The Magic of Franchise Branding

As iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains in this recent Franchise Times article, franchisors can take some tips from the crafty magician by presenting the brand’s strengths while downplaying perceived weaknesses.

The Magic of Franchise Branding

The words a franchisor uses in its branding are the basis of the magic. While all messaging needs to be honest – and comply with franchise law -the carefully crafted message will tell your brand’s story in a captivating way. You’ll focus on the critical details of the franchise opportunity, tell your company’s history, reflect your values and mission. All of which should lead the prospective franchisee to want to learn more and be a part of your story.

This article goes on to reflect what iFranchise Group’s franchise consultants advise in terms of language nuances and preferences for phrases like:

*The investing in a franchise instead of simply buying a franchise

*Referring to sales personnel as Franchise Development Officers instead of Salesmen

*The awarding of a franchise instead of being sold a franchise

Like the magician, Franchisors need to be aware of the non-verbal cues they convey. Visual cues like the cutting-edge graphic design of your website and printed or electronic brochures help to set the stage. And like the great magicians, be sure to paint your franchisee into your brand’s picture, so they will want to be a part of the story you tell for the future. ​

The Emotional Twists and Turns of Franchise Marketing

As iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains in this recent Franchise Times article, from a franchise marketer’s perspective, it is important to remember that the franchise buying process starts with pain.

The Emotional Twists and Turns of Franchise Marketing

Franchise marketers must do a good job of reading and understanding a franchise prospect’s emotions and how those emotions play into the franchise buying decision. The franchisor must create a unique value proposition for prospective franchisees that solves some emotional need.

The franchise marketing and sales teams need to find and resolve that pain for the right prospect.

To do this, marketing and sales need to work hand in hand to provide the franchise buyer with a vision of what their future could be like if they would be willing to make a few changes.

So what we really have is a two-part process: creating unique value proposition and the communication of that differentiated message in a way that eases the prospect’s pain.

And while your first reaction here might be to punt this individualized messaging over to the sales team, the savvy marketer will embrace the individuality of emotional needs rather than running from them. But in order to do that, once you define what makes you unique as a company, you must make sure that you have a sound understanding of your target prospect.

Financial gain is a key motivator for many franchise prospects, but not necessarily the only motivator. When it comes to emotional marketing, one needs to understand why money is a motivator for your particular prospect. Some studies have shown that money falls behind other motivations in a franchise purchase, such as “general independence” and “being their own boss” and coming in only slightly higher than “doing something they love.”

Goals for Gold in Franchise Marketing

In his recent article for Franchise Times iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert predicts content and mobile will continue to bring home wins for franchise marketing.

Goals for Gold in Franchise Marketing

The world was shocked last year when Italy, the world’s most decorated soccer team, failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. If history is any indicator, we can expect some unpredictable results in the upcoming winter Olympics as well. For Franchisors spending carefully budgeted marketing funds to attract the best franchise candidates, surprises are not fun and games.

iFranchise Group predicts a marketing strategy focused on carefully-crafted content and marketing campaigns to attract mobile-dependent millennials will continue to dominate in 2018.

While franchisors want predictable marketing results, sales and marketing must look forward as well. We encourage our franchise development clients to take a cautious approach but to maintain an openness to new and cutting-edge marketing options, while carefully measuring results and adjusting accordingly. Some franchisors, for example. are experimenting with the use of virtual reality as a way to reach new audiences, some even in a trade show format. The Franchise Consulting Company, for example, has recently launched the Great American Franchise Expo, a VR tradeshow allowing prospective franchisees to walk the virtual trade show floor through the use of a headset.

For the year ahead, franchise marketers are also testing interactive content such as online quizzes, infographics, and listicles. Franchise consultants will continue to to stress the importance of social signals and their relationship to search engine optimization. As Mark notes in the article, one or more of these trends may emerge as marketing champions in 2018.

Pay Per Click Marketing For Emerging Franchisors

In his recent article for Franchise Times, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert describes a battlefield approach to Pay Per Click franchise marketing:

Franchisors may want to think about approaching pay per click advertising like a war general. Size up competing franchise systems by evaluating all of the strategies used in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. Look for keyword phrases being bid on. Review landing pages and franchise advertising copy. Carefully develop a franchise marketing budget and test multiple campaigns simultaneously. Franchise sales success through winning PPC campaigns requires both great click-through rates and high capture rates.

Positioning a Franchise Launch

In his recent article for Franchise Times, Mark Siebert describes a schooled approach to franchise marketing:

  1. Stock up on dedicated franchise marketing materials.
  2. Create multiple landing pages to target different audiences.
  3. Order short print runs to allow for multiple brochures targeted to multiple audiences.
  4. Narrow the targeted market to allow franchisors to better service new franchisees by clustering support and consumer advertising.

When is a Franchisee Ready to Become a Multi-Unit Owner?

iFranchise Group President Dave Hood was recently a featured speaker and mentor at the National Multi-Unit Summit for the Franchise Relationships Institute. One of the topics he addressed was determining when a franchisee is ready to become a multi-unit franchisee.

This article was originally published on August 25, 2017 by Australia’s Inside Franchise Business.


For American Franchisors to Succeed Overseas, They Have to Be Open to Change

Sometimes the fastest way for a U.S. company to penetrate an international market is though a master franchise structure. This has wide-ranging implications for fee structure, the franchisee profile, marketing, training and support. Area development structures are also used. In any case, entering an international franchising market requires careful planning and strategy. Check out this recent Entrepreneur Magazine article which discusses some of the unique challenges and benefits of international franchising.

Lessons on Franchise Quality Control

Companies looking to franchise their business need to focus on quality control and consistency in setting up their franchise program.

When our franchise consultants speak with companies looking to franchise their business, we often hear that one of the factors holding them back, is fear that franchisees will stray from the quality standards related to the brand. Franchisors fear losing control. These fears fail to take into account the motivations franchisees have to conform to the franchise system. A highly developed confidential operations manual is one way of enforcing brand standards. It plays a key role in training franchisees and their managers.

The franchisor’s ongoing support (field visits, for example) will also play a crucial role in maintaining franchise brand standards.

iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert discussed this topic in a recent article published on

Opinion: Why Trump should be huge for the franchise industry

Originally posted on Crain’s Chicago Business, January 5, 2017

Opinion: Why Trump should be huge for the franchise industry

Whether or not you like him, are comfortable with his character, or agree with his stance on international trade, immigration, gun control and a host of social issues, President-elect Donald Trump almost certainly will be good for franchising.

The franchise industry as a whole continued to thrive during Barack Obama’s presidency, with average annual job growth of 2.6 percent over the last five years—nearly 20 percent higher than for all businesses, according to the International Franchise Association. Today, the nation’s almost 800,000 franchisees employ 9.1 million people, the association says. In Illinois alone, there are 29,000 franchised establishments with a total of 321,000 workers.

But the industry did so while overcoming some of the most significant obstacles that franchisers have faced since the Franchise Rule was instituted in 1979. In recent years, both franchisers and franchisees have been hampered by changes in the rules for overtime pay, the definition of joint employment, burdensome regulations and requirements for health insurance that could substantially alter their business economics.

Perhaps the biggest concern in the franchise community has been the National Labor Relation Board’s recent departure from the traditional interpretation of joint employment. Under the Obama administration, the NLRB broke from long-established precedent and ruled that a franchiser could be a “joint employer” of its franchisees’ employees even if it did not control their conditions of employment.

This move created fear in the franchise community, as it could impact the potential liability of franchisers for the actions of their independent contractor franchisees and their franchisees’ employees. Meanwhile, franchisees worried that their “joint employer” franchisers would exercise control over day-to-day operations and perhaps be forced to the union bargaining table—potentially compelling these formerly independent businesses to adopt wages and benefits they did not bargain for—putting them at a competitive disadvantage against their nonfranchised competitors.

As Trump begins replacing the NLRB’s members and its general counsel, we can anticipate a return to the more rational standard of “actual control” that previously existed, greatly reducing these concerns.


Trump’s nomination of Andy Puzder as secretary of labor will further boost franchise growth. As chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which franchises most of its Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. outlets, Puzder intimately understands the franchise business model and how issues such as joint employment, the new overtime threshold—the rule, put on hold by a federal judge, would require overtime pay to full-timers earning less than $47,476 a year—have hindered its growth. If confirmed, Puzder will work to roll back these ill-conceived initiatives.

Trump’s pick of Linda McMahon to head the overly bureaucratic Small Business Administration and its $124 billion loan portfolio is another encouraging sign, as the SBA has become increasingly difficult for franchisees to deal with in recent years. As former CEO of pro-wrestling’s WWE, an international licenser that started as a true small business, McMahon is well-suited to bring a much-needed streamlining to this organization.

Additionally, while it is too early to speculate on what modifications in the tax code and changes to the (un)Affordable Care Act will look like under President Trump, both should fuel significant expansion in franchising and small business more generally.

Ultimately, the best solution for higher wages is more jobs. As demand for employees rise, so too will the competition for the best employees. By eliminating the barriers faced by our country’s businesses, America’s greatest job creator will continue to drive job growth in 2017 and beyond.

Mark Siebert is CEO of iFranchise Group, a franchise consulting firm in Homewood.