Get Better Franchise Marketing Through Customized Branding

It’s time for another lesson from the car lot. This lesson is dedicated to our franchisee audience.

(If you’re a franchisor, check out our previous post on better franchise marketing.)

According to Local Vox, 64 percent of franchisees feel disappointed by the quality of marketing support they receive from their franchisors.

It’s not that franchisees think they don’t get any support; however, they feel their franchisors don’t support their individual franchise location.

In the automotive world, OEMs provide marketing support to dealerships. However, many of the OEM’s messages market the OEM and its benefits – not a specific dealership and its unique qualities.

It seems that franchisees of all types face a similar problem: How can they market their individual location while also taking advantage of and complying with their franchisor’s brand marketing program?

Brand compliance matters

In the eyes of consumers, franchisees are part of their franchisor’s corporate brand. The actions taken by the corporate franchise brand – and the messages it sends – reflects on the franchisees.

The reverse is also true. When franchisees send a message, their customers make informed guesses about the values, people, and products of their corporate franchisors.

So, how do franchisors ensure that all of their customers, no matter which franchise location they encounter, have a consistent idea of what the franchise brand represents? They enforce brand compliance.


Brand compliance – a set of standards for brand messages and a process to follow those standards – keeps each franchise location consistent with the overall corporate brand. Franchisors provide design and branding guidelines for traditional and digital media for franchisees to use in their marketing efforts.

Individual brands matter too

For franchisees, corporate franchise marketing can fall short of their expectations in a few ways:

  • Corporate franchise marketing efforts can be too generic.
  • Local channels, such as traditional media outlets, might be ignored.
  • Digital channels, such as websites and email newsletters, may lack local information.
  • Customer loyalty is geared toward the franchisor, not the franchisee.

Although franchisees are all part of the same corporate team, they also have unique selling points for their individual locations. However, their customers won’t know about those distinct offers and features unless franchisees communicate to customers as individual brands.

If franchisees send the exact same branded message created by their franchisor’s corporate marketing team, customers will have no compelling reason to visit one location over another beyond convenience of location to the customers.

Man Copies

Automotive marketers have a similar problem. When they use only their OEM’s marketing messages, they can’t communicate their dealership’s specific benefits for customers.

That makes it harder for them to get people to visit their dealership, because they offer the same specials, the same services, and the same products as another dealership in their area.

Conclusion: Own your brand

We absolutely advise you to comply with your franchisor’s brand standards. Not only will it keep you consistent with your franchisor’s messages, it will also help you maintain a good relationship with your franchisor.

However, you can maintain brand compliance and develop an individual brand identity for your franchise location by doing supplemental marketing. That can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace and engage your community.


Developing a brand identity is an involved process. While certain marketing tools can help you deliver a specific message or piece of content, a tool alone can’t help you figure out the right marketing strategy.

Reach out to your franchisor’s marketing manager to ask for guidance, or gauge your staff for ideas and direction. Your employees may know your customers better than anyone else because they interact with them on a daily basis.

We also recommend partnering with a reputable marketing service provider who can work with your available time, resources, budget, and customer base to deliver the right solution for you. One proven solution we’ve seen in action is developing and distributing a corporate-controlled email newsletter that can be customized for an individual franchise location. That newsletter complies with the franchisor’s brand standards, but also allows for the franchisee’s personality to shine through.

No matter who or what helps you, make sure your efforts comply with your franchisor’s corporate brand and communicate what your franchise location values to your customers.

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