Brand reputation is irreplaceable. It is not like a machine that can be easily fixed once it breaks down. In fact, three-fifths of the surveyed business executives believe that 40% of their company value lies in the brand reputation that they have built up over the years, according to Forbes.
When talking about franchising, the role that brand reputation plays becomes even more pronounced. In case a single franchise makes a mistake that hurts the entire franchise brand, this can be easily translated to the other franchises. For instance, the recent racism scandals that have plagued the McDonalds franchise have affected the business of all other franchises, even though the events that led to this didn’t happen in their location.
The trick lies in learning how to differentiate your business’s message from the rest to stand tall in the aftermath of similar situations. Here is a guide on how to protect your individual business’s reputation from the mistakes of other franchises:
How a Damaged Reputation Will Affect Your Business
Raising the profit margin of your business is an obvious role that the reputation of the entire franchise, and the individual businesses, plays. However, having a damaged reputation will affect your goals of attracting financiers to your business when investing in low cost franchises under 10k. For instance, if another member of the franchise has defaulted on a loan that they were offered by a bank, that bank might be less willing to offer you a loan.
Additionally, the damaged reputation will also discourage both potential employees and customers from interacting with your brand. This situation has the potential to stunt the growth of your business and your investment as well.
Patch Anything That Can Harm Your Reputation
A variety of things can easily harm the reputation of your business, ranging from data breaches to fraud cases and even poor customer service. For instance, just because a member of the franchise was affected by a data breach shouldn’t mean that you too have a high likelihood of going through the same. While following the contract guidelines is the first step to staying safe from these issues, it is never enough.
You should aim to add additional safeguards that will protect your business even when the rest are being affected. In the situation of a breach using state-of-the-art security protocols, where other businesses use standard practices, will protect your reputation.
Create a Community with the Locals
While franchises as a whole serve a region or even the entire nation, the role of the individual franchisee is to serve the local customers. Why not create a community to make your customers feel like part of a culture. Leverage social media to discuss issues that may be affecting local customers. It’s also a good idea to respond to both positive and negative reviews to show you’re paying attention and care about the concerns of your customers.
Social media and content marketing can be great tools for articulating your business’s culture to your customers. This way, when another franchise member makes a mistake in how they handle their business, the bond that you have created with your own customers will suffer minimum blows.
What If You Make A Mistake?
Disaster can be inevitable, but how you rise above it will determine the success of your business as well as the reputation that will be translated to the rest of the franchisees. While disasters can range from small issues such as late delivery to major issues such as data breaches, the first response to the issue will matter. In most cases, approaching the situation initially from a public relations perspective rather than the legal perspective is the right move.
You should commit to doing something that will be seen as the right step in the public eye. Although some decisions may result in financial pain, they are worth it as long as they prevent the minor situation from snowballing into a major problem for the entire franchise.
One downside to investing in franchises is that the reputation of other franchisees can affect your own. The responsibility is upon you to not let it affect your business. Consider the tips above to stand tall in times of crisis.
Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.
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