Delivering brand promises and experiences to and through dealer and franchise networks can be challenging. However, effective communication through corporate branches, independent agents or organizations operating in different geographic areas is necessary for brand success.
Here are my Top 3 Tips to help build, fortify and unify these brand networks and the customer experiences that they deliver.
1. Clear Definition of the Brand Concept and Desired Brand Experience
Positive brand experiences begin with a deep understanding of the brand concept as well as how each point of contact within the network influences a customer’s perception of the brand. Begin by clearly articulating the brand promise – what should every customer expect from us, every time? Next, develop a customer purchase journey map to help define how the customer will judge whether or not their experience has lived up to that promise. This mapping exercise will help drive the critical steps and processes needed to outline clarity of roles, to ensure consistently positive customer experiences as well as operational efficiency.
2. Think Global, Act Local, and Sell Personal
There are several challenges that face dealer, franchise and other business networks when it comes to delivering their brand. One challenge, which can also be an asset when done correctly, is social media. When it comes to social media, the biggest challenge that franchisors face is to communicate two-ways. Have real people behind the posting, a strong social media strategy in place, and the dedication to put in the time to manage all social media accounts. Often consumers do not have a relationship with the corporation, but feel affinity towards the local franchise, and this often plays out online.
3. Relevant, Measured Ongoing Communication
Sending too many messages to franchise, dealer and branch owners/managers can be just as detrimental as not sending enough. Developing an effective way to deliver important, time sensitive information to members of a brand network is fundamental to building a foundation of trust within the network and ultimately between the network and its customers. Developing the right communication cadence and content is the first step; the second is choosing the channel(s) best suited to the audience. There are a growing number of technology options to help deal with this challenge. Do not be afraid to try new channels to see what works best for your team or your franchise.
These tips are just a few of the many strategies and tactics needed to effectively and consistently deliver brands to and through networks of independent dealers, franchisees, retailers, corporate branches, brokers and agents.
Jim Letwin is the CEO and co-owner of Jan Kelley, a full service marketing agency specializing in the development and delivery of networked brands. He is a well-respected instructor of Marketing and Communication in the MBA program at the DeGroote School of Business for more than 20 years.