Franchising 101: The Importance of Franchise Brand Consistency

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Brand consistency is a crucial element of any good franchise network. It’s one of the most important parts of buying into a franchise, as that customer recognition factor could help you get your business off the ground in record time. Here is why franchise brand consistency is so important.

Think about every McDonalds or Subway you’ve ever visited. Chances are, everything from the store to the menu to the way you were greeted was pretty much the same, even if you were outside of your home country. The same goes for education franchises like Kumon. If you asked a British student and a German student about their experiences, there would likely be more similarities than differences. 

A brand is arguably the most important intangible asset you receive as a franchisee. It can give you a huge leg-up when it comes to winning customers for your new branch, but it can also make it harder for you if another franchisee or branch manager makes a big mistake. Here’s why franchise brand consistency is important, and how you can play your part in upholding it. 

What is brand consistency? 

Brand consistency is the standardised identity your business displays to both existing and prospective customers. The term covers everything from the logo to location layout to the products and services you offer. A great brand should both define what the company stands for and differentiate the company from others offering similar products and services.

A consistent customer experience is important to all businesses, but especially to those that franchise. If the franchisor has created a robust brand, which is well promoted and fiercely protected, the franchisees will benefit from the recognisable and reputable brand that has been built. However, if the franchisor is lax about protecting their brand and allows franchisees to get away with running poorly-operated locations, everyone else could get dragged down with them. 

If just a handful of franchisees offer services that aren’t up to the franchisor’s standard, the whole network’s reputation is vulnerable. Customers, who may not realise different branches are owned and operated by separate franchisees, could avoid every location of a franchise after a bad experience with one rogue franchisee. It’s up to you to do your best to protect your franchise’s brand if you want the best chance of success. 

Buying into a consistent brand

Developing a brand from scratch can take years to perfect and even longer to raise awareness of. Investing in a franchise that has a reputable brand already established and therefore a ready-made customer base saves lots of time, effort and money on building a new identity. 

Marketing can be very difficult to get right, particularly if you don’t have any experience in it, as well as potentially expensive and time consuming. It’s also hard to convince people to take a chance on your business when you have no reputation or customer testimonials to back you up. With a franchise, you’ll skip this soul destroying phase of anonymity and will likely find it easier to win the trust of new customers. 

It’s this effort that’s required to develop a respectable brand which leads to franchisors imposing restrictions and guidelines regarding brand licensing in the franchise agreement. This ensures that brand consistency is maintained both locally and nationwide.

Why you need to protect brand consistency

Here are three of the main reasons why it’s in your best interest to protect the positive reputation of your brand.

1. Customers will be willing to take a chance on you

From the first day you open your doors, customers will feel comfortable visiting your branch or enlisting your services thanks to the hard work of the franchisees before you. That’s because they’ve had a positive experience in other locations, or from using the services of another franchisee. Rather than worrying about whether they’ll like your food or that your service offering is up to standard, they’ll be confident enough to just hand over their money. 

Again, many customers won’t know much about the franchise model, so they may just assume everything under the brand name is controlled by one central team. If you can make sure your service, image and standards are in line with the rest of the franchise’s offering, you can make sure the customer experience is seamless whether they’re in your branch or one thousands of miles away.

2. Marketing takes time and money

According to Ketchup Marketing, new business owners can expect to spend up to 25% of their gross revenue on marketing. That’s almost a quarter of your hard-earned cash, which is not likely to be a massive amount in your first year of operation. You’ll also need to factor in the hours you’ll need to put aside to come up with great marketing materials. 

In contrast, established companies can spend as little as 1% of their revenue on marketing. Organic marketing through word of mouth and brand recognition will supplement adverts and blog content to make sure there’s always plenty of work coming your way. If your franchise operates to the consistently high level your brand is known for, you can save your marketing efforts for special occasions and let the central franchise team handle the rest. 

3. You’ll build a business for life

Franchise brand consistency isn’t just a perk or a privilege that helps franchisees out. Many franchises will make sure that your responsibility for upholding the brand’s positive image is enshrined in your franchise agreement. If you’re not committed to keeping the franchise’s branding and image consistent in your location, your franchise agreement could be terminated against your wishes. 

Looking to build a lifelong business out of your franchise? It’s in your best interests to take brand consistency as seriously as possible. You might not agree with every single aspect of your franchisor’s branding plan, but keep the big picture in mind; that silly greeting you and your staff have to say to customers is a small price to pay for the chance to be your own boss.

Join a franchise

If you’re interested in joining a franchise, we’ve got hundreds of fantastic options for you to explore. Check out our UK franchise directory, where you’ll find everything from fitness franchises to cleaning franchises. And if you need more guidance and tips, check out our article catalogue, which we update daily with insightful and trustworthy content.

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