Centralised brand control, local autonomy

How the central marketing team can control brand whilst ensuring franchisees exploit local marketing potential 



According to the European Franchise Federation, there are more than 10,000 franchise brands operating across Europe. Countries such as Ireland, Spain, Germany and France are leading the way in terms of franchising. The contribution of franchising to the UK economy alone is now estimated to be a massive £15.1 billion, an increase of 46% over the past 10 years.

Along with the increase in franchises has come an increase in frustration with brand control and marketing autonomy. The frustration is widespread, present in both the central marketing team and across the franchisees.

Marketing is vital to a franchises success and yet, according to one US study, 64% of franchisees are dissatisfied with the marketing support they receive. Ensuring franchises and multi-site organisations follow through on marketing initiatives whilst maintaining brand control across a franchised network are major challenges for the central marketing team. Franchisees feeling unsupported and ill-equipped to market to their local audience are left exasperated as they are missing out on valuable local opportunities. 

Inconsistent branding damages the brand

The central marketing team invest valuable time and budget creating brand guidelines to be used consistently by all franchisees. Everyone adheres to the brand rules and guidelines religiously and this in turn achieves brand consistency across all franchisees, simple, right?  Well.. not exactly.  Just because the central marketing team works hard to provide material to achieve brand uniformity doesn’t mean it will be implemented by the franchisees. Same goes with nationwide (or global) campaigns; unless these campaigns can be tailored to appeal to the local market, franchisees just won’t partake.

When franchisees don’t follow brand rules and guidelines it damages the brand’s credibility. Think of the harm that can be caused when franchisees design their own promotional items, point of sale products or window displays completely out-of-line with the franchise’s brand style.

These problems occur because franchisees can crave independence; they have their own ideas on how to attract customers and they are usually only worried about the local market. Another reason (and probably the main one) is because franchises don’t have a system in place that makes local marketing possible, so franchisees take it upon themselves to create their own marketing materials. 

Franchisees will struggle to profit without localised marketing activities

88% of franchisees see locally synchronized national campaigns as a competitive advantage

Localised marketing campaigns are incredibly powerful. Consumers have come to expect a certain level of personalisation with 90% of 18-34 year olds valuing a more personalised approach from retailers. Some marketing teams can make the mistake of creating a ‘one size fit’s all’ marketing campaign, but a large amount of consumers only really care about what is happening in their local surroundings, their own towns and cities. According to signs.org, 85% of business customers live and/or work within an 8 kilometre radius of the businesses they use.

The reason marketing teams may overlook local marketing campaigns is because they don’t have a system in place that makes it possible. It is also very tricky marketing to local audiences and demographics whilst sticking to brand guidelines and ensuring total brand consistency. Localised marketing initiatives are crucial to a franchisees success, so it is important to give local franchises the autonomy to be creative and to engage the local community.

The only way to ensure local marketing is run correctly is by ensuring that local branches have the tools to market effectively, on brand and on time. It is vital that franchises can react to their local environment, local competitors and local events whilst maintaining a tight control of brand. It is also crucial that the ability to monitor the success of all marketing campaigns is not diminished.

So how is it possible to achieve uniformed branding across franchisees whilst also allowing localised marketing campaigns?

It is vital to implement a solution, accessible to all franchisees that allows them to use approved marketing materials but that also provide flexibility and editable elements to ensure they are relevant for their specific local markets. We provide a multi-point marketing solution that helps retail, franchise and other multi-site organisations to market more effectively by offering complete brand control to the central marketing team and full local empowerment to each brand outlet to run localised, personalised campaigns. Paragon’s multi-point platform is a complete solution for driving your local marketing campaigns. 

For more information on how we can improve marketing across your franchise, please fill in the form below.