There is plenty of advice available about which platforms are the best on which to spend a marketing budget: Google pay-per-click, radio, social media, etc. But truth be told, taking a holistic approach to marketing will serve both franchisors and franchisees the best. The key is in getting franchisees to see the big picture.
Most franchises require that franchisees contribute to a national ad fund, where dollars are wisely spent on branding and large national campaigns. Unfortunately, sometimes it stops there. In some cases, franchisees think that the money allocated toward national advertising is enough and that they don’t need to do any additional advertising. In other cases, franchisees are eager to run their own local campaigns, but franchisors are hesitant to release control, stifling local efforts.
The franchisor and franchisee need to see how all marketing – national and local – benefits them both. Strong brands attract more customers, which grows sales. Strong sales strengthen the brand. Strong brands attract potential franchisees. In the end, all of the efforts, from consumer marketing to franchise development, interact and support each other.
Local Advertising Benefits
Branding is only half the battle. Although a recognizable look and name recognition benefit every location in a franchise network, national branding is best supported by local advertising.
Then done well, local advertising:
- Produces higher search engine rankings.
- Yields more leads, foot traffic and local sales.
- Promotes brand consistency.
Franchises find great success in designating preferred marketing vendors who understand the brand and protect it. These vendors also can provide unique local variations within templated campaigns, which means customization and standardization are provided at scale and at a lower cost to franchisees. They help franchisees layer on to the national ad program with location-specific advertising that franchisees can easily track to see the return on investment.
Franchisors also can empower franchisees to complement national campaigns by making available branded creative, custom templates and guidelines for using each channel that franchise locations use. That allows franchisees to handle their own advertising without using images or language that are outside of brand standards.
Finally, local ads bring authenticity to the brand. Local ads can introduce employees that customers know and trust, showcase local customer testimonials and publicize a location’s community involvement. Customers are more likely to engage with images of recognizable faces than with stock photos.
Taking a more global view of the good that comes from national ad campaigns as well as local advertising helps those at all levels of an organization see the benefits of and buy into a complete marketing program. When national and local advertising work hand-in-hand rather than independently, both franchisors and franchisees win.
Lora Kellogg is president and CEO of Curious Jane. With 15 years of experience and a portfolio of top brands, Curious Jane is a leading ad agency specializing in franchises. Lora and her team work with Franchise Times' top 500 franchises and emerging franchises to grow sales, increase traffic, build brand awareness and generate leads.