By: Jody Scheldt, 7/26/17
Successful brands are built by consistently meeting the expectations customers have of the brand. The only way to meet those expectations? By adhering to company-wide operating standards. For franchisors, that means reinforcing a brand’s image from the start. Without such consistency, a product or service suffers, the strength of the franchise declines, and you may find yourself with a corporate identity crisis that can seriously devalue your brand’s reputation.
Value of Corporate Identity Standards
Consistently applied corporate identity standards make communications clearer, reduce confusion, and ensure dependable brand recognition. They also build customer loyalty and protect a brand’s bottom line.
Franchisors can avoid corporate identity misuse by setting marketing guidelines for their franchisees. Some ways to do this include:
- Educating franchisees on corporate policy regarding email communications and social media use.
- Making sure everyone markets the brand consistently and correctly: the same logo, the same fonts and colors, and the same spelling everywhere and every time.
- Giving franchisees the tools they need to build the brand locally.
Technology and the continual changes to the way people use the internet have caused major disruption in how brands communicate with their audiences, and how consumers experience and share content about a brand’s products or services.
Dangers of Brand Devaluation
The more valuable your brand is perceived to be, the more customers are willing to invest in and recommend it. Many brands devalue themselves without even realizing it. A poor customer experience, disjointed marketing strategy, and lack of corporate-wide communications and methodology can all lead to a brand devaluation that threatens your corporate identity.
For example, a top concern for many brands is how social media has opened the door for potential brand infringement and devaluation. Online scammers and impersonators – together with disgruntled consumers – can seemingly overnight damage the reputation of a brand. To mitigate this risk, you need a well-thought-out corporate identity protection strategy in place.
There are several ways to protect your online corporate identity:
- Use the online tools social media platforms offer to make your social media accounts “official.”
- Make sure your corporate website includes information about and links to your social media accounts.
- Consistently monitor for misuse or misappropriation of your corporate identity.
While social media has innumerable positive benefits, it’s also capable of putting your corporate identity in real danger of a ruined reputation. What people say online about you and your business has become the most important reflection of your brand’s integrity, reliability, and value. Managing its digital identity should be a top priority.
Take Control of Your Corporate Identity
Global marketing guidelines ensure brand recognition and help your franchisees give customers the consistent high-quality service they expect. A uniform corporate identity also eliminates brand confusion and establishes your business as one that is professional, trustworthy, and dependable.
A repetitive, quality marketing strategy gives franchisors and franchisees a strong foundation to build on. Keep the focus on this corporate identity truism: a business’s most valuable asset is its reputation. Establishing brand consistency protects that asset, ensuring an organization’s long-term success.