When prospective franchisees consider investing in your business, they want to work with a company with a brand identity. In a recent article for Franchising World, Mitch Cohen explained that prospective operators want to be able to be proud of the brand and take every opportunity to recommend it, support it and ultimately be able to identify with the brand.
How Do You Develop a Brand Identity?
Simon Sinek gave a TED Talk that has resonated with many people for its honest simplicity and the way its practical application can provide businesses, including franchisors, an “ah-ha!” moment.
What’s the approach? In “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” Sinek explains the Golden Circle, which is an approach to creating a clear brand identity that’s communicated internally – among the stakeholders within a business – and externally to the target audience. At the center of the Golden Circle, you define the purpose for your organization; in other words, you explain why you exist. The next level up, you clarify how you operate, which, in another sense, is your business strategy. Finally, the outer layer is dedicated to what your business actually does—what are the products or services you provide?
Many times, franchisors will appeal to potential franchisees with what they do:
“We make award-winning sandwiches!”
“Take advantage of industry-leading unit economics.”
“We’re expanding rapidly, with a goal to open 250 franchises over the next 18 – 24 months.”
Without question, this information is important at certain points of the prospective franchisee’s journey towards becoming an operator. But, before you ever get to this point, you need to figure out why you do what you do—in other words, pinpoint your brand identity.
Where Content Marketing Comes into Play
To hook potential franchisees, you need to have a franchise brand that they can cling to and identify with. To fulfill this need, you should develop a content strategy that addresses top-of-the-funnel information that’s driven by your franchise brand’s purpose.
It’s when potential franchisees are discovering your brand that you need to give them insight into why your franchise system exists. Beginning with your brand’s homepage, you need to cut to the chase with the first interaction. Define your franchise mission.
One example of this is what Dunkin’ Brands has done to define its core values. Among the 12 principles and values that drive its mission are honesty, responsibility, fairness, innovation and leadership. Meanwhile, Starbucks has sought to become the “third place” for consumers—that critical space between work and home where people can take life at their own speed. These are ideas and concepts that don’t even come close to touching on what the brands actually do, but it certainly inspires not only the employees but also those looking to engage with the company.
Your content marketing strategy must address these broader ideals to grab the attention of prospective franchisees. Whether you’re developing your franchising mission statement or creating franchisee profiles that give a clear idea of the impact the system has had on the operator, you have to show people why you turn on the lights every day. From this point, you can nurture those interested in your brand with the details about how your franchise system operates and the end product or service you deliver to the customer.
For more information on the role content marketing can play in fostering the growth of your franchise brand, let’s get the conversation started…