UMI Turn-Key Marketing Solutions Shares Strategies for Implementing Meaningful Give-Back Programs
Because the franchise industry is known for its community service initiatives and give-back programs, it has attracted people who want to make a difference. “At the heart of it, franchisees invest not just financially but personally in the brands they choose,” says Amy Peart, CEO of UMI, a turn-key marketing agency for franchise brands.
UMI takes a community approach to everything it does. Peart says giving is ingrained in UMI’s culture and helps the agency advise franchise brands on how to create community-based initiatives. But it’s not as simple as it may seem. While give-back programs are wonderful, it takes strategy to implement them effectively throughout an entire franchise system. “A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t the best for multi-unit franchise brands,” Peart says. “Whether it’s a local marketing campaign or a community-based program it’s important to maintain a balance between a strong brand voice and superb local execution.”
Franchisee Community Involvement
Peart says that programs should be well thought out and modular so that franchisees can build something they’re excited to get behind. “The better connected and more personal your franchisees are in their community, the more you and your franchisees will be able to reach out in ways that feel genuinely heartfelt and helpful.”
Franchisees who encourage and enable employees to volunteer and get involved often see a happier and more committed team.
Because consumers form shopping habits within a one- to three-mile radius of their homes and/or work, community programs provide a great opportunity to build relationships with local consumers as well as boost brand awareness and visibility. “Franchise owners need to earn the trust of their community to earn their business and ultimately become their favorite local business.” Peart says that active participation in the community demonstrates goodwill and reinforces the values a brand stands for in an authentic way. “Plus franchisees who encourage and enable employees to volunteer and get involved often see a happier and more committed team,” she says.
Passion is at the Heart of Give-Back Programs
Peart recommends that brands build programs for their franchisees that help them partner with local organizations whose mission statements and values align with their own. For example, if a brand’s mission is to inspire and support a healthy and active lifestyle, it would make sense to sponsor local races, donate nutritious snacks to sports leagues or rally its team to clean up a public park or recreation center. “Consumers love to support companies that give back, but it’s important to leverage your brand’s unique expertise in a meaningful way.”
Peart stresses that the best type of programs are ones that a team feels passionate about. “Without excitement from within, programs can underperform.”
With UMI’s “Glow Up” program, for example (top photo), the team chose to work with FurBabies Bakery because UMI is full of animal lovers. “The owners of the store have a passion for producing healthy pet treats, and that really resonated with everyone at UMI,” Peart says.
UMI Turn-Key Marketing Solutions
With more than 20 years of experience creating, producing and implementing community programs of all types and sizes, UMI knows what works for franchise brands.
UMI’s community-based programs allow franchisees to customize print materials, digital content, even uniforms and swag, and select location-specific references or images in their promotional materials that they feel will connect best with their community. “Our client support team and graphic designers work with franchisors throughout the process to keep the brand’s image and messaging protected and provide expertise to help them get it in market quickly.”
Engaging the Community
UMI helps develop give-back programs that keep franchisees engaged with their community while positioning the brand as an integral part of each neighborhood. “We recently helped a brand develop strategic local marketing plans for 150 of their under-performing stores, which resulted in all participating stores seeing sales increase by 8 to 13%,” Peart says.
Helping franchise brands make a difference comes naturally to the team at UMI. “We’re proud to have spent the last 23 years spreading that generosity, and we look forward to many more years of the same!”
For more information, visit www.umimarketingsolutions.com.