As the franchisor, it is imperative that you reinforce your brand image from the start. Your brand is your marketplace identity, and it can include your name, product or service, a logo, slogan and even a color scheme. Consistency is key as it is what your customers will come to expect. Without consistency from unit to unit, state to state, the product suffers and the strength of your franchise declines. Imagine how confused you would be if you walked into a McDonald’s and saw no Golden Arches, purple and blue advertising and pizza instead of burgers and fries.
Your brand distinguishes you from your competition. It is your responsibility as the franchisor to promote and protect it, as it can easily be lost by the franchisees on a local level. If you leave it up to them, all uniformity or identity in your brand image potentially could be lost.
There are a few, easy ways to help maintain your franchise’s image. First, incorporate consistent brand standards over all types of media so your corporate identity remains constant. Next, give your franchisees the tools they need to build the brand locally by using local advertising campaigns. Remember, your franchisees pay you royalties to use your brand name and image, so you need to provide them with the materials. Finally, you should consider hiring a franchise attorney to assist in maintaining your brand image. An attorney can help with registering trademarks and implementing programs to enforce trademark usage among franchisees. Also, if any disputes relating to trademarks and proprietary information arise between franchisor and franchisee, you may need an attorney to resolve the situation.
Promoting and protecting your brand image starts with you, regardless of whether or not you hire an attorney. As the franchisor, it is your obligation to maintain consistency throughout your franchise system. By enforcing your brand image from the start, it will only grow stronger as you expand your franchise, and your customers trust in the consistency of your brand will too.