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Local vs. National: Crafting Effective Franchise Marketing Strategies

If you’re looking to drive growth and maximize ROI with franchise marketing, it’s important to balance national brand consistency with localized relevance.

By Chris IrbyCopy Editor
8:08AM 05/27/24

Franchising offers entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to leverage established brand recognition and proven business models while tapping into local markets. However, the challenge lies in crafting marketing strategies that effectively balance the needs of the national brand with the nuances of individual franchise locations. 

1851 Franchise recently spoke with Marshal Davis, president and founder of Ascendly Marketing, and Lonnie Jones, owner of Local SEO Help, for their takes on local versus national franchise marketing and their insights on crafting strategies that drive growth and maximize return on investment (ROI).

Understanding the Dynamics of Local vs. National

“National marketing campaigns often focus on building brand awareness and establishing a consistent image across all locations. Think of a national TV commercial that everyone sees, regardless of where they live,” Davis explained. “Local marketing, on the other hand, targets specific communities and neighborhoods with tailored messages and promotions. Imagine a local pizza shop offering discounts to nearby schools or sponsoring a little league team.”

While national marketing efforts are essential for maintaining brand consistency and identity, local marketing plays a crucial role in driving foot traffic and fostering loyalty in the community. Striking the right balance between these two approaches is key to maximizing the impact of franchise marketing efforts. However, it would be a mistake to regard local and national marketing as two separate entities. They are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. 

“The national brand is responsible for creating the brand guidelines and brand messaging,” Jones said. “These playbooks are then handed off to franchisees to be used in their local marketing campaigns.”

Jones went on to explain the exact nature of the interplay between national and local franchise marketing: “A franchise brand should create unique advertising campaigns every quarter so there are fresh creatives. All these will follow the foundational structure of the brand guidelines  and messaging guidelines, but should be unique in what is promoted, how the messaging is delivered and the creatives that go with that. This keeps things fresh and new for franchisees to use to take action in their local markets.”

Crafting Effective Franchise Marketing Strategies

According to Davis, the best franchise marketing strategies are those that leverage the strengths of both the national and local approaches. “We often recommend a ‘hub-and-spoke’ model where the franchisor provides core marketing materials and support, while franchisees adapt and execute campaigns at the local level,” he said. “It’s like a bicycle wheel — the hub (franchisor) provides the central structure while the spokes (franchisees) connect it to the ground (local markets).”

Some strategies to keep in mind when developing a franchise marketing strategy include:

  • Brand Consistency: Maintaining brand consistency is vital in any franchise marketing campaign. While local franchisees may have a little creative wiggle room in some of their marketing efforts, the brand messaging and values need to remain consistent across all locations. This helps reinforce brand identity and build trust with customers.
  • Localized Campaigns: Tailoring marketing campaigns to local audiences can significantly enhance their relevance and engagement. This may involve highlighting community events and local influencers, or simply working regional preferences into promotional materials. By connecting with customers on a local level, franchises can strengthen relationships and drive loyalty.
  • Collaborative Approach: Collaboration between national and local marketing teams is essential for success. National marketing teams can provide resources and best practices, while local franchisees bring invaluable insights into their communities and customer demographics. By working together, franchisees can leverage national campaigns while customizing them to suit local needs.
  • Digital Marketing Strategies: Franchise marketing strategies need to encompass both online and offline channels. Digital marketing offers powerful tools for targeting local audiences, such as geo-targeted ads, local SEO optimization, directory/business profile sites and social media engagement. Franchisees can leverage these tools to reach customers in their area and drive traffic to their locations.
  • Data-Driven Insights: Data and analytics are invaluable when it comes to optimizing franchise marketing strategies. By analyzing customer demographics and purchasing behavior, franchisees can identify opportunities for improvement and allocate resources more effectively. Data-driven insights empower franchisees to make informed decisions and drive better results.

It’s also important to put as much, if not more, effort into the message itself. One popular analogy amongst marketers is to compare campaigns to blind dates: If you spend the entire evening just talking about yourself and how awesome you are, you’re not going to land a second date.

“Many franchise brands make the mistake of talking about their brand, their products and services, but don’t position that in the perspective of what’s in it for the consumer,” Jones said. “Why they should buy from your brand versus other local options comes down to how well the advertising explains how working with their brand benefits the consumer versus working with another option.”

Balancing National Brand Consistency with Localized Relevance

Putting together an effective franchise marketing strategy requires a delicate balance between national brand consistency and localized relevance. By leaning into the strengths of both approaches and encouraging collaboration between the national and local teams, franchises can drive growth while enhancing customer engagement and maximizing their ROI. Digital tools and data-driven insights can be useful for strengthening marketing efforts, but the most effective campaigns are those that focus on the consumer rather than on the brand itself. With a strategic approach and a focus on customer-centricity, franchises can navigate the complex overlap of local and national franchise marketing and craft a strategy that will lead to long-term success.

Looking for more information on local and national franchise marketing? Check out these related articles on 1851 Franchise:

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