Is Your Franchise Ready for a Brand Refresh?

Is Your Franchise Ready for a Brand Refresh?

No brand stays the same forever. Just as websites and operational processes evolve with the times, franchises should periodically evaluate their brands to determine whether they need an image refresh.

Deciding when to initiate a refresh can be tricky, though. Doing so too often could send customers mixed messages. Too seldom might lead to a dated brand image. The key is to balance the evolution of your franchise marketing with consistency, keeping up with the times without losing sight of what made your brand successful in the first place.

In a competitive world, companies can’t afford to fall behind with stale branding.

Is it time to refresh?

Franchises take on refreshes for a few reasons. Sometimes, the brand simply outgrows its original purpose. Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, is facing a market of changing consumer perspectives. Many people today want healthy alternatives and energy boosts more than they want indulgent breakfasts, and Dunkin’ Donuts is responding before the tide shifts too far.

Even as the doughnut giant shifts its focus away from sweet snacks and toward beverage options, the company doesn’t throw consumers for a loop. Instead, brand marketers at Dunkin’ Donuts implement small changes in target regions and then expand their tactics after they discover a winning formula. The company has even changed its name at a new store in Massachusetts, branding it simply as Dunkin’.

As brands like Dunkin’ Donuts evolve, so do their marketing elements. It’s important to prevent those elements from conflicting. Old and new logos used together confuse customers. Inconsistent color schemes make collateral look unprofessional. When elements like these begin to detract from the company’s reputation, it’s time for a change.

Occasionally, a franchise does everything right, but external factors necessitate a refresh. New social perceptions of images, words and taglines can force brands to rethink how they approach their messaging. Ace Hardware, for example, used to be the place with the helpful hardware “man.” Today, Ace has changed that reference to “folks” to demonstrate its appreciation for female employees.

Despite the potential benefits, many franchises that should refresh hesitate to take the plunge. A thorough franchise marketing refresh can be expensive, and some business leaders might feel attached to the company’s original branding. Even in companies with buy-in from executives, achieving full compliance with new branding takes time. Franchises have to create all-new sets of deliverables and set realistic timelines for full adoption to ensure all owners participate in the refresh.

How to lead a successful brand refresh

Think your brand might be ready for an image update? Follow these five tips to plan and implement a refresh that sticks.

1. Look at logos and taglines first.

Evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of current logos and taglines. Does the logo scream 2001 with all-chrome everything? Does the tagline exclude a group of people, like Ace Hardware’s did? Look at these assets from an outsider’s perspective to determine whether they accomplish their intended purpose. Then, with new logos and taglines set, work with a franchise attorney to trademark the assets. Professionals can help you avoid trademark disputes and other legal issues.

2. Set a schedule that includes everyone.

Franchisees and employees across multiple departments and locations need to stay on the same page to maximize the effect of your updates. Designating an internal point person to coordinate launch efforts for the refresh will help your whole team stay on track. Communicate timelines well in advance, and roll out new deliverables on time. Keep your lines of contact open, encouraging staff and franchisees alike to speak up if they notice something was overlooked.

3. Update creative assets in advance.

Update all your visual elements before launching a refresh. Consider everything customers see, such as photos, videos, web assets, uniforms and signage. Ensure that every employee has access to the updated material related to their position and knows not to use the outdated assets. The easier it is to comply with the refresh, the faster franchise locations will be able to execute a smooth transition.

4. Develop a PR plan.

Create a news release scheduled for distribution on the day of your refreshed brand’s launch to build some organic traction. Post about the refresh on social media platforms, your company website and any other channels your company uses regularly. If you don’t have an internal PR team to complete this task, hire an agency to do it for you. Refreshes with bad or lackluster PR miss golden opportunities to spark consumer interest.

5. Bridge the gap for customers.

Incorporate some core elements of the old brand into the new one to ease consumers through the transition. Remember, the goal is to look fresh, not unrecognizable. Gather key leaders and designers to capture the essence of the brand and weave it into the vision for the new one. Don’t rush the process, and don’t throw out existing elements that could help consumers draw the connection between the new and the old.

Franchises depend on the power of their brands to provide consistent, positive experiences to customers. If your franchise is ready for a brand refresh, follow these tips to make the most of your evolution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *