Successful communication at franchise launch

Succesvol communiceren bij het lanceren van een franchise

In digital communications, all customer interactions are measurable and quantifiable. Digital technology offers franchisees greater business predictability, enabling them to manage their business with the help of the brand. On the other hand, certain traditional media (billboard campaigns, street marketing, radio, etc.) retain a real appeal depending on their intended use. Explanations.

Take advantage of the first communication campaign

For the launch of a new outlet, every franchisor needs a brand-specific communication kit, which is launched 3 to 4 weeks before the opening of the franchisee’s business.

“Optimizing a store’s visibility in relation to its clientele is achieved using both traditional tools and digital media, according to a mix of media determined by the franchisor. This budget, which is significant for the franchisee and set by the company, will not be recouped immediately, but rather over the first few months of operation.

The franchisee must take advantage of this first communication campaign to refine his knowledge of his customers and retrieve information, in compliance with RGPD standards. Franchisees will be able to open a few days before the official opening date announced in their communications, in order to fine-tune their sales pitch before the expected start-up rush,” explains Jean-Luc Boncenne, founder and director of the 40 degrés sur la banquise agency, which specializes in franchise network communications.

Rationalizing the customer journey

Local communication at launch is crucial to generating the first sales contacts for franchisees and developing the local agency’s reputation.

“It’s important to avoid inertia at start-up, as the franchisee may not be aware that every week or month of delay will be lost in the build-up of sales. However, communication alone is not enough. As a franchisee, you have to be very active in the field to generate contacts and opportunities”, stresses Nans Chevaux, co-founder of Mobilaug.

Of course, classic communication is still relevant, depending on the use required: poster campaigns, local radio with a good audience or street marketing . But today, we think in terms of the customer journey, with the screen as the backbone. Examples: building brand awareness on mass media – radio, television – to attract customers to screens. Or print media, such as the leaflet informing about platform delivery.

“Attention spans and the tools needed to generate this attentiveness have changed: we need to adapt to customer behavior. Today, digital technology is an integral part of a brand’s success, and a vital component of its know-how.

The tools will be parameterized, put into process form and used according to know-how: their instructions for use are to be taught in initial training like any recipe in a catering concept. It’s all the more essential as prospective franchisees will prefer to choose a franchisor who masters digital technology,” assures Julien Siouffi, Franchise & Digital expert and director of Franchise Board.

Machine learning and media balancing

Complementary traditional and digital communication actions ensure convincing results.

“Geo-targeted digital campaigns become particularly effective thanks to a technique called Machine Learning, in which the machine learns from the results of its iterations in order to increase its performance. Or with Media balancing, which arbitrates in real time, 24 hours a day, between Google Adwords and FacebokAds-Instagram, according to conversion rates and bidding costs. “explains Jean-Luc Boncenne.

When it comes to using artificial intelligence in sales, we still need to find the right balance between human judgment and automation, intuition, experience and creativity to become more effective in selling. “Today, we can no longer leave the initiative for digital communication to the franchisee alone: this service must be provided by the franchisor, in collaboration with the network’s business managers. “says Julien Siouffi.

“Using a process that has been tried and tested in pilot units, we rationalize the budget invested by the franchisee for each series of actions. Franchisees can now know exactly how much they will earn from any investment in digital communication. What’s more, by repeating the experiment in different catchment areas over time, we can refine it and improve its performance,” continues Julien Siouffi.

Business models built natively thanks to the digitization of the customer journey

During initial training, franchisees learn about their place and latitude in a local digital communication system, with its highly structured logic, and what their return on investment will be, depending on the amount invested.

“While advertising or social ads is often necessary, we also need to deliver an approach strategy to the franchisee, using our expertise in this area, such as a process for contacting prospects on LinkedIn. Marketing automation software is then imperative to cover a given geographical area with machine-generated actions, relayed locally by the franchisee through human actions. Other techniques can also be used. For example, search adwords or paid referencing is relevant for “intentional” customers. In the foodservice industry, a customer management system, using platforms such as Deliveroo and promotions, can generate over 70% of a point-of-sale’s sales. Certain business models have been built natively thanks to this digitization of the customer journey.

The annual communication plan for the outlet, which the franchisee is free to activate and is assisted in drawing up, is synchronized with the brand’s annual plan. Franchisees are supported in their implementation, with an estimate of the results obtained,” concludes Julien Siouffi.

Consistency and homogeneity

Because of the audience it reaches, franchise communication engages the brand on a national level through digital media, accessible from anywhere in the country by a customer who can’t distinguish between the brand and the outlet communicating. This requires greater coherence and consistency than ever before, to synchronize customer experiences and ensure that they are harmoniously relayed in cooperation with the franchisor.

“Mobilaug’s initial training requires us to be rigorous in a variety of communication activities. No freedom is given to franchisees on social networks, which are managed at national level by the franchisor.

Our brand has a national account on LinkedIn and Facebook, but there are no local pages for each branch. You have to respect the graphic charter, use the right arguments, and make the search algorithm perform through the chosen content. This saves time for our franchisees who, thanks to this centralization, can concentrate on customer relations.

The brand carries out global SEO work for its website, while each franchisee carries out SEA campaigns to make its agency page visible on the same site. We use a national outsourced service provider, who selects effective keywords and monitors changes in the Google algorithm. All our communication initiatives at the launch of the business require a limited investment of €20,000,” insists Nans Chevaux.

Adapt your message to local conditions, without distorting the brand

While digital technology imposes a certain discipline, for example in terms of keeping an eye on negative reviews, to which you must never fail to respond, or in terms of regularly teasing out the opening of a new store, some of the basics of local chain communication must not be forgotten.

“The franchisor must pass on to the franchisee the elements needed to use the brand and give it meaning – mission, commitment, vision… – so that the local entrepreneur knows how to talk about himself and his brand, without distorting the brand. The important thing is to adapt your message, reinforcing the elements of proximity in relation to the brand’s often generalized national arguments.

In addition, whatever the concept, the franchisee must forge local links, in particular by introducing himself to neighboring shopkeepers and representatives of professional associations, by leaving flyers on his store and inviting them to an opening party, to which he can also invite local elected officials,” concludes Jean-Luc Boncenne.

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