Choosing to rebrand any business is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but for franchise brands, there are even more considerations to take into account. If you think your brand is due a refresh so it continues to appeal to customers, this guide can help you overhaul your image without negatively impacting your business.
How do you know that your brand is outdated?
Rebranding costs a lot of time and money, and it can actually have an adverse effect on a franchised business if it’s not done right. After all, the value of your intellectual property, including logos and trademarks, is what makes your business so recognisable and so appealing to prospective franchisees. Even famous franchises need to alter their brand to keep up with the times. But how do you know whether this level of franchise development is right for your business?
Here are four signs that your brand may need repositioning:
1. The expectations of your target audience have changed
As your franchise develops and grows, the expectations of your customer base will evolve. To ensure that you always understand your target audience, hold regular focus groups or polls to find out as much as you can about your customers. This will enable you to create profiles on your target audience to constantly check your brand appeals to them.
2. You’ve updated your product offering or service
Just like other businesses, franchise brands grow and change over time. If you’ve added more products or services to your catalogue or developed expertise in one area, you should consider whether your current offering is reflected in your branding. In the same way, you should review your branding if there are any significant changes to your business. Perhaps several of the leadership roles have been handed over to different people, who are taking the business in a slightly different direction.
Your logo may have been very relevant to your business when you first launched your franchise, but it may confuse what it is your business does now that you’ve altered your product offering, for example. Outdated branding can result in your customers not understanding what you do and what you stand for, which can have catastrophic effects on your profitability.
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3. You want to appeal to a new customer base
Your branding may have helped you attract a particular audience or appeal to customers in a specific geographical area, but if you're looking to grab the attention of a new audience, you may need to update your brand, especially if your brand has remained unchanged for many years. A fresh take on your established brand identity may be the new lease of life it needs.
4. Your current brand is performing poorly
Sometimes, franchise development is needed to inject new life into a tired business. This can be achieved by creating an updated version of your logo and establishing a marketing campaign to accompany its launch. Remember, it’s not just a logo or a tagline that defines your brand; sometimes just reminding people of the products and services you offer through a relaunched brand can help improve customer awareness and performance.
If any of these indications apply to your business, it may be time for some franchise development – but what’s the best way to update your brand identity?
How to successfully refresh a franchise brand
From famous franchises to lesser-known franchise brands, success depends on the strength of brands to represent consistent and high-quality experiences to customers. If your franchise is in need of a brand makeover, here are our top tips on how to get it right:
1. Don’t move too far away from your original branding
Your brand may need to be refreshed, but don't be tempted to completely overhaul the core elements of your brand so that it becomes unrecognisable. This may actually lose you custom, as consumers may not associate your positive reputation with your new branding. Particularly for your logo, it's essential that you integrate some original features into the new one, so it looks updated rather than entirely different. Most businesses opt to keep their original colours and simply change the design of the logo.
Hire the services of a professional branding agency to help you create a connection between the old and the new. Attempting to rebrand in-house can result in costly mistakes being made.
2. Involve your franchisees
Your franchisees will know your customers better than anyone. Involving several franchisees throughout the redesign phase will help to ensure that any adjustments to the brand remain aligned to customer expectations.
Franchisees should not only be consulted, but also educated. To ensure you have the support and backing of your franchisees, you should make them all aware of how the refreshed brand will affect them. An excellent way to do this is to share the rebranding process, timelines and draft designs with franchisees at a dedicated franchisee event. This way, you can get immediate feedback and address any concerns.
When discussing the rebrand, you should focus on how it will help franchisees’ businesses become more successful and profitable. Remember: customer-facing material and the operations manual will need to be updated, and additional training should be arranged for franchisees and their employees.
3. Review your messaging and tone of voice
Ask yourself whether your current messaging appeals to the target audience you want to attract. If it is no longer relevant, look at how you can improve it. If you’re a clothing store trying to appeal to teenagers and young adults, for example, a less formal approach will probably work well. If you’re a mortgage broking service, your clients will want to know that you are professional and serious about doing a good job.
Adapt your writing style to suit your target customer and make sure the message you’re promoting is working well for your business. Then, use this new tone of voice in any material that reaches your customers or clients, such as email campaigns and advertising billboards. The most important thing, however, is to connect with the customer or client on a human level. Even if you want to appear highly professional, there are ways to communicate without coming across as a faceless corporation.
4. Consider launching a new product or service
There’s no need to completely change the face of your business. You could instead just introduce one new line or products or services. This way, you can take your business in a fresh, new direction without alienating customers or clients who were loyal to the old brand. Of course, this approach will be irrelevant or unhelpful for some businesses, but if you think it could work well for you, take the time to work out what your customers or clients want and how you can deliver it.
5. Look at your image
As much as you may not want to admit it, your visual identity affects consumers’ opinion of your brand. You may have a revolutionary product offering and fantastic customer reviews, but if you have an old-fashioned website and blurry marketing photographs, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.
Think about hiring a professional photographer to take high-quality photographs of your products, business premises and happy customers. If you’re a restaurant owner, make sure you have pictures that show your restaurant in its best light; if you run a dog-sitting franchise, capture photos of you and your team walking energetic dogs on a sunny day. Then, post these on your social media profiles and website.
While you’re doing this, make sure your website is optimised for mobiles and tablet devices. If you haven’t already done this, you’re missing a trick, as many of your potential customer or clients will be accessing it via their phone. Once your website is mobile optimised, ensure it looks modern and is easy to navigate. The more professional your business appears, the more custom you’re likely to get.
6. Promote your new brand
When you have gone to the expense and effort of refreshing your brand, you should focus on making the launch as efficient as it can be. Firstly, make sure you update all your visual elements before launching a refresh. Consider not only your logo and tagline, but everything your customers can see, including your website, uniforms and stationery.
Create a buzz about the brand relaunch. Promote it on your social media pages, your website as well as contacting the local and national press. Making customers aware of the update is key to the success of your whole brand refresh, so it may be best to entrust the brand agency that created the new brand to promote it too. Refreshes with uninspiring or poorly executed launches lose the opportunity to generate customer interest in a franchise.
Your brand identity is essential to the success of your franchise and represents your product, services and values. Over time, these elements may change, so it's crucial that branding doesn’t get overlooked when you’re busy growing your franchise business.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©