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Why is design and branding important to every franchise? Because the visual identity of your business is what helps customers connect it to the strongly established parent brand of the franchisor. Maintaining a consistent look by adhering to the head office’s guidelines gives the franchise integrity, which helps build trust between the business and the consumer.

In this post, we’re going to cover five design and branding mistakes franchisees should never make, starting with:

1. Not following brand guidelines

Brand guidelines act as a set of rules to follow in order to unify the brand’s identity, and every rule in these guidelines should be followed. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not using the correct font. It is vital to use the brand’s corporate font set out in these guidelines as it has been chosen for a reason – it reflects your brand’s personality and values. If you look at typography as part of your brand’s voice, then it’s important that it stays consistent in all forms of communication, from letterbox drops to in-store posters, to give integrity to the message you’re trying to convey.

This also applies to colours. Your brand’s colours have the ability to impact your business’ performance more than you may think as certain colours can ignite similar emotions in different people. Repetition of the same colours helps strengthen brand awareness by making consumers subconsciously associate those colours with your brand. For example, if you ask someone what they think of when they see the colours red and yellow together, many people would say McDonald’s.

Your brand’s colour values will be outlined in your brand guidelines, and it’s vital that these exact colour codes are used across all mediums.

2. Failing to uphold your brand identity in communications with external contacts 

So you know that it’s important for your brand identity to remain consistent in communications with your consumers, well communications with external contacts (e.g. suppliers, stakeholders, etc.) should be no different. This means ensuring that things like branded letterheads, document templates, email signatures, financial documents, etc. are all on-brand.

Your brand’s tone of voice should also translate to how you communicate with external contacts in emails, in-person conversations and phone calls. One way to help ensure you’re communicating the voice of your brand is to be as consistent internally with it as you are externally. Tone of voice goes way beyond just the marketing team – it applies to anyone in the company who interacts with consumers or external contacts.

3. Not using appropriate imagery

Every image you use should accurately represent your brand. Images are used in a wide range of mediums, including social media, print ads, billboards and websites. Images should be used as a way of helping communicate to consumers who you are and should convey an emotion in them. Using imagery that doesn’t align to your brand’s identity can negate the trust you’ve already built with your consumers in other ways. For example, using a run-of-the-mill free stock photo may not be as impactful as custom photography because the person who shot the stock photo didn’t have your brand in mind when taking it. Custom photography is also unique and you don’t run the risk of using the same image as another company, or worse, a direct competitor. 

4. Trying to fit too much information into one piece of artwork

Many people think it’s necessary to fit every single bit of information into one piece of artwork. For example, Facebook only allows a maximum of 20% text in an ad tile. A tile that contains any more than this will have its reach limited by Facebook. The tile should only include either, or all of, a heading, a logo and an image. The rest of the information can go into the caption of the post.

5. Using low resolution art in any customer-facing visuals

Let’s use a Facebook cover photo as an example. It may sound drastic, but if a potential customer is researching your Facebook page and notices that your cover photo is blurry, it could lead to them questioning the attention to detail of your business as a whole. This is even more important in printed collateral that includes an image. Ensuring the image meets the minimum resolution required by the printer, usually 300 pixels per inch (ppi), means that the artwork will look as sharp as possible once printed and potentially have a greater impact on the consumer.