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.

Franchise Marketing

When is the best time to start marketing your new franchise?

Buying a franchise is a really exciting time. If you’ve got the tenacity to venture out and be your own boss, you are no doubt super keen to get started marketing your business. The best thing about buying a franchise is a lot of the hard work of setting the business has already been done for you. You have a proven business model, your systems and processes are tried and tested, and you’ll have guidance and support around finding the right location and hiring the best staff. The best time to start marketing your new franchise is as soon as you are ready. So that begs the question – how do you know when you are ready?

Start with a plan

Your franchise brand will be your most powerful marketing asset. Customers may already be familiar with it, they trust it, and that goes a long way. Your head office will have a suite of creative assets you can use, leveraging that powerful brand. But that doesn’t mean your work is done. You need to build a marketing plan for your local territory. There are two distinct types of marketing planning: strategic and tactical.

STRATEGIC MARKETING PLANNING is about understanding your market, understanding your offering and your differentiators, and researching the marketing opportunities available to you in your local area. Armed with this knowledge you are better placed to make good decisions about what specific activities are best for your business at any given time. This type of planning is exactly where you should start. Work with your franchisor to start researching the marketing options in your territory. Find out how many homes or businesses are in your local territory. Are there any community or sporting groups that you could support to build your brand? What are the rules around digital marketing? These types of questions will help you identify the local marketing opportunities available to you, so you are armed with all the information you need to start to build out your plan.

TACTICAL FRANCHISE MARKETING PLANNING is deciding what actual marketing activities you are going to run and building a plan on how and when those activities are done. Normally taking the shape of a quarterly or 90-day plan, these are the marketing activities that will see your business promoted in your local area. Aligned to your marketing budget, this type of planning really does allow for easy activation of marketing, as you know what you need to do and when you need to do it. Will you do a letterbox drop? If so, when should you see that hit the market, when do you need the artwork to the printer? All of this info should go into your tactical plan.

Choose Your Message

It’s all well and good to know what you want to do and when, but you really need to spend some time crafting or selecting the message you want to share. There are two main types of marketing message: branding and call to action. Branding is focused on creating awareness of your business and showcasing it in a positive and favourable light. Sponsoring the local netball club and having your business logo on their
jerseys is an example of branding. Each time people see your logo, they recognise that your business is a supporter of the local community, and positive sentiment is established. If you are considering branding as part of your launch campaign, don’t forget that as a franchisee you have a head start in this area because your franchisor was building your brand long before you started your business. Call to action is designed to incite a change in behaviour and give your prospective customer a reason to engage with you. As a small business owner, you
should always be looking to include a call to action of some kind in your marketing, even if it is part of branding campaign. If we take the sponsorship of the local netball club, your logo on their shirts may be the branding component, but having a special offer just for members of that club adds a call to action. Often call to actions give prospective customers a clear path to connecting with you, so it helps them and helps your business.

A Layered Approach

A solid local area marketing strategy is about a layered approach. Customers may see your logo on those netball jerseys, but they might decide to do some online research visiting your website or checking your Google reviews before they take up that special. They might have decided to purchase from you, and were reminded by seeing your business on a local bus stop or on their Facebook wall as a sponsored post.
Be across what head office is doing and take advantage of their investment to drive customers to you. If they are running Google ads, you may want to consider an offline activity with a similar message to balance that. If they have a radio campaign running, then look to extend that with a paid social media campaign.

Be Consistent

With this strong marketing foundation, you are perfectly placed to hit the ground running and start marketing, but the final piece of the marketing puzzle is making sure that once you start your marketing you remain consistent! Plan your marketing around a sustainable marketing budget and keep an active presence in your local area. Being as active and consistent as you can with your marketing will absolutely pay dividends in the long run.


This article was written by Kelli Ponting and published in Inside Franchise Business Magazine.

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Augmented Reality (AR) in the marketing and advertising industry is quickly becoming recognised as a new, innovative and creative way of connecting with customers and increasing engagement. Global AR ad revenue in 2018 reached $428 million and is expected to triple by 2021, which makes it one of the greatest opportunities for marketers in the modern world.

AR is a technology that combines Virtual Reality with the real world in the form of live video imagery that is digitally-enhanced with computer-generated graphics. AR can be experienced through headsets and more easily through mobile devices. Whilst Pokemon Go is the most commonly known consumer use of this kind of technology, there are far more sophisticated AR applications available.

AR in marketing is definitely a different approach to traditional forms of media, but with the uptake of social media and digital marketing, it is becoming more relevant in our digitally-centric society.

Here are four reasons why AR works so well with marketing:

1. Innovation and Interest

Marketers are always looking for better ways to engage and capture the attention of customers effectively and AR meets these requirements perfectly. While the technology is relatively new, it stands out amongst traditional media such as OOH collateral, commercials and social media ads. AR in marketing campaigns adds to your brand image also – a company that applies AR solutions is seen as innovative and up-to-date. AR solutions distinguish your company from competitors by creating positive emotional response and a memorable experience for consumers when conducted effectively.

2. Flexibility

AR technology is such a flexible technology with nearly endless possibilities and variations. AR ads have the ability to suit the needs of a particular campaign in many different industries such as retail, automotive, education, healthcare, etc. These can be in the form of videos or static images, 3D models or flat pictures, informative or entertaining content.

3. Interactivity

Interactivity is an essential element of AR technology, as a user can view their environment enhanced with virtual elements that they can change and interact with, ultimately increasing customer engagement. The gamification aspect of AR makes the experience more valuable and memorable encouraging long-term brand loyalty. This repeated engagement makes the cost/efficiency ratio more beneficial than that of traditional media.

4. Better Customer Experience

Nearly 65% of users find ads annoying and intrusive, mainly as they disrupt their activity which leads to a negative perception of the piece and ultimately the brand itself. AR ads can be interacted with at will and are more attractive particularly when the ad is personalised to their needs and interests. Interactive AR applications can enable users to download their own media and create custom content, creating a unique and personalised ad for each customer, all whilst promoting the brand or service.

There are three primary factors that contribute to successful engagement strategies for AR:

  • Multi-sensory engagement – getting customers involved in learning about, and using products in a way that is active such as engaging with touch, sight and audio senses
  • Intellectual engagement – sharing relevant and useful information with customers so that they have a meaningful experience learning about and using the company’s products and solutions
  • Emotional connections – continuing to develop an emotional connection throughout the post-purchase decision making leads to loyal customer relationships

AR is a powerful tool of visualisation that conveys ideas through images in an interactive and engaging way. It is fun, it is exciting and it works. For these reasons and more, AR solutions can make marketing more relevant, improve customer experience and add new value to customer/brand relationships.

Could AR work for your business? Find out more with us today – contact us on 07 3088 3021