Whether you started flipping burgers when you were 14 or saw a great financial opportunity, you bought a franchise for a reason. One of the greatest benefits of buying into a brand is its power in numbers. From having national support to pooling your local funds together for the greater good of the co-op, you have an opportunity to build more brand awareness if you work together with fellow franchisees. You are all on the same team; your shared goal is to take share from your competitors.
One strategy to leverage collective power is to contribute more to a national ad fund in order to have the budget to promote the overall brand on a national level. This can be a difficult and sometimes contentious decision, but when done correctly, it can be extremely powerful. In the world of brands, consistency is king. Similar to how you bought into the brand, consumers have too and they expect a consistent experience with you or anyone else within your organization. By delivering a focused message instead of varying offers for each location, the impact can be stronger and execution more cost efficient, both for the system and for your individual units. An added benefit is that other franchisees will probably get excited and support the promotion or message in market. The best promotions are those that are integrated with national and local support across all available media.
Even if your franchise doesn’t buy national media, we have found it to be more efficient to centralize marketing development. For a recent franchisor client, we were able to help them establish an umbrella strategy that was right for the system. We then developed messages and creative that were relevant to all locations. Once developed, corporate was able to provide a tool kit with all of the assets the system needed to market locally. Franchisees were able to supplement the national buy with a local buy of their own, using corporate-developed content and tools.
Another option for you is to form a co-op in order to come together locally to layer additional media weight to the national communication. Recently, we had the opportunity to do this in the Chicago area. Franchisees in the Chicago DMA were struggling with brand awareness due strong competition in the market. They were looking to be heard, but no one was able to afford a radio buy on their own. Knowing their situation and the market, we were able to pool their funds (creating an informal co-op) in order to afford 13 weeks on air. The additional media weight helped boost the impact of the national TV and digital media plans.
Please keep in mind, though, that even when choosing either of the above options, it is wise to continue to invest in your own local market. The ideas above are meant to strengthen your place within the market while you continue to work at the local level.