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Large organisations with multiple sites are always going to be concerned with the continuity of the brand. Is my store in Melbourne doing the same thing as my store in Brisbane? A lack of continuity between sites can cause failure of brand recognition and brand damage. Sure you can outline how a manager or franchisor needs to run the site, but what more can you do from there? Actually, there is quite a bit you can do to ensure your business is running with absolute consistency across the board. Let’s find out:
Without good communication, you won't succeed in maintaining consistency. By effectively communicating with your network of managers or franchisees, everyone will always know what is expected of them and what to do. Notably, effective communication doesn’t just mean the words you use, it also means the mediums you use to communicate. We use a lot of different communication mediums in the workplace today. We use Zoom, emails, Slack messages, calendar invites, phone calls, comments on Google Docs and so much more. While using all of these mediums is perfectly fine, it’s important to establish expectations over where and how marketing information and assets are distributed. All of these should be distributed in a consistent manner. So via the same communication channel and in the same format. Franchisees/managers should also know where and whom to direct their questions as well.
Probably one of the most important factors for maintaining brand consistency is creating a style guide. How is anyone supposed to know how to accurately portray and present the brand if there’s no indication of what the brand is? Your style guide should include fonts, imagery, logo, brand colours, brand voice and everything else that makes your brand what it is as well as what contexts in which certain aspects of your brand should be used.
Of course, just as important as having these things well documented, is having them distributed correctly to those who need the information. This goes hand in hand with the above point, as the franchisees/managers who need the style guide, need to know where to find it, which makes effective communication key!
I’m not sure who started saying that templates were a bad thing, but we need to have a talk with them because templates absolutely are your friend! Those obviously templated emails that go out to customers and leave them with a sour taste in their mouth are not what we are talking about, we are talking about marketing asset templates. Templates can be really great particularly when it comes to creating localised marketing content. For example an in-store banner with local footy teams that a particular location sponsors. The best way to template things out is to have some assets locked and not editable so the major components of your marketing assets remain the same. That way, managers or franchisees can add their own local flair and brand consistency can be maintained.
Site audits are going to give you the best idea of whether your locations are complying with brand guidelines or not. A great way to conduct regular site audits is by deploying self-audits. This allows your franchisees/managers to perform their own audits and submit those responses to you for review. Now I know what you’re thinking: “how can we trust our managers/franchisees to conduct their own audits?” Well, with a system like Audit Central, you can design the most comprehensive self-audits with functions such as ‘restrict file upload to camera’, leave a comment and add an action plan. With Audit Central’s self auditing capabilities, you can always be sure responses are accurate and can make more informed decisions based on the data you gather from submissions.
Maintaining brand consistency is not as hard as it seems. By following the above brand continuity suggestions, you can be sure that brand damage never has the opportunity to occur.