Franchisees open up to 1851 about how brand marketing impacted their decision to purchase.
When it comes to franchising, consumer marketing is only half the equation. While it’s vital to make sure there’s a demand in the market for a franchise brand, it’s just as important for franchise companies to attract brand ambassadors.
Of course, this is easier said than done. While a strong business opportunity will certainly appeal to entrepreneurs, franchisees come in all shapes and sizes, just like the guests who may one day visit their establishments.
Take Shane Quail, a recent addition to the Toppers Pizza family.
“I was a snowboarding college student,” Quail said. “I worked at a number of different restaurants, from mom and pop pizza places to corporate places. While I’ve enjoyed a lot of them, I always thought of myself as more of a free thinker. I appreciate people who do things their own way – who are a little out there.”
It’s no surprise that Toppers’ marketing appealed to Quail. The pizza brand has gone out of its way to cultivate an irreverent, humorous image that speaks to younger generations.
“[Toppers’] marketing is driven toward that Millennial segment - that young, free-spirited vibe,” Quail said. “It’s a little out there, a little more aggressive, and not as boring as the competitors. Everyone tries to be cool, but Toppers doesn’t have to try that hard; they’re just cool.”
Quail said Toppers’ marketing played a major role in his decision to partner with the brand as a franchisee, and not just because it spoke to him, but because he believes it will speak to customers, as well.
[Millennials are] the up and coming demographic, spending the money, eating out more than past generations,” he said. “If you can figure out how to get them, you’re going to hit a home run.”
Meanwhile, for Emily Moss, a Which Wich Superior Sandwiches franchisee in Cincinnati, it all came down to the brand’s focus on positive vibes.
Emily and her husband Steve were on the hunt for a business opportunity that would help them achieve a comfortable retirement. Once they began to dig deeper, they realized Which Wich’s marketing concentrated on the same values they held dear: community involvement, positivity and true hospitality.
“The website and all the accolades wowed us,” Moss said. “It seemed to be on trend and had extremely positive energy. It all just lined up with what we value.”
Good vibes are an essential part of the Which Wich brand (in fact, company founder Jeff Sinelli refers to himself as chief vibe officer) and the brand’s marketing does an excellent job of attracting people who appreciate this focus.
The lesson for brands seems to be: Use the same segmentation to appeal to franchisees you do to appeal to consumers. For instance, Smoothie King wants to attract customers who are interested in a healthy yet tasty meal replacement. The brand uses this same marketing strategy to attract franchisees who are passionate about health and living a more active lifestyle.
While financials will always play a role in making a franchise opportunity shine, brands would be wise to incorporate more of what makes their brand unique when marketing to franchisees, be it irreverence, good vibes, healthy lifestyles and beyond.