By Charlotte Fantelli
Franchising and choosing the right brand. It is all about matching your ethos and desires with an existing brand and package. There are so many brands out there vying for your attention. Furthermore, when you are looking to invest in a franchise you will have to understand more about the brand. As well as its overall values, AND its value to you as a franchisee! We have written this article on franchising and choosing the right brand to help you navigate this difficult decision.
We ask; what is ‘brand identity’? What does it really mean in terms of value? And additionally, why is it so important to choose the right brand when considering a franchise?
When it comes to starting your own business, especially as a franchisee in someone else’s ‘ready-made’ company, there is so much information it can be very daunting.
So, how can you be sure you are investing wisely? Well, it really is all in the brand. When starting a franchise you are buying into an existing business. Furthermore it will have a track record, trading history and a brand identity.
A brand identity should be the clear, identifiable face of the company which differentiates itself from its competitors. Ideally this is well-recognised, cohesive across all marketing and much loved by its customers!
If you look at the image above you will see the face of our Twitter account; Facebook account; Google places, plus and local accounts; our advertising; business cards and websites. Each one is clearly different to serve its own purpose. However, the brand identity is clear: you can tell it is ‘us’. If you have ever played the logo game or ‘guess the advert’ then you will be familiar with how a good brand can embed itself into your subconscious!
While anyone can easily click on a template business card or website maker, there is much more to brand ID than meets the eye. A good brand will have tried and tested fonts, logos and colour profiles and use professional images. This knowledge and understanding of branding is complex and expensively learned, but a good brand will have used the experience to build its identity and stand head and shoulders above its competitors.
Once you have built the brand identity, launched the website, printed the business cards and branded literature, commissioned the adverts and engaged on social media it is worth nothing if no-one knows it, sees it or recognises it from the competition.
While creating brand identity is costly, marketing it to promote brand recognition is even more pricey! Search engine optimisation is an expert area that is very tough to crack: Google PPC (pay per click) advertising can cost thousands a month in competitive keywords and any print advertising worth its money will set you back around £250 per half page for even a local A4 monthly.
When starting a business, many people overlook the long, slow and costly practice of creating brand identity and promoting brand recognition. However, when you buy into an existing business, you get the benefits of these costly hard-earned years of experience, and you get to judge whether a brand is worth investing in – how? By ascertaining how well recognised it is.
Google any company or business sector: does it show as one of the experts in its field? Does it have reviews, rating, satisfied customers? These are some good indicators of whether a brand has earned the coveted ‘recognition’ platform in its sector.
Brand affection is a term that any good business will want to be associated with. Never before has customer feedback been so important. Why? Reviews, reviews, reviews. One disgruntled customer can be heard across the globe with the power of instant access media! On the flip side, hundreds of satisfied customers can make up a loyal fanbase that spreads the love of your brand wider than ever!
Customer recommendations constitute a great source of leads, but moreover they give a brand credibility and give potential customers the insight and confidence to choose the right products and services for them. Earn a great reputation and brand affection and this will create a powerful message to potential customers.
I hope that by considering what really goes into building and marketing a brand, the idea of buying into an already established business is shown to be a much less risky investment than starting from scratch.
Remember: when assessing the value of a company you are looking to buy into, look at its brand identity, its brand recognition and reach, and importantly their affection from existing customers. These pointers can’t guarantee success, but they can guarantee a good start!
Please explore the website or call 01202 233744 for more information on the Just Shutters franchise opportunity.