The ultimate guide to a franchise branding checklist

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A successful franchise brand that works consistently across all networks is one thing all franchisors strive to achieve. Not only does a strong brand identity(opens in a new tab or window) form the foundation of a brand’s success, it enables franchisors and franchisees to scale the business faster and create a memorable brand presence within their industry category, locally and globally.

However, the real key to successful brand building lies in the efforts of all franchisees. So franchisors need to inspire and work together hand in hand with their franchisees to ensure all branches, stores, or offices adopt, implement, and deliver the necessary branding and marketing to create a united and recognizable brand presence in the marketplace. The best way to do this? A franchise branding checklist.

A key challenge is to encourage franchisees to maintain and achieve brand consistency(opens in a new tab or window) across every possible scenario. This includes new store openings, advertising, promotion and sales collateral, uniforms, packaging, to e-commerce assets.

We know that people trust brands with clear, consistent branding and messages to help them know what they’re buying. And with trust comes brand loyalty — this is a money can’t buy mindset and connection that can be valuable if properly nurtured. So, ask yourself, how can your franchise business deliver a multi-touchpoint experience that brings the brand personality to life? What can you do to create a delightful personal experience your customers will fall in love with?

How to build a franchise branding checklist

Naturally, the burning desire to strengthen brand compliance amongst franchisees is one thing. Getting everyone on the same page, keeping the marketing team on track, and making it happen is another.

The reality is, dreaming up what you could do won’t lead to increased brand consistency. But, scalable tools and processes can help you scale brand consistency alongside your business growth. To move things along, we’ve included a checklist to help you best approach the process of branding your franchise network. That way, you can put your best foot forward and get it right.

The ultimate branding checklist for your franchise

1. Identify a clear mission statement

Your mission helps set the purpose, goals, and related activities of the business and becomes the beacon that drives decisions, actions, and creates success for the brand to help it stand out from the competition. For example, to establish Playa Bowls as a healthy, nutritional lifestyle destination that is eco-friendly, their brand mission is

“To lead communities in healthy, sustainable living is at the heart of everything we do.”

Lead communities in healthy, sustainable living remains at the heart of all they do.

Muted Beige and Orange Minimalist Company Culture Book Presentation. Use this template(opens in a new tab or window).

2. Build your core values

Core values guide and inspire the behavior, decisions, and actions of everyone in your organization. They also serve as cultural cornerstones that inspire and shape the people within your organization. Core values should be authentic and achievable. You only need four or five values to focus on. Adding these into your franchise branding checklist will ensure that hiring, promotions, employee performance reviews and all other decisions are guided by these core values as your business grows and expands.

Yellow Black and White Modern Company Brand Guidelines Presentation. Use this template(opens in a new tab or window).

3. Identify your target customer

For a brand that resonates with an audience, you need to identify the right customers. Customers have specific wants and needs that your brand must meet to give them the best experience possible. Getting to know your customers also ensures all your marketing efforts connect with them in the most meaningful way. Whether you start simple, by interviewing current customers or dive into deeper research by mapping your own customer journey map(opens in a new tab or window), knowing who your customer is and why they want to purchase your service or product will help you to shape all your business, marketing and branding initiatives.

4. Create a logo, trademarks, and tagline

Every franchisor goes through serious efforts and expense to develop and trademark a brand name for their product or service. A logo is a stamp that marks and creates an identity for the brand. So not only does it need to be legally protected, all franchisees must use the approved logo and tagline (if you have one) at all times.

Brand Guideline Business Presentation. Use this template(opens in a new tab or window).

5. Get clear on your brand identity

A strong and identifiable brand identity(opens in a new tab or window) is much more than just a logo. Elements like fonts, colors, language, and even graphic shapes, make up your brand identity. They are the traits that keep your brand unique and can even be personality-packed — so make sure it stands apart from your competitors.

6. Strengthen your brand guidelines

For the health of your franchise network, establishing brand guidelines is a critical part of strengthening your brand identity and creating familiarity with a brand. If you haven’t already started your brand guidelines or need to update yours, it’s a good idea to get them buttoned-down, pronto.

Colorful Space Illustrated Brand Guidelines Presentation. Use this template(opens in a new tab or window).

Your brand guideline should showcase a visual representation of your franchise brand. It covers logo usage, approved font library, color combinations, copy tone and voice, and imagery. All franchisees need to do is adapt the specified branding across all marketing, sales, product, and customer service communications to deliver a cohesive brand experience.

Purple Company Brand Guidelines Presentation. Use this template(opens in a new tab or window).

7. Ensure multi-channel brand consistency

Powerful brand presence comes from consistency through all visual channels from websites, storefronts, uniforms, vehicles packaging, right up to signage. However, branding shouldn’t just be external, applying consistent branding across your internal communication channels from business stationery, email signatures, internal documents, presentations and corporate merchandise also work to unify your brand and establish uniformity across your franchise network.

Source: DHM Branding., iF International Forum Design GmbH.

8. Set your franchisees up for success

Does your franchise allow franchisees to manage their own marketing collateral? Are they operating their websites and social media profiles? If your franchise is leaving franchisees to their own devices, creating a brand and style guide, supplying templates, content, and clear instructions on how to use it can go a long way in supporting your franchisees. It will help ensure on-brand content and presence across the country and globally. Because the best way to prevent branding chaos is to limit unknowns with strict guidelines.

9. Establish your HQ and office branding

Another way to solidify your branding efforts if you work within a centralized office environment is to integrate your brand within your office environment. A franchisor’s efforts to bring branding to life internally in the workplace can transform employees and franchisees into brand ambassadors. On top of making sure your logo(opens in a new tab or window) and brand colors are present from carpet, plant pots, the intranet right up to kitchenware, your office presentation should inspire everyone to live and breathe your brand values.

Medibank Melbourne, Australia — The new office reflects the Australian insurer’s health ethos and emphasis on the wellbeing of their employees.

10. Assess your advertising and marketing initiatives

The mix of digital and traditional advertising these days means franchise brands are displayed or published in many different ways. It encompasses everything from social media brand icons, website favicons, app logos, business cards, to brochures, TV ads, radio, flyers, podcasts, and much more. If you have any of these handy, spread them out on a table in front of you. Then ask yourself — do they all gel with each other? Is it cohesive or a bit all over the place? Are you still recycling some older adverts that need the latest logo update? Gather your advertising collateral and use your brand guidelines to create a unified on-brand look and feel(opens in a new tab or window) that leaves a strong and positive impression.

11. Audit your website and social media presence

Fresh, flash, and snazzy, websites and social media can be an exciting place for brands to interact with customers. However, it can be easy to forget to integrate it with the rest of a franchise’s brand image. So make sure you compare your online activities with the rest of your customer touchpoints. Take care to look out for discrepancies — is the logo a little stretched? Is the approved version displayed? Are the colors correct, fonts clear and readable on screen? Make sure the content is on-brand before it’s published. It never hurts to assign a dedicated person or team(opens in a new tab or window) to handle all your online branding.

Yellow Ice Cream Restaurant Retail Story Ad. Use this template(opens in a new tab or window).

12. Create a brand community

A brand community(opens in a new tab or window) represents your most loyal customers, ambassadors, and influencers of your brand. Think of brands like the Harley Davidson Club, Apple, Red Bull, or Lego where brand connection creates personalized conversations with customers and unify like-minded people.

Orange and Black Hillview Mountain Club Recreation Logo. Use this template(opens in a new tab or window).

13. Training franchisees

Yellow and Blue Corporate Teamwork Keynote Presentation. Use this template(opens in a new tab or window).

Both franchisors and franchisees have one common goal — to succeed. All franchisees must get on board with the branding process and protect its integrity by adhering to the brand guidelines. A franchisor who recruits and trains franchisees can cover the benefits of staying on-brand and show them how to harness the support tools made available to set them up for success.

14. Constant and consistent monitoring

Never lose sight of your brand identity. Consistently monitoring franchisee compliance is the path to success. It allows franchisors to proactively take steps to make improvements where needed or provide additional help and support. Look out for opportunities to recognize and reward excellent examples of franchisee brand compliance and keep your communication lines open to ensure everyone stays on the same page.

And there you have it — the ultimate franchise branding checklist. Remember, your brand is your biggest asset, so protecting, building, and maintaining its integrity is always necessary. While it's a long-term commitment, it's well worth the time and effort.

To learn more about how to grow your franchise and build your franchise brand, why not read 8 shifts shaping the and

To learn more about growing your franchise and building a lasting franchise brand, why not read 8 shifts shaping the franchise marketing of tomorrow and 4 reasons to centralize your franchise brand marketing today.

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