What if all your employees could feel as positively about your brand as you do? What if your entire staff performed every action they took every day with your brand identity in mind?
That's just the start of what the best internal marketing strategies for franchises can give you...
Here are a series of problems that any franchise network can face:
- You need to implement changes to your franchise system. But you're not sure how to get everyone on board to do it.
- Your support staff are failing to meeting the standards you've set out to your clients with your external marketing. Because no one ever told your staff what those standards are.
- Your sales team are giving your customers the wrong impression about what you can do for them. Because they feel disengaged from your brand and the products that they're selling.
Check out these internal marketing campaign ideas and start getting some unity and sense of purpose into your franchise network.
First lets think about:
Why does transformation fail?
1. Managers assume employees are on board
Think back to when you were just starting your career. Did someone take the time to explain why it was so important that every team member operated in this same specific way? Or did they say "this is how we do things. Here are your sales goals - get started"?
Did that make you feel particularly engaged with the brand? Or care about the success of the company as a whole?
The days of treating employees as disposable resources are over - at least, they are if you want to build a company culture that's willing to accept change.
A properly engaged team which believes in the purpose of the company - or at least, one which works together to stay on-message while working towards your goals - is going to give you much better results than one operating with vague disinterest towards their monthly pay cheque.
2. A franchisee doesn't have the skills
Don't leave it to your HR team to instil this sense of purpose in the rest of your staff. And don't just assume because your individual franchisees are good at talking the talk, they're necessarily also walking the walk when it comes to creating a unified culture that will accept transformation...
You need someone with professional marketing skills to really get the rest of your team on board. To this end, it may also be worth appointing a change champion, a small change department, or an internal communication manager - someone whose purpose is to facilitate an internal marketing program for your franchise.
If internet marketing training is something your franchise staff or franchisees need, it's time to get them some. Because online strategies are going to be a key part of disseminating your message.
But of course, they won't be alone...
How to Implement Change
Having the right internal marketing strategies in place for your franchise system will let you implement change cleanly.
By facilitating clear communication and involving everyone in the implementation of the change, it creates a culture that will overcome the usual resistance.
In order to do this, there are several key factors to bear in mind:
1. Timing is everything
Given a choice, most people will prefer to keep doing things the way they've always done them. It seems easier. It seems like change is upsetting the apple cart.
But when a time of change comes - perhaps you're expanding abroad, for example - having a clear internal communication process set up for your franchise allows you to lead the way. The alternative is leaving the rumour mill to work overtime regarding the plans for the future of your company...
In fact, without the immediacy of an event happening that tells any given employee why something needs to change, you may still face resistance. Or a lack of engagement with your franchise internal marketing efforts as a whole.
This event could be anything - new management staff can often take advantage of their entry into the company to achieve this. Employees will be expecting to hear from them.
You may even need to take steps to engineer an event which creates a reason for any change or internal marketing campaign. Otherwise, you'll be faced with rooms full of employees asking why they should care.
2. Know when to quit
The flip side of timing the deployment of your campaign, of course, is knowing when enough is enough.
Your employees don't want to hear about the dramatic changes that will be occurring on a daily basis. Things need time to settle down again after a change event.
Your staff doesn't want to be constantly bombarded by your marketing messages either. By all means get them engaged with your latest campaign by linking your external and internal marketing efforts. But after a while, enough is enough.
Don't keep firing off company-wide emails or feedback schemes. Learn when your time is up.
3. Create a coherent message
Both the message you send to your clients and the message you send to your employees should be consistent. From a PR point of view alone, in today's social media connected world, anyone can loudly broadcast that things inside your franchise aren't as rosy as they seem on the outside.
But that's just the top layer of an interconnected internal and external message and marketing strategy...
Linking all of your marketing in this way keeps everyone on top of your brand's message. For example, your new external message might be telling your customers that they can come to you for advice as well as products. What happens if your staff doesn't know that they should be handing out free advice too? They'll just keep on pushing sales.
Having a consistent external and internal message and communication systems in place also becomes especially important when change is involved.
4. Anticipate issues - or consult staff
Don't just be ready to fire off a "thank you for your comments" stock response, either. If you ask for feedback on an idea, you'd better be prepared to alter your thinking based on what it tells you. Or be prepared to state clearly why you disagree if it doesn't line up with what you thought.
Being able to do this in a positive manner will be hugely beneficial.
You should also consider the effect that any external marketing campaign will have on your internal market:
Do your employees appreciate being compared to cute animals? Or that your latest ads suggest they've been at fault in the past?
Make sure that any change is correctly marketed to both your target audiences.
5. Like any marketing campaign - set your goals and budget
The internal marketing campaign for your franchise is still a marketing campaign. This means it needs:
- A clear goal or goals, progress towards which can be measured
- A realistic budget that you have the funding in place for
- A set timeframe that will allow you to measure goal completion, or alter goals as required
Careful planning of your campaign is going to be key to the success or failure of your internal marketing. We'll look into this a little more below...
Making Your Employees Live the BrandThe consistency that you're striving for in your marketing messages should be coherent with your brand identity too. The end goal?
To instil in your employees that every action they take at work needs to be in step with your brand identity. It doesn't matter whether they're doing something like making a round of tea or coffee in the office, or taking part in vital interactions with key customers. They're acting in a way which is informed by your brand identity. To do this...
Your franchise internal marketing needs to convert and convince.
Just like any marketing campaign, you're trying to convert your employees - in this case, from staff into believers in your brand.
This will take:
It's just as important to research your internal market as your external one. Does a certain aspect of your company's history or identity already appeal to your staff? Could you make more of it? Use all of the interviewing and surveying techniques you'd use in any market research.
Which is why your campaign is a project that needs to be handled by the experts in your marketing department. Or outside professionals if your marketing department isn't up to the challenge.
It's no good simply telling your employees one thing about your brand when they can demonstrably see it isn't the case. If you're re-branding, this is where the ability to affect transformation and change comes in.
The personal touch is often key here. Don't rely on a flyer to spread the word. Try to get the most senior figures in the company spreading word of the campaign in person.
It can also be beneficial to seek out influencers. In your internal market these will be popular employees, or those who influence the opinions of those around them.
You should also be identify any employees who are likely to resist change, so that you can address their concerns personally and directly.
Authenticity and honesty
Part of being credible is being honest with your employees. Don't talk down to them. Or dress up your marketing in flowery words that don't mean anything - or which aggrandise the company up to a ridiculous extent.
Careful judgement (based on your internal market research) needs to be wielded as to your positioning to make sure your language is authentic, honest, and relevant to your audience.
A new branded tea mug for the whole team isn't going to interest anyone. And at worst, it's going to prompt mockery about how disconnected the management are from the "ordinary" workers on the front lines.
If you really want your internal marketing to resonate - to effect change, or to build your brand into every aspect of your franchise's operation - you need to excite your audience.
They'll be on board with what you're trying to do all the faster.
Internal Marketing Strategies for Franchises - How to Make Yours Work
The experts at Local Fame have the experience you need in both external and internal franchise marketing.
Why not get in touch for some free advice?
You'll get some handy internet marketing tips for your franchise - as well as some professional attention paid to those all-important personal methods.
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