Franchisors pride themselves on proven systems and brand recognition. Learn how owners succeed by infusing their distinctive personalities into their business.
There is freedom in franchising.
The structure of an established corporation doesn’t have to prevent owners from personalizing their business. Yes, franchises—including Dwyer Group—have non-negotiable policies to obey. Although Dwyer Group requires uniforms, for example, there is flexibility in areas such as marketing.
Gary Landon, of Dwyer Group's corporate office, says the organization provides the 26 crucial pieces necessary to operate and expand a “strong profitable business.” Landon adds: “We’re locally focused and nationally supported,” giving owners the freedom to infuse their “personalities and giftings” into their shop. Corporate leaders don’t want to micromanage, he says.
In addition to providing jobs, Dwyer Group franchisees often find themselves contributing to their communities in fresh and fun ways. Some unique ideas might not be part of the corporate playbook, but the personal touch in business builds lasting relationships with customers and civic groups alike.
Balancing global and local
Franchisees who live in the territory they have bought into have a deep understanding of the people and market, says Melissa McClain, marketing manager for Mr. Handyman. There’s a sense of belonging in the area and being part of a bigger picture with Dwyer Group, she says.
“When we talk about marketing in their community, they’re happy to do it. It may mean sponsoring a football or baseball team, participating in a 5K race to raise money for cancer, or a local Fourth of July parade.”
Social media is integral to global and local marketing as well. At Allstate, tips about insurance are routinely pushed out to the public. Franchises have the option to “supplement these nationally driven items with localized events, meetings and causes.”
Jeremy Goldman, a brand marketing consultant, writes on Inc.com: “Show your followers that you're committed to them and not just the franchisor. Tweet about donations you make to the local economy, and post images that position your franchise as being grounded in regional activities.”
Goldman also praises Ramada’s incentive efforts. The national office might manage the loyalty membership program, but local hotel managers can offer coupons via direct mail, text or email, he says. Put your franchise into the path of your consumers, he advises. “Even if they weren't planning to [hire] you immediately, your messages may encourage them to act sooner.”
Personalized greeting cards and a short thank-you for a positive online review can make a significant difference in humanizing a franchise. Noel Tarter, a franchise consultant and project manager for Aire Serv, says flexibility within an established system is advantageous.
Tarter and his corporate colleagues help owners with “tried and true” plans, providing analytics. What works in Orange County, California, will bring different results in Waco, Texas, he says.
Tarter suggests that owners check with their respective brand before venturing into something that’s not a requirement. Folks can save money by learning from others’ mistakes, he says.