This lesson is part of our free Franchise 101 course.
One of the biggest tools that franchises use is their brand. Whatever the market, whatever the scale of the business, branding is a big deal, and you need to understand its advantages to evaluate what makes a good brand.
So why does brand matter?
Familiarity is the key to how brands work.
Everything about a brand, from its aesthetics to its products to its processes, is designed in part to stick in people’s minds. This creates a sense of familiarity that has emblazoned the world’s biggest brands across our consciousness. There’s hardly a person in America who doesn’t recognize Amazon, Nike, or McDonald’s and know what they represent.
Familiarity works on the small scale as well as the large. Climbers are familiar with La Sportiva shoes, tabletop gamers with Warhammer miniatures, and while these brands might mean nothing outside of those fields, they’re iconic within their niches. People know them and have opinions on them. That recognition is why, whatever industry you’re going into, brand matters.
Familiarity covers the bad as well as the good. A lot of people don’t like Microsoft precisely because of what they know about it. You need to know what people dislike about a franchise you’re considering, not just what they like.
Tied to familiarity is one big advantage: loyalty.
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For some customers, this is a conscious thing. They’ll always pick a brand’s products over competitors, and they’ll evangelize its virtues to anyone who listens.
For others, it’s less conscious but no less real. Without thinking about it, they’ll default to one or two brands that they like. This makes it easier for them to choose products and services, knowing that they’ll get the quality they’re used to.
Tapping into that loyalty can provide a franchise outlet with guaranteed customers.
Developing an appropriate, memorable, and pleasing aesthetic takes time, effort, and skill. It covers a whole range of choices, big and small: color schemes, logos, uniforms, packaging, the list goes on. Coming up with these designs is time consuming. Doing it well takes the skills of trained professionals.
Good design will lure in customers without them even knowing why. Bad design will make them turn their backs on you with laughter and derision.
An established brand comes with all that design work completed in advance, to a high standard and tested in the market. A big company can afford the team of specialist designers that a small business can’t, and with it all the advantages of good design.
Getting It Right
Because of all this, it’s important to evaluate the brand of any franchise you’re considering. Is it widely known within its niche? Does it have a loyal fan base? Does it have good design? If it’s got all of those things, then it’s more likely to work well for you.