5 AI Trends That Will Shape Franchising in 2024

5 AI Trends That Will Shape Franchising in 2024

Safeguarding Your Franchise Through the Next Steps of AI Adoption

As we move into 2024, franchising will see transformative changes, largely driven by advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and industry growth. Statista reports that the global AI software market is projected to surge, reaching an impressive estimated 126 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. This year promises not just incremental shifts, but substantial leaps, reshaping how franchises operate, market and grow. Here, I delve into my top 5 AI trends that are set to alter franchising. 

1. The Smoke Lifts: From Abstract Ideas to Tangible Data 

Franchises that have been experimenting with AI in 2023 are starting to dial in on specific tools and getting hard data on their respective ROIs. Expect to see a surge in the availability of usable data and case studies. Organizations that started fast will be able to tout these gains to help generate traction for limited talent and resources. Even if you’re still looking to get started on AI in earnest, the good news is you’ll have some solid footing on where to start. Harnessing this data-centric approach to AI not only refines your operational model but also offers invaluable insights for strategic decision-making across the entire franchise network. 

Based on conversations I’ve had with brands late in Q4, I’m predicting we see: 

  • Massive leaps in internal training/onboarding efficiency. Tools like Synthesis, HeyGen, and Chatbots trained on private IP (Intellectual Property) will provide a far more robust, engaging, interactive, and overall higher-quality experience. 
  • Local marketing will be more easily aligned with HQ via the development of AI agents fine-tuned on brand strategy. Keeping your messaging and strategy on point, but in the hands of the local front lines. 
  • While still being an overall foggy metric, that will differ per organization. Overall, the combined value of widespread individual employee ideation, implementation, and productivity gains will lead the pack for top ROI marks. 

2. Navigating AI’s Mainstream Surge: Early Majority Incoming 

If you thought AI had reached its peak hype, no dice… Love it or hate it, AI is only heating up. We’re entering the early majority phase of technology adoption. For those unfamiliar with Technology Adoption Life Cycle, this phase signifies a broader acceptance and implementation of AI technologies, making it an essential element for franchises to stay out in front of this next wave. AI should be added to the 2024 priority list if it’s not already. Ensuring your employees, brand, and your overall investments are protected by safely and confidently using AI the right ways. A LOT more folks are going to be exposed to these tools by the end of the year.

Action Item: Get an AI policy in place before the end of Q1 at the latest. Find the right fit of control, encouragement, and transparency for your organization. Accept that you’ll have to make edits regularly throughout the year as the landscape is still rapidly evolving. 

5 AI Trends That Will Shape Franchising in 2024

3. Harnessing Collective Wisdom: AI Innovations in Franchising 

The push towards AI integration will increasingly come from the bottom up in many franchise brands. I’m a firm believer that “the answers are in the room,” so franchise organizations not on this AI path risk missing out on valuable insights. There is a wealth of ideas waiting to be tapped into, but those who have those great ideas that could elevate your brand won’t be waiting long… If you’re lucky, those with ideas will come knocking, but why wait and risk it? Encourage your franchisees to contribute to AI innovation, but it’s essential to guide these efforts to ensure alignment with your overall brand vision and long-term goals. 

Action Item: Establishing an AI council (or a group of enthusiasts) that encourages sharing of uses/prompts/platforms is more critical than ever. Put your early adopters in the driver’s seat. A high tide raises all ships; make sure you’re helping things go right! 

Lacking what I term as “AI intuition” (the skill to refine outputs through experienced judgment) your workforce may encounter the pitfall of generating subpar, generic results, leading to negative outcomes. 

4. AI Everywhere: Revolutionizing Business Platforms 

AI will transition from being a set of niche tools to becoming an integral part of major business platforms like Office365 or G-Suite. There will be options to “write/edit/create/Vulcan mind meld” using AI inside Word documents, Excel sheets, PowerPoint presentations, and every other product under the sun. It’s important to view these integrated AI tools as a means to streamline system-wide processes, from marketing campaigns to administrative tasks, ensuring consistency and efficiency at every level. However, lacking what I term as “AI intuition” (the skill to refine outputs through experienced judgment) your workforce may encounter the pitfall of generating subpar, generic results, leading to negative outcomes. 

What can you do right now to offset this trend? Investing in AI training is crucial. Upskill your workforce, invest in their future, and watch your entire organization pick up speed. 

5. Visual Revolution: AI’s Next Leap with Image and Video Creation 

2023 was the year of Large Language Models (LLMs), but 2024 will see a significant shift towards image and video creation technologies. Tools like MidJourney, Runway AI, and Descript are already impressive, with experts predicting massive incremental improvements before we even come close to 2025. These tools will offer massive savings for brands and creative outputs will be increasingly difficult to distinguish from reality. This trend has far-reaching implications for all social engagement, campaign strategies, and marketing departments as a whole.

Have you identified someone on your team who has the right skillset and has been encouraged to learn these tools? If not, that AI council I mentioned will help you identify those AI rockstars in your ranks before it’s too late… 

Ultimately, the journey through 2024’s AI-driven landscape boils down to my favorite saying, “The dragon needs a rider.” These AI tools are our dragons: powerful yet needing skilled guidance. Your expertise, augmented by AI, will take your franchise to even greater heights. Embrace this with optimism and curiosity, investing in your people to harness this power. If you’re ready to soar to new heights and want to delve deeper into these ideas, let’s connect on LinkedIn! Future you will definitely be saying, “Thank you!”

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Nick Pope, with over 18 years of sales and leadership experience in Fortune 40 companies and as a certified Pro-Coach, brings a unique blend of sales acumen and AI expertise to the franchising arena. Serving as a fractional Director of AI at Stay in Your Lane, he specializes in integrating cutting-edge AI solutions with franchise consulting, enhancing supplier relationships and operational effectiveness. Renowned for his behavior-based coaching and transformative content creation, Nick is dedicated to inspiring change and driving AI Intuition for everyone in the world of franchising.
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