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You've got a great concept and sales team. Great! All you need now is customers--loyal, engaged, repeat customers. And unless you've been in a cave the past couple of years, you know that social media and Web 2.0 have changed the face of consumer marketing. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, GroupOn and LivingSocial, Yelp and other local search tools, your brand is being built by what's being said online--and franchisors and franchisees alike are searching for insights as they deal with the shift to consumer-generated content.

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Social Media Roundup: Oct. 25, 2016 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Twitter Offers New Customer Support Features for Businesses
"These new features enable businesses to tell users they provide help on Twitter, indicate when they're most active, and ensure people know they have the option to send them a Direct Message," according to Twitter. The new features can be activated on the new Customer Support Settings Page on Twitter. Businesses are required to have already enabled Direct Messages from everyone before accessing any of the new features.

Instagram Stories Copies a Popular Snapchat Feature
In a direct copy of Snapchat, Instagram Stories now allows users to post photos throughout the day that will disappear after 24 hours. Stories provides an easy, fun way to create engaging content on Instagram while continuing to take advantage of features like geotagging and hashtags that marketers will appreciate...

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Local Attraction: 5 Keys To A Hyper-Local Marketing Campaign »

By Lauren Reid

Franchisors, take note! Your franchisees have the ability to own a moment--many moments in fact. For example, the moment an office team needs to take a working lunch and an intern types "sandwiches" into Google Maps; the moment a Facebooker scrolls through pictures of her friends and decides she wants some new shoes for the weekend; or the moment a tourist needs some food or entertainment within a three-block radius of their hotel.
These are your moments to win the sale, and a solid hyper-local marketing campaign is the ticket your franchisees need to drive these customers through their doors. It's about foot traffic, repeat customers, and word of mouth. So in a sea of possibilities, can your target audiences find your locations when they're right next to them? Are you on the radar of every GPS app? Is your website design not just mobile-friendly, but also mobile-responsive? If you nail all the ins and outs of a successful hyper-local marketing campaign, you'll be miles ahead of your competitors, even if you're on the same block...

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Cousins Subs Reinvention Sets The Stage For Expansion Into New Markets »

By Christine Specht

The fast casual space is one that continuously evolves to meet consumer demands. From restaurant design to ordering methods and digital advancements both in-store and online, brands are continually undergoing changes to keep their dynamic guest base happy... and full. We at Cousins Subs are no exception. But before I introduce you to the reinvented Cousins Subs, I must first set the stage as to how we got here.

Who we are
For those not familiar with Cousins Subs, our 40-plus year journey began in 1972 when my father Bill Specht and his cousin Jim Sheppard brought their favorite style of sub sandwich from the East Coast to their new hometown of Milwaukee. Setting out to serve "Better Bread. Better Subs." they began a legacy of meticulously crafting the finest sandwiches possible...

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Retail Theater: Competing In An E-Tail World »

By Kay Ainsley

There is much discussion in marketing circles about how brick-and-mortar businesses can compete with the pricing and convenience of e-tailing. Yet for all the appeal of e-tailing, brick-and-mortar businesses maintain one huge advantage: the ability to go beyond just selling product and allow the consumer to experience and create a personal relationship with their brand.
The best illustration of a brand experience I know is one I witnessed firsthand. It happened at The Sage Room, our favorite restaurant on Hilton Head.
The Sage Room can make any foodie's heart beat faster just thinking about what's on the menu. But a truly outstanding restaurant is more than just the food, however wonderful. On our semi-annual pilgrimage to The Sage Room we were seated at the 10-person "chef's table"--seats where we could talk with the chefs and watch our meals being prepared--when another couple came in with a woman celebrating her 80th birthday...

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Social Studies: Training For The Online Marathon »

By Helen Bond

When it comes to a successful social media strategy, Valerie Kinney's advice for franchisors is succinct. "Stay focused, yet nimble," says Kinney, vice president of marketing for CertaPro Painters.
No longer on the fence about the value of social media, the franchise world is flocking to digital platforms to build, validate, and nurture business. While everyone may be doing it, most still grapple with how to best use digital content to connect with customers.
"Organizations often can get caught up on the new shiny social media object and lose focus on why they are doing social," says Kinney. "You are doing social to have a deeper engagement, to be where your customer already is, and to develop that relationship in a meaningful way with value-added content...

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Think Segment And Act Personal - Because You Can! »

By Chen Katz

So, you want to target U.S. professionals with advanced degrees making more than $400,000 per year with two children of high school age? Your neighbor may qualify. So does Barack Obama. Same segment? Yes. Responds to and requires the same offers? Probably not.

Across the pond, your counterpart wants to reach wealthy Britons older than 65 who own multiple homes - Prince Charles and Jimmy Page. Same segment? Definitely. Responds to and requires the same offers? I'm guessing not.

Every department across the organization - loyalty, digital, mobile, marketing, merchandising, web, advertising - is working toward the same goal: maintain and grow share of wallet across customer groups.

At the beginning of a campaign, the language spoken across departments must be the same because content, special offers, coupons, personalized pricing, advertising, and flyers need to be tailored to reach the maximum number of segments with a minimum investment...

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CMO Roundtable: Big Data In Strategic Market Planning »

Franchise Update

As the role of big data in strategic market planning grows, how does it affect your long-term marketing plans, forecasting, efficiency/ROI of your media spend, or other parts of your marketing?

Steve Rockman
Chief Marketing Officer
At TruFusion, we market primarily to the Millennial, specifically females. Because of this, we are talking to the most highly connected generation yet, with their access to instant information. Millennials speak in data, and if we can collect, analyze, and react to this data in a timely and accurate manner, we will greatly increase our chances to develop a long-term relationship with these consumers.
Our entire business model is predicated on technology, from our POS system, which tracks member sign-up and class check-ins, to every purchase members make in one of our studios...

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CMO Roundtable: Executing Your Media Strategy And Plan Effectively »

Franchise Update

Your media strategy and plan is complete and now it's time to execute.What steps do you take to ensure each layer of your media plan is carried out effectively?

Maryellen Torres
Chief Brand Officer
Front Burner Brands (The Melting Pot)
With today's highly savvy consumers, the marketing landscape is constantly changing and requires a comprehensive, multi-layered approach to help a business achieve its goals and objectives. New technology has created more "noise" in the media landscape, making it more complex for marketers to create a relevant message for both the vehicle and the target audience. From marketing messages sent to our email inboxes to our social media channel newsfeeds, this constant bombardment of communication can lead to months of hard work going unnoticed, if not planned strategically...

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Whatever Works: Bring 'Em In, Keep 'Em In, Reward Them! »

By Eddy Goldberg

Attracting customers in 2016 takes many forms--and platforms--sometimes all at the same time. Here are a few tactics franchise brands are using to drive customers into their stores, keep them there, and reward them.

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Lead Generation: Can Big Data Identify Your Ideal Franchise Candidates? »

By Jim Bender

What's not to love about big data? To paraphrase Sandy Pentland, the big data guru at MIT: The power of big data is that it is information about what people do, not what they say. It's the digital breadcrumbs you leave behind as you move through life. Those breadcrumbs tell the story of your life. Who you actually are is determined by where you spend your time and which things you buy. And from that behavior, analysts can tell an enormous amount about you.

We all look forward to the day when big data will identify candidates who exhibit the same behaviors as our best-performing franchise owners. Fill up my inbox, please!

Today we can only imagine the impact that lead generation techniques enhanced with big data intelligence will have on the franchise development sales process...

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Overcoming Franchise Marketing Constraints »

By Alex Vaccaro

Owning a franchise business has its pros and cons. On one hand, you benefit from your franchise having a strong, trusted identity. Local customers may choose to visit your business based on what they know about the national organization, and you have a vast network that can support your business with ideas and resources.
On the other hand, you may feel constrained in marketing your business within your franchise's standards. It's a delicate balance: you want to get word out about your business, but you don't want to violate the overarching organization's specifications.
Here are some suggested solutions and tips for dealing with three top concerns related to branding your franchise.

Concern #1: I'm Worried About Breaking Franchise Rules
You've got a great marketing idea for your business, but it breaks several different franchise rules...

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The New Competition: Customer Experience Trumps Customer Service »

By Adam Pierno

As a franchise organization you've recognized by now that your competition is more diverse and complex than it has been in the past. Once you were in a single business, selling a product like sub sandwiches or sporting goods to consumers. You were competing against other businesses selling similar sandwiches or sporting goods.
Consumers today have embraced the multitude of options popping up all around them. Many have learned to comparison shop Amazon or other e-tailers while standing in the aisle of the sporting goods store to see if they can find it cheaper, or maybe somehow better. And, in addition to the thousands of new digital storefronts available for their mobile devices, new types of physical competition are appearing as well...

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3 Inexpensive, Effective Ways To Get Your Brand Involved At The Local Level »

By Alex Vaccaro

As a franchise business, you likely advise your local franchisees on ways they can stand out from their competitors and get local customers to notice them. Even with the support of co-op dollars, franchisees can no longer rely on traditional media options like buying TV or radio ad time to reach their local audiences, as more and more consumers are opting for streaming media and other digital services.

In light of this shift, encourage your franchisees to take a personal approach by getting involved in their communities. There are inexpensive solutions that can bring visibility to a local franchise business and also help them give back - a clear win-win! Here are three ideas you might suggest to help your franchisees get started...

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Customer Service Excellence Starts At The Top! »

By John DiJulius

Any big initiative, project, or revolution must have the support of the senior leadership team; otherwise it will be considered "flavor of the month" or "management by bestseller."

Customer service must be as important as finance, sales, operations, and technology. It must be discussed at board meetings and strategic planning sessions with leaders and everyone else in the company, including front-line employees. To create long-lasting change, the senior leadership team must provide the necessary resources.

This doesn't mean just increasing the budget for customer service. It is having someone in charge of the project - that is, a chief experience officer (CXO) - who is dedicated and loses sleep over the customer experience program and the results...

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Social Media Roundup: June 14, 2016 »

By Daniel Lieberman

How to Promote Your Local Franchise Online
This article from Mediavine Marketing provides a good collection of tips for local franchise promotion with social media and other online directories, such as Google and Yelp. Here are a few of the ideas of what to post to promote interest and engagement:

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Market Operator: It's A Team Effort At East Coast Wings & Grill »

By Kerry Pipes

"Global Director of Buzz" was Stacey Kane's title when she worked for AmRest Holdings, a Wroclaw, Poland-based company with more than 900 restaurants in 12 countries in Eastern and Central Europe. It was a great title and describes the energy and focus Kane brings to her job.
"I've been working with and building multi-unit restaurant chains for more than 20 years," she says. That time includes serving as media buyer for Subway and as vice president of marketing at California Tortilla, where she was responsible for overseeing all marketing functions. In both 2012 and 2013, Fast Casual magazine named her one of the Top 20 Movers and Shakers in the fast casual restaurant industry.
In March 2015 she joined East Coast Wings & Grill as vice president of marketing, overseeing the marketing department and contributing to the brand's 12th consecutive year of positive same-store sales...

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Communicating With Candidates: Finding The Right Media And Frequency »

By Kerry Pipes

We asked Mark Jameson, Executive Vice President, Franchise Support and Development at Fastsigns International, how he chooses the right marketing media to reach his ideal candidates, and how often he communicates with them. Here's what he had to say.

We believe in utilizing many different marketing channels to reach our candidates, and more importantly, in targeting those in the right markets and for the right category or model. Our brand relies on a strong public relations and digital marketing strategy to target and find the ideal candidates. With the help of a significant national TV buy, Fastsigns is lucky to have a strong brand presence that enables us to stay top of mind.

However, this is only a piece of how we communicate the franchise opportunity to candidates, so we must employ a variety of marketing strategies to attract the right candidates...

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Customer Service Mission: The One Statement Employees Must Know »

By John DiJulius

When we start working with a consulting client and tell them the first place we start is creating a customer service vision statement, they say, "The last thing we need is another statement. We have mission statements, purpose statements, and our employees can't even keep them straight."
Good businesses have evolved away from lengthy, wordy mission statements that no employee can recite, much less remember. Today it is okay to have three major company statements--provided it's clear as to how they differ and how your employees need to decipher them.
While every company needs strong, inspiring mission and purpose statements, they are results, not actions. For example, if your mission is to be the #1 financial institution in the world, what does that tell a bank teller or loan officer to do today as they interact with each customer? Even the greatest mission and purpose statements are not actionable by employees...

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CMO Roundtable: Getting Results With Evolving Social Media »

Franchise Update

"How is social media changing and evolving, and how is your brand adapting and getting results?"

Brooke Budke
Chief Marketing Officer
Title Boxing Club

The past year brought numerous new developments and milestones in social media and social networking. From the rise of live streaming on social platforms like Periscope, to instant short-lived videos on Snapchat, to the 1 billion users who use Facebook on a daily basis, brands are being tasked with finding new ways to engage with their customers and fans. Whether your followers deem your content good or bad, they will tell you, and it's how you react that will either win them over or lose them as loyal customers.
As an experience-based brand, Title Boxing Club's social success depends largely on the quality of the relationships we build with our audience, meaning the brand campaigns must live online and also be manifested in physical form in our clubs...

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Why Your Franchise Should Consider Thought Leadership As A Marketing Tactic »

By Alex Vaccaro

"Thought leadership" is the new term for expertise. Customers and clients see your organization as innovative and forward thinking, and they turn to you when they have important questions. According to a LinkedIn survey, 50 percent of B2B respondents saw thought leadership as a primary goal of content marketing. It's also one effective way to stand out from your competitors.

Thought leadership takes many forms. It ranges from maintaining an active Twitter feed with relevant content about your industry to publishing a blog on your website to disseminating a weekly e-newsletter or speaking at a conference. Ultimately it entails establishing your franchise as a reputable leader in your field by voicing your opinions and expertise to an audience that is interested in them, whether that's your peers or your customers...

Learn More

Big Data: All aboard the data train!    

Franchise Update Magazine

Issue III, 2016

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