Maintaining Brand Consistency Through Third Party Management
By Mercedita Roxas-Murray EVP Strategy/Brand Planning & Operations, RedPeg Marketing | February 16, 2014
In the franchise world, there is a balance that needs to be struck between remaining true to both the brand and the business. It is understood that the franchisee is a business that must make a profit and that 'sales' are at times made at the expense of tailoring a brand to a franchisor's more immediate geographic and demographic markets. But the question is why would franchisees, subsidiaries or affiliates buy a franchise from a brand and then veer away from the very asset they bought in order to achieve those sales?
To answer that, it's necessary to focus on what the franchisee is buying. A franchisee is not just buying a brand. They are buying a reputation, a quality standard, and a brand's integrity which is a proven product that attracts the target consumer that the franchisee wanted in the first place. To steal from the expression, "kill the goose that lays the golden egg", a franchisee is in essence doing just that if the franchisee takes liberties with the brand that they purchased.
The brand encompasses a wide breadth: how the brand is visually represented, the operations, processes, features, designs and business practices (Franchise Brand Integrity: It's An Intangible Asset, Michael d Moberly). All of these make up the composition of the brand. It's critical for properties to maintain brand consistency and integrity because that is what consumers recognize and expect. Veering too far from what is known and expected is a disconnect – one that consumers will find disconcerting.
To walk the fine line of staying true to the brand while still maintaining some element of "individuality" it's important to remember what a brand is. In a previous Hotel Executive article, I wrote the following about staying true to your brand...
No matter what marketing initiatives you engage in, from advertising to social, you must be true to your brand. And while many in marketing throw out the term brand, few understand what a brand really is. Simply, a brand is your name, logo, product, service or company. But it is also a set of expectations and a commitment of benefits. And more importantly, a brand is...