Benefiting from Franchise Marketing

Looking for insight on franchise marketing? Patti Laine, President of BBN Canada (Franchise), shares her expertise and advice with Canadian Business Franchise Magazine.

Q: What should a prospective franchisee look for in an established franchise system’s approach to marketing and advertising?

A: You cannot evaluate a franchise system’s marketing and advertising without first understanding its brand and reputation. So, first you need to judge if these have been well-defined.

For advertising to be believable, it must support the brand and its promise. As a franchisee, you will want to know how your contributions to the ad fund are being spent and how they will affect the overall ‘brand story.’

Another factor to keep in mind is the mix of media. Consumers are still watching TV and listening to radio, but social and digital media have also redefined how they consume content and are essential ingredients in today’s media mix. Canadians are online more than ever and we can now reach them in more personal and targeted ways than in the past.

Staying current and using all of the tools available today to communicate and differentiate a brand are certainly among the factors you should look for in a franchise system’s approach.

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Q: Once a prospect has become a franchisee, how can he/she participate in the system’s marketing and advertising efforts?

A: It is incumbent on the franchisee to ensure the brand’s marketing efforts reach the guest experience at his/her individual store. Participate in all of your franchise system’s promotions and programs. Keep your in-store signage current. You’d be surprised how many franchisees don’t do this!

You can make national promotions more effective by extending their messages through your own local store marketing efforts and into your community. Participate in local events where you can provide samples and distribute coupons. Make your business memorable and top-of-mind for potential customers.

The most important thing to remember is you are part of a bigger system. Whether you’re selling products or services, the ability to deliver a brand consistently across the system and within your location is the greatest benefit of the franchise business model. The whole is far greater than the sum of its individual parts—and each part has an equal responsibility in creating that whole.

Q: What marketing and advertising trends do you currently see affecting the way franchises are branded and promoted?

A: The fastest-growing trend in marketing and advertising today is digital and it is especially prevalent in franchising. Going beyond ‘traditional’ online advertising, today we have the means and the technology to target messaging to a user depending on their individual behaviour.

If a consumer is searching online for a vacation, for example, then the next time he/she is on a related site, specific ads can be served up for related products and/or services.

In the quick-service restaurant (QSR) sector, meanwhile, mobile apps have been popping up everywhere that allow customers to order and/or pay ahead for their food. Everyone is looking for simplicity and to save time and these apps respond to those needs. While some of them are ‘consolidator’ apps that represent a variety of different restaurants, we are also seeing a growing trend of apps developed for specific franchise brands. In addition to offering convenience for consumers, these apps allow franchisees and franchisors to learn more about their customers through one-on-one marketing communications that were previously impossible. Based on a customer’s buying habits, for example, an app can send him/her coupons and offers specific to his/her needs. With such heavily personalized promotions, sales can be directly linked to return on investment (ROI).

Patti Laine is the President of BBN Canada (franchise) and brings her wealth of experience and expertise on both large and small businesses to the table. She is dedicated to leading franchise businesses to establish their voice in the marketplace and expand successfully throughout North America.

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