also include important details like your franchise’s location and any draws to enter the franchise, though franchises can do well in personalizing their advertising efforts by integrating local events and sponsorships.
Regardless of the industry you’re interested in, opening a franchise location offers readymade appeal. A business location can stand out among others in its niche through these unique promotional ideas, many having to do with public involvement in local causes and events. Unique promotion of a franchise is possible while remaining within company standards.
Lexie Lu is a freelance graphic designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest design news and always has some coffee in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.