What is Franchise Marketing and How Does it Work?

A marketing display of Mary Browns chicken sandwiches

Capitalizing on an established brand is one of the best things about owning a franchise. Franchise marketing means you get to use an existing brand’s reputation and restaurant expertise to attract customers and drive revenue to your business. 

Marketing a Franchise

When you’re building a house you don’t just use one tool to build the whole structure –  the same rule applies to franchise marketing. Marketing budgets should be allocated to different channels (or “tools”) in order to build solid brand awareness and customer loyalty. The budget is normally spread between advertising, public relations, online marketing and sales promotions. 


Advertising is a marketing technique that entails purchasing ad space to promote a product, service, brand or cause. The overall goal of advertising is to convey an objective and draw enough attention that would persuade your target to take action. Other goals could be to: introduce something new (like a new product, service, project, or changes in branding),  encourage repeat customers, attract new customers, or act as a reminder (for example, reminding your target of a limited time offer). 

Public relations 

Public relations offers 2-way communication between businesses and the general public (among which we find customers, investors, business partners etc.). This in turn creates room for dialogue and engagement – therefore benefiting a business because they will receive direct feedback, which opens up opportunities for deeper insights. 

Public relations is all about building a good standing reputation for your brand. It is an essential communication method that includes public speaking, press releases and community involvement. Compared to advertising, even smaller companies with low financial resources can afford to use PR because public relations is inexpensive. 

Online marketing 

Online marketing refers to all marketing efforts that occur on the internet. A franchise can use digital channels such as social media, search engines, pay-per-click, email, websites or SMS to connect with potential customers and reach objectives. 

Sales promotion

Sales promotion is a marketing strategy where a business uses a temporary campaign or offer to increase interest or demand for its product or service.

There are many reasons why a business may choose to use a sales promotion (or ‘promo’), but the primary reason is to boost sales. Sales boosts may be needed to reach a quota as a deadline approaches, or to raise awareness of a new product.

How Franchise Branding Works

A franchisee will usually have a “grand opening” or marketing specifically geared towards introducing them to the market. Typically, they will also need to have an annual marketing plan that will need to be submitted to the franchisor for approval. 

Along with national marketing, a franchisee may decide to create local marketing campaigns geared towards their specific location’s demographic – this is beneficial for encouraging local community support. However, before the local campaign is implemented, it would need to be approved by the franchisor. It is also possible that franchisors could have a local advertising and marketing requirement where the franchisee is expected to spend a certain percentage of their gross sales on local advertising, and provide proof of the advertising to the franchisor on an annual basis. 

Upon purchasing the franchise, a franchisor will normally give you creative brand guidelines that could include: 

  • Logo  
  • Colour palettes including RGB and CMYK codes 
  • Font styles 
  • Images 
  • Sizing requirements (how big or small logos, fonts or images need to be)
  • Spacing requirements (how close elements can sit next to each other)
  • Usage permission (if certain elements should or should not be seen together, or if there are certain times of the year when certain styles may be used) 

These creative guidelines are used to ensure marketing continuity across all locations. This way whenever a potential customer sees any promotional material, they will easily be able to recognize the brand. 

What is Included in Franchisor Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines are there to help ensure brand image and quality are consistently being followed throughout all stores. 

General brand guidelines should include: 

Brand Summary 

This section will have information on the 

  • Company/brand history – how it developed over time to get to where it is now
  • The mission it seeks to accomplish – also known as the mission statement, where the company explains why it exists. This part’s objective is to inspire and remind all levels of the franchise system why they do what they do. 
  • The vision it has for the future and the values it wants to uphold. 

Brands are carefully constructed to appeal to their target audience so it is important for the franchisee to know the ins and outs of the brand so they can attract and retain customers. 

Internal Operating Process

The franchisor will have guidelines on how they want operations to run. This may include purchasing specific equipment, completing daily tasks, following certain protocols, etc. 

The reason for putting internal operating processes in the brand guidelines is to ensure optimal efficiency levels. 

Quality Control System 

A big part of maintaining consistent branding is keeping up with the degree of quality provided to customers. This is important, especially for a franchise, because customers have pre-set expectations for what they will receive from your store. 

Examples of quality control systems that would be listed in brand guidelines for a restaurant franchise would be how food is stored, prepared and served to customers. There may also be certain procedures to follow when quality issues do occur. 


The appearance of your store will also be a significant point in the brand guidelines. This could include the general layout, colours used, where the logo is placed, or where artwork can be hung. 

What’s Included in Franchise Marketing Costs

Franchisors normally require a percentage of monthly revenue to go towards marketing and advertising costs – this percentage is typically around 4%. 

These marketing fees are used for: 

1. New Store Grand Openings

Grand openings are a great marketing strategy to introduce a new store to the market. By generating “buzz” around the new store you have the potential to attract new customers and the attention of local media. Local papers, television stations and radio programs often feature segments where they introduce new businesses.

2. Multi-Media Marketing Program 

A multi-media marketing approach will ensure that audiences are targeted from all angles. The more media channels used, the more exposure your business will get, and of course, this will result in higher brand awareness. This will also allow you to create more specific ads that will appeal to a wider variety of demographics. 

3. Location-Specific Programs

Location-specific programs will allow you to reach potential customers who live or are travelling close to your specific store. Tools such as local SEO marketing can give you a competitive edge by directing consumers to locations that are most convenient for them. 

Does franchise branding intrigue you? Looking for a new business challenge- why not join the Mary Browns team as a new franchisee. Learn more about our franchise opportunities today.   

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