Various communication techniques are available to communicate with the franchisor’s target market. Using them selectively rather than synergistically, can lead to failure in the effectiveness of a communications programme. We continue exploring these communication techniques.
Fifth is public relations. This can be used to build trust, goodwill, interest and ultimately relationship with the franchise system’s target market, and also to counteract unfavourable rumours, stories, events or incidents.
Favourable publicity at franchisee level generates excellent results, e.g. at product, corporate or community events. It can also include controlled publicity in the various media.
Sixth is sponsorship where financial and/or other support is provided in return for the sponsor’s name, product or brand/logo being used in connection with the sponsored event/activity.
Golf-tournaments, CSR events backed by balloons, banners, printed bags are methods that franchisees can use at local level-but such materials are always produced by the franchisor to ensure consistency.
Seventh is word of mouth-an endorsement of the product (or lack of it) by the consumer. It is communication freely given through word-of-mouth conversation. It is based on experience relating to the product or service and where the receiver regards the communicator as impartial.
Very important, however, is that the primary communicator of the message is usually the customer. When an existing franchisee talks positively to their networks about the franchise system, the franchisor is likely to attract more better franchisees.
Likewise, when a final customer who has used the goods/services at an outlet talks positively in their networks about them, more foot fall is generated -and vice versa.
Eighth is the new media, commonly known as social media. New media opportunities developed in recent years are the worldwide web, e-mail and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, Telegram, LinkedIn, Twitter and mobile technology (SMS and mobile apps).
These can be used separately or in combination with the more conventional marketing communications media by both the franchisor and the franchisee.
Marketing through the internet is done over the world-wide web (website). A franchisor seeking new franchisees or to market products to the final consumer could sum up product attributes and post on their own website or prepare a targeted advertisement which internet marketing companies such as Google then broadcast to their millions of customers on the internet in the chosen locality.
Emails targeted to certain audiences are also prepared and given to social marketing companies which send them to a pre-generated email list. Marketing on social media sites is done by either posting on an own wall or paying certain individuals and other social media influencers who have massive following to post on their walls. Tracking mechanisms such as coupons can easily be incorporated.
Targeting the communication is key. Each of these social media vehicles has, over time, curved its own space. LinkedIn, for example, is considered more business-like tool while Facebook is a social tool.
Twitter has grown mainly to be a critique tool while YouTube is a repository of messages one wishes to communicate and keep online.
Though SMS messaging has been overtaken by messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, it is still useful for mass market products whose target audience has no smart phone.
A targeted message is prepared and sent to thousands of mobile phone numbers through the bulk SMS service provided by most mobile phone operators. Messaging apps enable formation of groups that can be reached instantly with targeted messages.
Most attractively, these social media tools allow uploading of product visuals, making it easier for the target audience to “feel” the product.
This, combined with the fact that most are accessed through a smart mobile phone, enables targeting the communication 100 per cent to the audience, to which it is delivered instantly.
Finally, when planning the marketing communications mix it is important for the franchisor to ensure that the media combinations are carefully planned to limit potential waste.
Cognizance must therefore be taken of the local marketing communication efforts undertaken by the franchisees.
The writer is a franchise consultant working to promote adoption of franchising in Africa. He works with country apex private sector bodies to increase the uptake of franchising by helping indigenous African brands to franchise.
We turn around struggling indigenous franchise brands to franchise cross-border. We settle international franchise brands into Africa to build a well-balanced franchise sector. We help African governments create franchise-friendly business environments for quicker African economic integration under AfCFTA.