Establishing And Developing Brand Standards

Establishing And Developing Brand Standards

Establishing And Developing Brand Standards | Know the brand

A lot of research has gone into defining, explaining, and analysing branding. The exploration of the current meaning and use of the brand is the subject of numerous books, articles, publications, seminars, and groups.

It’s interesting that despite all of this knowledge, some of it created by the top minds in the field, I still hear people ask, “But what is branding?” It makes sense given the sheer number of lines that start with “branding is…” I think customers are searching for comprehension and a sense of how and why this instrument fits into their organisation, not another definition.

The Brand Formula

Brand Perception = Visual + Verbal + Experiential

People learn about you and their opinions about your service, product, or business based on what you do, say, and demonstrate.

Consider a friend of yours. Your initial thought when asked to do something is a mental picture of that person. If that person approached you, you would immediately recognise her and, if you knew her well, remember her name.

If you were to describe that individual to someone else, you would list her attributes, provide her name, and describe her personality using both objective and subjective details. Do you remember Tracy from college, the person with the big smile and the dark hair? She currently resides in Maine and is married. I absolutely miss having her around because she is a fantastic photographer and so much fun. You would adore her.”

Establishing And Developing Brand Standards

There is an impression created by the familiar image, the remembered phrases, and the references that make up your experience. Along with her name, face, and shared experiences, the person you were thinking of also brought back your perception of her. The brand is that.

You build an opinion about something based on a mental picture, a spoken communication, and personal experience. Therefore, a brand already exists whether we acknowledge it or not. Every encounter leaves a lasting effect. However, in business, creating and managing that impression might be the difference between accomplishing your objectives and falling short of them.

A beautiful logo, like the Nike “Swoosh,” a memorable catchphrase, like “Got Milk,” or a well-known product, like Coke, are occasionally mistaken for the brand. However, each of these well-known businesses has thoughtfully designed all three of their impressions in order to lead their target market toward their ultimate objective, which is loyalty.

You can recollect what they did and said, you can identify them, and you are aware of your feelings toward them. You will mention them if they did their job well. Coke is the greatest, you must try it,” referring to your fondness for their brand. “I wear only Nike.” This is “Brand’s” power.

Brand worth

What does “impression” mean? Due to their widespread popularity, well-known global brands are often used as examples, although brands are important to businesses of all sizes, offering a variety of goods and services as well as charitable organisations. What benefits you:

  • By deciding on your area of expertise, you become an authority.
  • Creating a distinctive trait helps you stand out from the crowd.
  • Making the right impression allows them to see everything that you can accomplish for them.
  • Long-term recognition and recall are increased by maintaining a consistent message.
  • The best and least expensive kind of marketing is referral-based customer acquisition.
  • Being clear, consistent, and innovative will help you draw in the correct clients. Why handle inquiries from unqualified purchasers when the right contacts could be receiving none?
  • Who Uses the Brand?

Establishing And Developing Brand Standards

Non-industry titans with multi-million dollar advertising budgets also do it. Everywhere brands are being used to their advantage. A few years ago, the local school system started a brand-building initiative. 

The company’s motto, “Above and Beyond,” is included into all of its meetings, written correspondence, and curriculum revisions. The most recent email said that the standardised exam scores of underprivileged pupils had increased by 22%.

Whether your goal is to increase sales or improve reading comprehension, the brand gives you a focus and streamlines your work to do so.

How to Get There

Before deciding which unique quality and to whom you are selling, you must first select what image, message, or experience will work best. It takes time and effort to get the proper people to identify, remember, and mention your business.

Are You a Worthy Subject? – The Brand is King

When your clients visit your franchised firm, it was probably consistency—consistency, consistency, consistency—that attracted them in. The reason franchising is a successful and expanding business model is that it fosters brand loyalty rather than just local devotion.

Establishing And Developing Brand Standards

This implies that a patron who enjoys their favourite meal at one franchised restaurant can also come to yours and place an order for it there. Maybe someone’s aunt got a fantastic toy at a franchised retail location in British Columbia; she should be able to get the identical toy at your neighbourhood franchise in Nova Scotia.

A well-maintained franchise in another city (or even nation) may have a favourable effect on the franchisee’s own business. The drawback is that if a customer has a negative experience at another business, they will probably avoid yours as well.

Because they are aware of this, many franchisors have created extensive guidelines that franchisees must adhere to. The topics covered here can range from general hygienic practices, food preparation, and customer service procedures.

Additionally, they can specify the pace of service or even the number of “touchpoints” that staff members must complete during a customer engagement. In a chain restaurant, this would entail asking every client whether they would want to buy a combo rather than a hamburger alone; in a store, it might entail asking if the customer has a discount card and, if not, whether they would like to get one.

How are these measurements made? Both franchisors and franchisees have identified effective ways to achieve this, but far too frequently, they only use techniques that gauge consumer satisfaction. Now, it is always wise to get customer feedback, and doing so is frequently very inexpensive.

Cheaper isn’t always better, though; there are many ways for your franchise to stray from the necessary quality without your customers knowing. You may be sure that your franchisor will be much more informed. You should keep an eye on client data that is relevant to your brand standards, and there are a number of ways to achieve this.

Internal Control

This strategy entails a thorough evaluation of every facet of your business from the inside out. A franchisor frequently dispatches an inspector to its franchised facilities, sometimes without warning.

Establishing And Developing Brand Standards

This person, frequently an area manager, will assess your franchise using a pre-established checklist, although you will undoubtedly be aware of its requirements well in advance. An internal audit’s goal is to confirm that your company is providing the kind of customer service anticipated by its brand.

A wide range of goods, services, and procedures can be assessed, and in some cases measured, by an internal audit. Does your business have a first aid kit that is fully stocked? Is the grease temperature in the deep fryer at an excessively high level at your franchised restaurant? Maybe the pop machine is pouring out too little syrup, the refrigerator is too hot, or your storefront has too little signage.

All of these items can be checked by an auditor, who will then grade you based on how closely you meet the expectations of your franchisor. For instance, if your franchised pub has neglected to update its bar menu to include the additional items head office approved last year, an auditor will notice – something a consumer would not notice if they only visited your location.

Auditors are aware of both the legal requirements as well as the needs of your franchisor. In other words, the evaluators are fully aware of what to look for in terms of what matters for the business and what your site must meet legally.

Before a required government inspection is due, any issues can be resolved with a complete health and safety inspection. Are your fire extinguishers in good working order (and are they due for a checkup)? Do your personnel wear safety shoes or hairnets?

Do you have a poster about job safety that they can easily see? Internal audits can address security concerns as well, such as whether the restrooms are appropriately illuminated. Are the doors closing and opening at the appropriate times? Are the restrooms for the personnel well-marked?

Establishing And Developing Brand Standards

You can perform internal audits as well; your franchisor doesn’t always have to. A lot of franchisees take the initiative and carry out their own audits in an effort to be better prepared for the franchisor’s inspection or just to keep an eye on their company and its personnel.

Others find it more comfortable to commission an impartial, outside auditor to do an inspection on their behalf. The price of hiring an outside firm might range greatly, from $150 to $1000. Audits that cost more frequently provide greater depth, such as 1000 questions as opposed to only 100 or 200.

If an auditor with specialised expertise is required for the audit, such as someone with experience in fire safety, food handling, or first aid, the cost of the audit may also increase. In the majority of audits, anyone could ask the questions. The audit itself takes three to four hours, plus a further two hours for the results to be typed up. Auditors are paid by the hour.

Secret shopping

You can learn a lot about how your franchised business actually operates by hiring “Mystery Shoppers,” or third-party evaluators who pretend to be consumers. When it comes to employees, this is especially true.

The manner in which clients are greeted, the staff members’ selling strategies, or even just the cleanliness of the location are all factors that mystery shoppers take into consideration when making an evaluation of your company. The benefit of mystery shopping is that it analyses your company from the viewpoint of the customer.

Your staff won’t behave differently during the review because there won’t be any overt signs of it, giving you the freedom to make judgments based on how your company actually runs. It’s possible to claim that they just give a “picture” of the company on a specific day, but it’s doubtful that a mystery shopper’s experience will be wholly untypical.

This kind of evaluation is especially helpful when assessing particular, frequently private, brand criteria. It can, for instance, reveal whether your staff members are “upselling,” such as when a customer orders a small bag of popcorn, does the salesperson ask if they would prefer a medium for 25 cents more?

Establishing And Developing Brand Standards

The practice of “suggestive selling,” which calls for a salesperson to bring up a product the buyer hasn’t even considered, is another method that Mystery Shopping might assess. Examples from restaurants include “care for dessert, too?” and “would you like fries with that?” In a clothes store, a worker might offer, “Sir, we can sell you a silk tie with that shirt for nine dollars more.”

Both the franchisee and the franchisor can benefit from this kind of evaluation, which is why mystery shopping firms are frequently hired at both levels. Typically, mystery shopping for a restaurant or retail outlet costs between $100 and $125 per visit.

Almost There?

A focus group is a useful tool for certain franchisees and, more frequently, franchisors to gather information. People who are considered representative of the franchise’s current demography participate in focus groups (or the demographic the franchisor wishes it could reach). The responses of this group to a new good or service are then observed, recorded, and analysed.

A focus group can serve as either a thorough review of brand standards or an elaborate customer survey, depending on the questions asked (though likely not for your franchised location alone). The drawback is the price.

A moderator for focus groups is frequently needed; this person must be paid. Given that focus groups might last for several hours, the participants are frequently compensated as well.

The majority of focus groups are franchiser-driven since they frequently take corporate-wide issues, such as the introduction of a new product, into account. Franchisees occasionally create their own “advisory boards” to assess problems among their own clients, but this is uncommon.

You can get excellent input if the focus group or advisory board has a skilled moderator who asks pertinent questions. However, the chance to earn $100 quickly (plus possible gift cards) can draw those who are more concerned with their own benefit than the success of the business. The key is choosing quality participants.

Establishing And Developing Brand Standards

A less expensive option to obtain some of the same information is through interviews, whether in-person or over the phone. Regrettably, they can be very annoying for participants, especially if they come in the form of an unwanted phone call.

The Perspective of the Client

Customer comment cards are the quickest, most affordable way for a franchisee or franchisor to assess a firm. Today’s remark cards don’t even need to be “cards”; they may also be completed online, which allows for even more financial savings.

Getting voluntary client feedback is fine, but relying solely on this feedback is a mistake. Despite what might seem counterintuitive, a happy consumer is not always a sign of a successful company.

“Extreme” Comments

The majority of your clients will not take part in a voluntary feedback system due to time constraints or plain old apathy. Those who do frequently have a strong sense of motivation, whether it is from a particularly positive or negative experience. As a result, the data you gather may not accurately reflect your typical consumer.

Insufficient brand orientation

The major issue with these straightforward feedback methods is that they are unable to compile statistical data on brand standards. There’s a chance that Chris in Edmonton and Bob in Halifax both enjoyed shopping at the same chain of hardware stores.

They are unable to disclose the fact that the experiences of these two customers were wholly dissimilar, with just one of them living up to the franchisor’s expectations.

Customer comment cards are not a very detail-oriented data collection approach. If your client feels they received a drink in a good amount of time, for instance, they might tell you that, but they won’t tell you that the beverages were delivered 15 seconds later than the franchisor’s guideline of one minute.

Establishing And Developing Brand Standards

An online poll can reveal whether the menu recommendations made by your service workers are sensible and practical (perhaps the customer will score them a “five out of five”). However, if you employed “Mystery Shoppers” to assess your customer service in accordance with certain brand criteria, you would learn that your staff only recommends appetisers and wine to consumers about 20% of the time.

Even so, focus groups, interviews, comment cards, and internet surveys are always beneficial since they make your customers feel as though their opinions are valued.

No Single Method Is Complete

Consistency is undermined when franchisees and their franchisors are not “on the same page,” and customers may form an opinion about your location even before they enter. There is no need for doom and gloom, though, as subpar practices in the creation of services or goods can be improved with a little work and inexpensive costs.

Spending wisely is all that is required as long as you are aware that no evaluation method can provide you with all the information.