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We know that as a franchisor or a business with multiple sites, you’re going to be concerned with brand continuity. A lack of brand continuity can lead to minimal brand retention, brand damage and increased mistrust among consumers. That’s why we’re discussing brand continuity and how you can use our software to help you! With a little help from Office Choice’s Communications and Engagement Coordinator; Chris Jones, we get to the bottom of brand continuity and managing inconsistencies.
Your brand is everything. It’s not just your logo and your name, it's who your customers know you to be, so you want all your customers to have the same image of you right? That’s where brand continuity comes in. Regardless of how a customer interacts with your brand, they should be getting the same knowledge, feeling and experience from you. That’s why there are a few things you should do to maintain your brand among multiple sites:
All of your marketing efforts and communications with your audience need to be as consistent as possible. For multiple sites, that means having a consistent offering and having the same marketing materials throughout sites. For some brands, this simply isn’t how their business works. As Chris Jones explains, only some of their brand message is managed at a high level. While they have a national support office, a marketing manager and a brand with a logo, some marketing and offerings are determined at a local site level. Chris tells us that “the only thing [Office Choice] really control is the branding policy”. At a local level, they decide which initiatives to take part in and even what stock they hold.
Obviously, local and national brand strategies are unique and most businesses will only have an overarching brand strategy that trickles down to all of their sites but this strategy can really work for some businesses! Office Choice employs a “making the local work” strategy which offers customers a tailored experience and a real sense of community. After all, they know their local community better than the national office does! Consistency among local messaging is a unique issue, but maintaining brand continuity among local sites isn’t. It’s something that all brands with multiple sites need to consider and seeing a brand successfully manage local strategies is very inspiring!
So how do you maintain a brand when things are done at a local level? Well, having a branding policy is very important here. Your local sites need to understand how to use your brand and more importantly, how NOT to use your brand! You don’t want local sites slapping your logo on something that blatantly goes against your brand guidelines. That’s what we call inconsistency with a brand and it will really send customers mixed messages and could potentially damage your brand. That’s why you need to develop really strong branding policies. ‘How do I do that?’ I hear you ask. Well, that’s where we come in. Using our SOP Central you are able to create customised and engaging policies that when they are updated, your entire company network is notified. From there, you can make reading mandatory and attach quizzes to the policies. But that’s not the only way you can use our software for brand continuity! Our news functionality is a really cool way to keep your message consistent and let your employee network what's going on (e.g. new marketing initiatives and what to display in-store). That’s how Office Choice make use of our software! Chris tells us that he uses our intranet capabilities to communicate with their network. That’s where their important memos, marketing campaign information and events go. This news portal is a really easy way to keep all of your network up-to-date with any upcoming events, alerts (e.g. delays or Covid restriction changes) and provide them with marketing materials. You can find more information on how to use our software in a recent blog we uploaded on using our software during the Covid age.
Delivering the same customer experience among multiple sites with hundreds to even thousands of customer-facing employees is very near impossible! So how do you deliver the same experience every time? Again, that has a lot to do with your policies and procedures as well as training. As I mentioned above, making strong policies and attaching quizzes to those policies is a really great way to be assured your network of employees understand how to deliver your awesome brand experience every single time. Something you may not have considered is staff engagement surveys. By completing staff engagement surveys (like the ones you can create with Audit Central) and addressing issues that arise in these surveys, you’re going to improve employee satisfaction. Higher employee satisfaction is going to lead to better customer service!
Of course, no matter how vigorous your training programs are, how awesome your policies are and how many staff engagement surveys you implement, there will be some times of inconsistency with experience, and that’s just because humans are involved. That's when a strong brand is the key to all your problems! Chris at Office Choice explains that in those unfortunate times where someone doesn't have a positive experience with them, the one thing that they like is that their customers decide to give their national support office a call. Why is that good? Because that customer “thought beyond just a particular local person at the shop”. It means that they see the brand power and the brand value which is actually really cool. It shows the business that they are stronger than just a local view and it gives them the opportunity to address issues at a higher level and even deploy changes company-wide if they need to! That’s why it is so important to build a strong brand, because it needs to span across your sites.
As a business with multiple sites, brand continuity is likely one of the most important things to you. Continuity with your brand is not easy to maintain either. It takes a lot of time and resources and that’s why Op Central can be a real help for you. Find out more by scheduling a live demo with us.