How franchisees underestimate brand consistency

Brand consistency is the ability of a company to project uniformity across all branded touchpoints. So it looks the same everywhere.

Franchises set themselves up for success with a strong brand. But they also have the greatest challenge in delivering brand consistency.

Firstly, their locations are geographically dispersed making communication and control harder.

On top of that, their decentralised ownership model means owners are sometimes financially motivated to execute their marketing quickly or cheaply (or both). Nearly always, this comes at the expense of brand consistency.

What franchisees don’t understand is their shortcuts have profound and damaging impacts.

So what if they create their own promotional flyer in Canva? What does it matter if the manager’s brother knows how to use InDesign, and can make their own graphics for Facebook?

Or if the shift manager found a free social media scheduling tool that allows you to easily put logos on images?

Well, the impacts of these real-world scenarios are always the same. And there are several ways they hurt a franchise.

Attribution to your brand

Firstly, the visual inconsistency may lead the audience to mis-attribute an ad or promotion as it is not immediately identifiable as ‘Brand X’. Remember the audience is unlikely to linger on a Facebook post for more than a second.

If the visuals aren’t instantly attributable to a known brand, the marketing efforts are wasted.

Lost synergies in multi-channel marketing

Most customer journeys involve people seeing multiple communications across multiple touchpoints before taking action.

For example, someone will see an Instagram post, vaguely listen to a radio commercial, and then get a mailer. While they may not consciously join the dots, there is a benefit to this cumulative effect of branded communications across multiple touchpoints.

But if the branding is inconsistent this cumulative effect gets completely undermined.

Potential customers won’t even register that they keep seeing this brand. That means they won’t be receptive to truly listening, even if it’s the fourth or fifth contact.

Amateur marketing actually turns customers away

Never mind marketing campaigns being ineffective, if franchisees’ marketing effort look positively hacky, the audience will think less of the brand.

Make no mistake, this brand damage happens frequently under the franchise model when franchisees go rogue on their marketing efforts.

Whether it’s the use of a weird font, a not-quite-right brand palette, or terrible spatial layout, the net effect will be a brand looking decidedly low-rent.

An this devalues the brand for current and potential customers, and potential franchisees to boot.