Most people like to be counted on. Everyone likes to count on others, especially the reliability of products and businesses. When we order a pizza from a national chain, or go to the store to buy Oreos, we have an expectation of what we will see when we open the box. We know how it will look, and taste. This is why we made the purchase. We chose that pizza chain and that brand of cookies not just because we like it, but because we trust that it will be the same product every time.
This is the founding principle of franchising - consistency. For that reason, it is critical that every franchisee in a system consistently follows the procedures and policies of their brand. After all, this is part of why most people get into a franchise in the first place. You don’t have to start from scratch, or make things up and hope it will work. You know the product or service has been tried and tested in the marketplace. You have a name and a brand which is already established, which makes it easier to attract new customers.
To gain these benefits of joining a franchise, it’s important to follow all the policies and procedures of your system. Being loyal to the standards and values of your brand goes a long way towards building your business success.
Below are the top 3 reasons why consistency matters in a franchise.
1. Consistency Builds Consumer Trust
We’ve all heard the cliche of the homesick traveller wandering into a pizza chain or burger joint, searching for a taste of home. There is no mystery in ordering a Big Mac, and that familiarity is comforting. In all business categories, part of the franchise experience is knowing what you are going to get. When online reviews and word of mouth sends a lead to your franchise, they are expecting the same customer experience they heard about. To benefit from that trust, be consistent with the systems and language of your franchise. This will help you land those leads and convert them into customers.
2. Consistency Establishes Brand
To paraphrase Shakespeare, would a Tim Hortons that didn’t look like Tim Hortons still be a Tim Hortons? A brand is much more than the name. The consistency of signage, logo, images, colours, uniforms, advertising - that is what establishes a recognizable brand. In advertising, browsing online, or scanning storefronts, people are drawn to what is familiar. Studies show that young children who don’t yet read can recognize corporate logos, colours, and images.
To support their own success, franchisees must follow the branding standards of their system. When a franchisee deviates from that, they lose the power of brand recognition. This is one of the reasons why many franchise systems manage an advertising fund, to keep control and consistency with how the brand appears in the marketplace.
3. Consistency Creates Credibility
Whether your business is making sandwiches or feeding cats, when a new customer chooses you, they do so because they believe that you will do the job well. This is the power of your franchise brand. The fact is that in an urban centre, opening your own “Jane’s Coffee Shop” will not attract as much off-street traffic as a new Starbucks or Second Cup. And this power isn’t just for the big players. Even franchisees in small systems can leverage it. A strong website, awards, years in business, and the success of other locations gives you credibility in the minds of customers. Being consistent with your brand enables you to benefit from that credibility.
Overall, consistency matters in a franchise to differentiate your business and establish trust with consumers. Being consistent to your brand will make you a reliable choice for your customers, and your business will benefit.