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How to Match a Great Product with an Even Better Narrative

Franchise brands are relying on research and education to get their messages out to consumers.

By Cassidy McAloonSenior Writer
SPONSORED 2:14PM 01/24/17

It’s no secret that innovation is key in the franchising industry, as it is in all areas of business. That’s why brands are constantly rolling out new products or programs designed to boost customer experience. But introducing those great products and programs alone isn’t enough to make a brand stand out from the competition. It’s critical for franchise concepts to create an even better narrative surrounding new initiatives in order to achieve the greatest level of success.

For the better burger brand MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, creating that narrative begins with education. This year, the brand is planning on rolling out a new initiative called MOO2. The program—which includes the addition of 100 percent certified angus beef, all natural chicken and unique toppings to its menu on a national scale—is designed to take MOOYAH’s experience to the next level. But instead of rolling out the new program without any warning to consumers, the brand is first laying a strong foundation through its messaging.

“We’re taking time out of our marketing calendar to educate consumers on the local level as our restaurants introduce the new MOO2 format. We’re taking it product by product—we want our customers to fully understand what changes we’re making, and why it’s beneficial for them,” said Natalie Anderson Liu, Vice President of MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. “As soon as that educational foundation is laid, we’ll be able to have fun with our national marketing campaigns.”

Saladworks is another brand that builds its narrative around education. However, Saladworks creates its messaging—and new, innovative initiatives—after doing extensive research of its own. The brand’s vice president of brand services, Jena Henderson, says that gaining insight into the minds of both existing and potential consumers is what has enabled the brand to successfully rebrand its 30-year-old system.

“We don’t just rely on our customers telling us what they like or don’t like. We take our consumer research a step further by specifically deriving the importance from it—we use data to determine what menu items we can offer that people aren’t getting anywhere else. That ultimately gives us a huge competitive advantage in the salad-centric fast casual space,” said Henderson. “Once we have that information, we’re able to enhance our menu and deliver the unexpected.”

Delivering the unexpected then allows the brand to piece together a comprehensive marketing plan. By adding its first clean protein—antibiotic-free chicken—and more vegetable topping options to its menu in addition to rolling out a more modern store design that includes charging stations, Saladworks is able to reposition itself through its messaging and brand narrative.

“By changing our narrative to match the new Saladworks brand, we’re enhancing what we already do well. Our feedback has been phenomenal so far, so we’re encouraged and enthusiastic to see what’s next,” Henderson said.

MOOYAH and Saladworks are far from the only franchise brands making a change to their marketing and messaging, especially as the new year gets underway. In the months to come, it’s likely that concepts around the globe will be introducing their new products to consumers through a variety of different narrative strategies.

“Consistency in your brand story and brand promise is paramount. That’s ultimately what makes your brand consistent, which then creates a strong relationship and loyalty with customers. Every story that you’re telling needs to be part of one cohesive and larger picture,” said Anderson Liu.