Finding success in the modernization of your brand begins with extensive research. This includes internal and external analysis of the brand, the larger industry at hand and existing technology.
With that in mind, the road to modernization often begins with the same questions for any brand: How does your brand stand out among the rest? How can your brand influence the next generation of entrepreneurs and customers?
Once you’ve concluded the majority of the ongoing research, revolutionizing a brand can be broken down into two steps: identifying the best timeline and the best action plan for implementation. A brand must be aware of when the most appropriate moment for change will be. Often at the beginning of a quarter or after a significant event is a natural way to transition into a complete transformation. That will likely shape the implementation plan as well.
Recognizing the Time for Change
A brand with a rich history most likely boasts a large fan following, but also has the potential to reach more customers and potential franchise partners with a strategic modernization effort. As you look within your own brand and begin to skim the surface of research, keep an eye on how many new customers are coming in each month. As a growing franchise, how many potential franchisees are Baby Boomers compared with Gen X or millennials? Could your franchise system benefit from a refresh?
As you look at the people in your system, assess the state of your locations physically. How attractive and aesthetically pleasing are they to the consumer’s eye? How does existing technology play a role in your current model and can it be improved? What are your competitors up to – are they leading the charge with a more contemporary look?
Once you’ve recognized the signs that it’s time to upgrade your brand, it’s time to start planning for the future. Setting your brand up to be successful for another 40+ years requires transforming the brand’s physical locations and vision to better fit the customer’s established beliefs and images of the brand.
Customers’ views of the brand are key, as they are the drivers of the day-to-day business. To attract a new generation of franchise partners and consumers, look outside the business owner and see what this market is seeing. Updating your brand will only work if you know what your customers’ view of your brand is and go above and beyond, fixing what a younger generation may not find as appealing. Being willing to go the next step and improve upon what they do like is a necessary step in pushing a brand forward.
Implementing the change
Existing franchise partners, as long as there are systems and procedures in place to encourage compliance with innovations and provide support through upgraded processes, are your biggest assets in seeing that the modernization is a final success. They are the individuals that have believed in the concept since the beginning and will continue to see the brand through its modernization.
As a result, a constant focus should always be on enhancing the existing franchise locations and guidelines as needed. In order to put this focus into action, there needs to be a well-orchestrated process for updating image standards and guidelines – a team of brand-dedicated individuals to assist and implement the changes on a large scale across all aspects of the business.
When the brand undergoes a change, the entire core of a company can benefit from the brand’s legacy moving into the future. This legacy is what initially draws in new forward-thinking prospects to further propel the brand forward. Since they know that there is a consistently positive historical representation and plenty of room to grow, it is possible for prospective entrepreneurs to envision themselves in the franchise system and want to be part of a brand transformation in the foreseeable time to come.
The crucial aspect of change is to be a forerunner of innovation, rather than waiting to follow the competition. Your eye should be on being proactive, instead of reactive, and a newer generation of franchisees and consumers will likely result from your investment in brand research, innovation in the industry and embracing technology.
Ed Pearson has been the vice president of sales and development at Meineke Car Care Centers, Inc., a division of Driven Brands, Inc., for more than two years. Prior to joining the Driven Brands corporate team at its conception in 2008, Pearson was a multi-unit franchisee of Econo Lube, a family brand of Driven Brands. Meineke currently has more than 900 centers that service approximately 3 million cars a year.