Getting Franchisee Buy-In to Marketing Programs at Kiddie Academy
Investing time in your internal messaging and communications strategy will go a long way to ensure that your franchisees embrace major marketing initiatives “faster, easier, and with more excitement and understanding,” says Nicole Salla, Kiddie Academy’s Chief Marketing Officer.
When Kiddie Academy launched its new national advertising campaign, “Learn On,” it was a “stark, creative change” that came with fresh delivery tactics, she says. Although the previous campaign was well-liked and well-used, from a marketing standpoint it did not wholly represent the brand story of the educational childcare franchise. With more than 20 years of marketing experience under her belt, Salla knew she had to be prepared to explain the change to the brand’s hundreds of franchisees.
So she created a comprehensive internal communication plan and multi-channel approach that focused on the bottom line, i.e., how the new messaging and assets would strengthen the business of the brand’s franchisees.
Data collected before the campaign – and shared at various points during the launch –highlighted marketing decisions based on metrics. The company turned to every channel at its disposal to disseminate the plan, including a launch webinar event that resulted in record-breaking viewership.
Salla’s thoughtful approach to ensure buy-in from the fast-growing franchise base paid off. The campaign significantly boosted brand momentum and awareness, testing higher than previous ads.
Behind-the-scenes involvement of key franchisees to gather feedback and insight before, during, and after the launch of a new marketing program is critical to the success of large-scale (or any new) strategies, says Salla, who shares her favorite best practices for achieving buy-in across the system.
- Always focus on WIIFM. “What’s in it for me” focuses on drilling down into what is most important to your audience. Address all marketing and communications strategies with consideration of how your marketing campaign or program will improve the franchisees’ business results.
- Show data and research.
- Be hyper-conscious of your audience and mold your communications to them.
- Think of every communication channel you have access to and create a comprehensive plan of clear, transparent communication that opens the door for conversation.
- Make sure your franchisees know where to go for questions and support.
- Create a “wow” factor. Do something to break through and catch the attention of your franchisees to get them excited about the new approach.
- Amplify your voice. Identify your system’s key influencers and brand advocates and give them a sneak peek of your new marketing approach. They may have great ideas on how to enhance the launch, as well as the campaign itself.
“Once you have gotten franchisee buy-in, it’s really about them granting you trust. That’s a gift, and it carries a responsibility,” says Salla. “Be sure to keep them updated on progress, results, evolutions, and more. This provides a payoff for taking the leap with you into new territory.”
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