Franchises come with built-in brand recognition and a brand image that reflects the “corporate” promise to consumers. However, one of the biggest marketing mistakes you can make as a franchise owner is failing to dig deeper into the brand and not developing your unique, local brand persona.
What is a Brand Persona?
In simplest terms, a brand persona is the personality of your brand. Is your brand a wallflower or the life of the party? Is your brand extremely professional or friendly and approachable in a more casual way? Is your brand the epitome of luxury or every man’s brand?
You need to define the brand persona that your franchise will consistently portray and communicate to consumers. This is particularly important for franchises that operate primarily on a local level. Corporations are not people, but your local franchise is a member of the community where it operates.
Developing your unique brand persona and “living” that brand persona in every consumer interaction can give your franchise a significant competitive advantage. The reason is simple—a unique and relevant persona makes it easier for audiences to become emotionally connected to your brand. And emotional connection leads to brand loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing.
How to Start Building Your Brand Persona in Your Community
You can jumpstart building your unique brand persona on a local level by getting active in your community. Building face-to-face relationships is one of the most powerful forms of brand development because it gives you the opportunity to personally and emotionally connect your brand directly to consumers.
With that in mind, think outside the box and determine how your brand persona fits into your community. Next, identify opportunities to interact, not only with consumers, but also with other businesses.
For example, sponsoring local sports teams and participating in community events can put you and your brand in front of targeted consumers, but participating in your local chamber of commerce can put you and your brand in front of other business owners. By building relationships with other local business owners, you can work together for cross-promotion, referral programs, and more. This is particularly effective when you partner with businesses that offer products and services which are complementary to your own
Your goal should be to surround consumers with your brand, so they can self-select how they want to interact with your brand. This gives them the opportunity to get to know your brand persona and ultimately, to trust your brand. In time, your business will grow organically and that growth will be highly sustainable.