Franchise Networks and the Battle for Brand Authenticity at the Local Level

The struggle to keep franchisees’ social media and online reviews on-brand

By Mike Georgoff, Chief Product Officer

It’s challenging to create a comprehensive social media and reputation strategy for one business, and marketers for franchise networks know it’s even more difficult to set up a strategy that masters micro-moments for the brand overall, as well as individual franchisees located across the country.

For brand networks, their biggest battle is establishing an authentic brand identity for their corporate location and ensuring that brand is reflected at the franchisee level, while at the same time, maintaining each individual location’s local feel.

So, how can marketers create a strategy where the brand network’s franchisees are authentic and on-brand, but also localized and genuine? How can they be certain that every customer service request and review is answered in a way that will resonate with the local community it serves? Marketers first need to overcome these 4 main challenges:

Challenge #1: Posting authentic, localized content for each franchisee

Marketers need to implement a comprehensive content strategy for each franchisee’s pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Bob’s Gym — Cincinnati and Bob’s Gym — Cleveland should both contain content that come from corporate across these platforms (like graphics, information, and news), but marketers should have a content calendar in place for each franchisee (in line with corporate brand, style, voice and content guidelines). These calendars will indicate what localized content for local fans and followers should be posted on what days to increase the maximum amount of engagement. Since local fans are the target audience for each franchisee, marketers should be monitoring when these fans interact most with franchisee’s social posts to reach potential new customers in the community as well.

Note: Main Street Hub can become a distribution engine for corporate level content as well as a content creation engine for local content. More info about how we help franchisors here.

Challenge #2: Entrusting franchisees with local social media content

When maintaining the online presence of franchisees, marketers for brand networks might think it’s a good idea to assign designated team members at each location to post on social media — with the support of corporate guidelines, templates, and an image library of approved graphics. But, this can be difficult if these team members aren’t experts at using social media for marketing and don’t understand why posting on social media is essential for the brand.

It’s also incredibly difficult to quality control — franchisees could use the wrong fonts, inappropriate posts, off-brand images or gifs, and much more. This unknown factor is what marketers fear most, since they are there to ensure consistency across the board in order to align with the brand’s voice and message.

Having a marketing strategy from corporate and entrusting local marketers at the franchisee level might not be enough to distribute and monitor quality content.

Note: Main Street Hub empowers franchisors to execute their brand vision and strategy at the local franchisee level, across thousands of social media touchpoints — blending brand compliance and local authenticity to power an exceptional digital consumer experience.

Challenge #3: Responding to reviews for each franchisee

One of the hardest things for marketers to keep consistent across franchisees are review pages. Feedback on these sites can often be charged, and situations can escalate quickly, especially if an appropriate response is not issued in a timely manner. Plus, one negative occurrence at one location or miscommunication on the part of one franchisee owner can affect other franchisees and reach all the way to corporate.

Marketers need to ensure that their brand networks have a reputation management strategy in place that trickles down to each franchisee in order to handle these incidents and keep each response on each page in line with the overall brand.

Similar to Challenge #2 above, it may seem like the best idea to leave review responses up to each franchisee. But if it’s risky to allow franchisee team members to take the reins for local social media accounts, it’s even riskier to allow team members, who are often not customer service experts, to be the voice of the company. This is true because responses are public, and ultimately affect the brand’s overall image and reputation.

For instance, what if one franchisee responds to a negative review in an offensive or inappropriate manner? That could escalate onto other channels and affect how the public sees not just franchisee, but the overall brand. Marketers need to ensure that they are protecting their brand networks’ reputation 24/7 for each location.

Note: Main Street Hub’s deep understanding of the franchise landscape helps brand networks increase successful and sincere interactions with their customer base.

Challenge #4: Handling franchisees’ customer service requests on social media

As more consumers turn to social media for their customer service requests, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for marketers for brand networks to keep up. When marketers are controlling all franchisees’ customer requests on social media, it can feel like too many are coming in too quickly to manage properly and respond skillfully.

In fact, a majority of consumers report using Twitter and Facebook for customer service requests, and 33% of consumers even prefer to contact brands using social media rather than calling a business. If these communications are ignored or mishandled, that can cause negative perception for the franchisee and its brand network overall.

Here’s an example from Kogneta showing how a franchisee neglecting a negative comment on social media can affect the overall brand — they point to this example from a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee’s Facebook page:

“Dunkin’ Donuts allows individual franchises to have accounts and this specific account is for a location in New York with a small following of 209 people. As you can see, a regular post was made by the location and then received a negative comment about that location, but from there the situation spread and people began to comment on Dunkin’ Donuts as a whole. It received 59 shares and not one comment from Dunkin’ Donuts. The corporate Facebook account would have been better prepared to do damage control, but instead this franchisee page didn’t even acknowledge it, which reflects upon the brand as a whole.”

Every review, message, and mention on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram present new challenges for marketers, since each one has the power to influence consumers and their perspective, not just on the brand of their local franchisee, but the corporate brand presence across the board.

Note: Main Street Hub empower franchises with our one-of-a-kind technology to find, engage, and delight their customers, at both the brand and local level.

Challenge: The battle for brand authenticity at the local level

Solution: Main Street Hub

We’ve got you covered. We’ll take the brand network corporate vision and strategy and execute it across the network, across channels, with the right blend of brand compliance and local authenticity.

We’ll be at IFA 2018 at Booth 556, ready to chat with franchise professionals about the challenges franchises face in the world of social media and online reviews — and we’ll how we can take all of those challenges off your plate, for good.

Read the full press release on the launch of Main Street Hub’s new solution for franchise networks and learn more on our blog here.

Ready to partner with us? Get started with us here.

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Franchise Networks and the Battle for Brand Authenticity at the Local Level was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Main Street Hub


As a reputation management pioneer, Nick has the inside scoop on all things Reputation Management. This blog will focus on Reputation, practices, technologies, providers and re-shared content from some of the preeminent players in the industry. We hope you enjoy!

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