If you can’t beat them, join them.
We all know that saying, but do we as business people truly follow this mantra? Far too often we focus on the creation of new ideas versus following what time and data have proven to be successful. Think about the waste of money that is spent on consumer research to only be used for one specific brand. No, really think about it.
I was talking to a marketing executive who told me that Burger King has simply started following McDonald’s to the point that BK will pivot quickly if they learn about some product that the competing chain is moving forward with. What is potentially brilliant about this is that McDonald’s is a research company in that it really tries to understand consumers’ wants before executing. If that’s true, then why would BK spend millions to figure out another pathway? Duplication is a form of flattery, right?
This extends to other categories of business, too. Take real estate, for example. Now, put yourself in a time machine and go back to the early 2000s when Blockbuster was still a giant. How much money do you think Blockbuster spent on figuring out the right location? Why wouldn’t brands (say, fitness brands), jump on those locations? Or restaurants? Think about how much is spent on real estate selection for corporate brands or for a well-protected franchise brand (not one that grants the franchisee free reign when it comes to site selection). Why duplicate efforts?
Now, extend this back to competition – not from a marketing standpoint, but from a franchise growth standpoint. Think about how much is spent on franchise advertising for prospective franchisees. Millions upon millions. Brand X signs a franchisee in market Y. Market Y is a market you would like to grow in. Brand X spent dollars (digital and maybe even other forms) to educate buyers in the market about a category. And now, they are opening. So, what is left? A bunch of people that were educated that this category exists, a bunch of people who can’t buy brand X because of territory size and a bunch of people who are now educated that franchising is a possibility.
The next time you sign a deal, look back at your Google Analytics and see how many people in that market were looking at your brand. Chances are it was many more than one. If that’s the case, the same is true for your competition.
Growth is hard in the sense that we don’t execute the right steps. However, when other brands are spending the $$$ for both consumer and franchise development, and you have a similar brand, capitalize on that. Take over where brand X leaves off.
Very few ideas are new ideas. It’s up to you to figure out which old ideas are worth applying to your brand and your franchise growth.