Activating Your Franchise Army: Rallying the Troops

Rallying the Troops

In part one of our blog series (All Boats Rise!), on the topic of crafting a balanced marketing strategy, we focused on the importance of activating local dollars to create a full-funnel, comprehensive marketing solution that is designed to drive your overall business objectives – at both the brand and local levels.

We also discussed key components to a successful franchise system marketing strategy – which include:

Top 5 Components of a Successful Franchise Brand Marketing Strategy:

franchise graphic1. Comprehensive Research

2. Accurate Data

3. Integrated Marketing & Media Plan

4. National/Brand Foundation Building – Corporate and/or Ad Fund Dollars

5. Franchise Local Marketing – Activating Required Local Spends

The Next Steps

The next critical step in this process is to put a concerted effort together around RALLYING THE TROOPS! What does this mean? It means earning the trust of your franchisee partners and building on the original 5 components of a successful franchise marketing strategy through the following actions:

1. Implementing a Test & Learn Strategy

2. Gaining Franchisee Ownership of the Plan

3. Developing a Comprehensive Communication Plan

4. Aligning before Action

5. Providing Full Transparency

1. Test & Learn Strategy

There’s no better way to prove you are doing the right thing for the business than to establish test markets and success metrics prior to any new initiative that requires franchisee investment.  Then, go out and run the test and prove your hypothesis.  This is the quickest way to earn that coveted trust with the system and Rally the Troops!

  • Develop a test environment that represents a cross-section of the system
  • Partner with owners that want to support these programs
  • Utilize influencers in the system to help rally the troop

2. Franchise Ownership

Ownership in the program is key to the success of any franchisee/local marketing initiative. It’s how you garner buy-in to your marketing plan. Franchisees shouldn’t just feel like they have a voice – they must truly have one. Creating a franchise leadership team or advisory council is a great place to start. By soliciting franchisee participation/ownership and incorporating their feedback/input where appropriate, you will dramatically increase the percentage of the franchise community that will participate and invest their local dollars in the initiative.

  • Engage or create a franchise leadership team for marketing (i.e. – Marketing Advisory Council (MAC) or and Franchise Advisory Council (FAC))
  • Engage the Council on a quarterly basis
  • Formalize your plan in the form of a written Annual Strategic Marketing Plan
  • Define clear success metrics
  • Share the plan and solicit honest feedback
  • Adjust as appropriate to gain alignment

3. Great Communications

Trust and relationship building begins with strong communications.  It’s not possible to over-communicate with this group, in this scenario.  Keep your team involved and informed and you will enjoy a higher level of participation.

  • Develop a comprehensive communication strategy for the entire team (brand and MAC/FAC)
  • Create a reporting and optimization schedule
  • Over-communicate with your franchisee partners

4. Team Alignment

Alignment, alignment, alignment – we can’t over emphasis this piece.  Make sure your entire team is aligned every step of the way.  If the team is aligned on the details of the initiative, then ownership of the results and the path forward is shared.  The best results occur when this happens!

  • Regular meeting cadence
  • Be open to ongoing feedback (as appropriate)
  • Gain alignment at all levels through the entire process

5. Full Transparency

This seems obvious but I’m always surprised at the lack of transparency that goes on in franchise systems.  Transparency around the investments, allocation of budget dollars and results is foundational for franchisee trust and relationship building.

  • Access to reporting and key takeaways
  • Sharing optimization planning
  • Sharing spend and budget information

The key to RALLYING THE TROOPS! is through trust, transparency and building strong relationships! Trust in a franchise system is earned over time – it’s not given away easily. You can earn that trust and build a strong relationship with your franchisee marketing leadership team by getting them involved and letting them have some ownership in the strategic planning process. That, coupled with alignment on things like success metrics and media and channel mix, will go a long way in helping you craft a more cohesive strategy and drive the performance you need for success. That team of franchise influencers will in turn help you RALLY THE TROOPS! on the appropriate programs and spending. It’s absolutely a team effort so lean on them and get them involved!