It is essential for brands, especially franchise brands, to have a reputation management strategy for the Internet. It has always been the role of the franchisor to promote and protect the brand. In the Internet age there are new challenges online that must be addressed appropriately. In the old days, you put up a website and you directed people to go there and learn about you. You probably had a way for them to send you an email and maybe you had a coupon to print or detailed request form to fill out. Those days are gone. People no longer want to see what you are saying about yourself on your website. Web 2.0 and social media have changed all that. The Internet is now all about individual content and peer-to-peer interaction. People are no longer reading your website, they are reading what other people are saying about you everywhere else. There are conversations about your brand taking place online--conversations you may or may not know about--and you need a strategy to deal with them.
Terri Miller knows how marketing is supposed to work. She has served as the marketing director in the travel franchise division at Carlson Companies and spent time on the agency side where she worked with clients such as Century 21 and Toro.
Today's customers are omnipotent. It really is the consumer--customer or guest, however you name them--who owns your brand. They make the rules now. Then they sit in judgment and deliver the verdict to their friends and family, often with their opinions amplified on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Yelp!
In early 2008, Moe's Southwest Grill was still something of a newcomer in Mexican fast-casual segment. But in the eight years since it had been founded, not much new work had been done on either the restaurant prototype or its menu. So when Focus Brands acquired the franchisor in August 2007, then CEO Steve Romaniello reached out to Paul Damico to see if he was interested in not just running the brand, but freshening it up and reenergizing it.
When Shelly Sun and her husband JD founded BrightStar, their full-service healthcare staffing agency in 2002, the concept was rooted in their experiences searching for quality care for JD's sick grandmother. "We were managing multiple relationships and thought how great it would be to have one company handle the entire continuum of care," says Sun, CEO of BrightStar.
In launching Naked Pizza, our argument has never been that a healthier pizza is going to save the day, but rather that every "new" business should and can have a social strategy--a strategy that positively affects someone or something along the continuum. If you don't, then maybe you don't have a business. To us, mission, profit, and scale are inseparable. So far, so good.
Franchisors seeking to build a loyal customer following and remain competitive in 2011 must develop and deliver national and local marketing programs for their franchisees--deploying the latest social media tools in addition to their traditional methods.
Franchise Payments Network processes payments for more than 120 franchise chains across the retail, restaurant, service, and lodging sectors. This makes us uniquely positioned to provide a snapshot of the economy in franchising. Over the next few issues we are going to drill down and decipher what we are seeing in payment trends in the franchise space, with the goal helping you make better operational and marketing decisions. Let's begin with a 30,000-foot look at how consumers pay for transactions in franchise businesses
How happy are your franchisees? In an honest and lucid moment, would they encourage other candidates to invest in your franchise, or tell them to run like the wind? If given the chance, would they make the same investment again or hightail it in another direction--and how would you know? Have you anonymously contacted franchisees to pose these questions, conducted a franchisee satisfaction survey, or are you just relying on a gut feeling?
By its very definition, the word "leader" evokes the concept of change. Leaders take us toward or away from something, into a new reality.
Jon L. Luther