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A How-To Guide for Developing Franchise Brand Guidelines

Entrepreneurs typically invest in a franchise system because they want to be their own boss and call the shots in their locations. That’s part of the allure of franchising. However, they must keep in mind there are standards to maintain as a franchisee of the larger franchise brand. After all, consumers love franchise brands for their consistency – in product, service, recognizability, convenience and look and feel of locations – so it’s important for franchisees to maintain the standards the franchisor establishes. Therefore, writing brand guidelines for franchisees to follow is a must.

Essential Franchise Brand Guidelines

Your brand guidelines should be a comprehensive collection of standards the franchisee must maintain. Brand guidelines should include the following components:

  • An Overview of the Brand – By including the history, mission, vision and values of the brand, franchisees will have a better sense of the brand’s personality. Brand personality generates an emotional connection with the franchise company’s targeted customers. By keenly understanding and replicating the brand personality, franchisees will have a better idea of how to attract and retain customers.
  • Mission Statement – The mission statement provides franchisees, employees and consumers with a reason for why your brand exists, what it does, who it serves and the goal of the franchise. It can serve to remind franchisees of what the brand’s objectives are should they ever lose sight of why they invested in the franchise. Franchisees should share the statement with their employees as part of the training process to get them assimilated and provide them with a purpose for their job. Similarly, a good mission statement can also serve to inspire the franchise development department at the corporate level, as well as franchisees.

Group of co-workers putting their hands together.

Consumers are often interested in knowing brands’ mission statements – especially millennials, who place high value on authenticity. Sharing your mission statement with consumers can go a long way toward attracting the right customers. Franchisees and their employees who live the mission statement can help turn first-time shoppers into repeat customers.

  • Quality Control – Franchise brand guidelines should address the significance of maintaining the quality of products sold and/or services provided across the franchise system. Because customers count on the quality of products and services being the same at every location, it’s imperative for the success of every franchisee that products are made and sold or services are performed uniformly. If quality suffers, it hurts the franchisee as well as the brand.
  • Operations – As franchisor, you’ve spent a lot of time and energy to develop operations that that are efficient to serve the customer as quickly as possible without compromising quality. Franchisors also invest a lot to develop operations that cut down on product waste and use the least amount of resources, saving the franchisee money. Franchise concepts that adhere to the brand’s operations systems across the board do better at maintaining high quality control at optimal profit levels versus franchise concepts with franchisees who insist on doing things their way.
  • Appearance – A franchise’s customer base relies on the brand being recognizable no matter where they are located. Customers look for the same logo and expect the interior of franchise locations to look similar. Color, font, imagery, as well as logo, contribute significantly to the appearance of every franchise brand, from fast casual restaurants to mobile, home-based service providers. Appearance contributes a great deal to brand identity, which contributes to brand growth.

Paper products, such as a bag, box, cup, tag, etc.

A Win-Win for Franchisors and Franchisees

While the goal of brand guidelines is intended to protect the integrity of the brand, it’s important to let franchisees know that the guidelines benefit them, as well as that their participation in adhering to and supporting these guidelines will serve the entire franchise community as you build the brand together.

For help developing your franchise brand guidelines, contact Winmark Franchise Partners. With 30 years of franchising experience and more than 800 franchise owners representing over 1,200 locations for five brands, Winmark Franchise Partners can help you build a strong franchise system. Contact us here or at (844) 452-4600.