The only 4 things you need to know about marketing your franchise business


If you operate in a competitive industry you need a strong brand to thrive. Adults make approximately 35,000 decisions a day. The reality is, customers are time poor and deciding what to buy is just another decision in their day. Purchasing decisions are made quickly. According to Daniel Kahneman, 97 per cent of decisions are System one, that is they are unconscious, automatic and effortless.

Picture the simple but every-day challenge of deciding what’s for lunch. As you walk out of the office, someone asks ‘what’s for lunch?’ Easy enough question, but there are so many options, how to decide? What’s the criteria? Do you want something tasty or healthy, takeaway or sit down, is it a hot or cold day, do you want something light or something hearty?

In this and every decision, brands offer a short-cut for customers decision making. As business owners we would like to think customers consider all options and make a rational decision, but the reality is they make fast, emotional decisions. Today I feel like a burrito. A strong brand connects the customer problem with a compelling solution. Providing rich experiences and embedding strong memories ensure it is recalled faster than the competition.

All marketing activities must work towards building brand value. Brand value is the collective sales advantage founded on the speed of which your brand comes to the customer’s mind and purchasing hand during the critical buying moment.

Behind every strong brand are 4 simple foundations.

Find customer problems

What problems will customers pay you to solve for them? The first foundation to building a brand is identifying a deep human insight that motivates customers to buy. It is easier to find something customers are internally motivated to act on, rather than trying to convince them.

There are 3 key elements to a motivating insight:

1. A contextual fact about how people behave or what they are doing.

2. A functional, social or emotional need that are looking to satisfy.

3. A problem, frustration or challenge that stops them from satisfying the need.

The Grill’d burger chain have identified that people like to escape the office because they want to eat something tasty for lunch, but it can’t be unhealthy or make them feel sick after eating. They exist to solve the tension for customers between healthy and tasty.

Design solutions

Can you articulate your solution to customers problems in a motivating and meaningful language? Customers are too busy to decode your corporate jargon and will struggle to remember the offer in the critical buying moment. To make your product or service sticky you must articulate the benefit it delivers in customer language, with a distinct reason to believe.

A benefit ladder is a tight articulation of your product or service solution. At the bottom are the features that set your brand apart from the competition. These features ladder up to deliver a functional benefit. What does it do for the customer? Functional benefits in turn ladder up to deliver emotional benefits. How does the customer feel once they have experienced your product or service?

The best benefit ladders are single minded. Snickers is packed full of peanuts, which fills you up and helps you feel satisfied or Snickers really satisfies. The biggest trap to avoid is being all things to all people. A failed local restaurant thought they could successfully offer pizzas, tacos, seafood and curries. Customers were confused and the venue went out of business.

Sell experiences

How does your sales environment create a memorable experience for customers? The retail world is going through a large consolidation; the retail apocalypse. Average retailers are getting squeezed out of the market. On one side are the low-cost price dealers and on the other are the experience providers.

The key is to map the service journey through the eyes of your customers. What points in the journey represent opportunities to delight and what are the biggest pain points that need addressing?

Science shows engaging more than one sense can improve memory recall. Aesop stores offer an amazing luxury skin care experience. Each store is architecturally designed. Shoppers are offered green tea. Ambience and aromas add to the entire experience.

Embed memories

How is your brand embedding memories in your customers minds? You may own the trademark for your brand, but the true value of your brand sits in the minds of your customers; the memories and associations about your brand.

The average adult is exposed to 5000 messages a day. To cope, the brain has a filter keeps most of messages out. It’s like a bouncer that decides what messages to let in and what to reject. Getting past the bouncer involves telling an engaging story. Strong brands have a consistent tone of voice, a clear message about what they stand for and against and a platform expertise to broadcast the message.

KFC’s tongue and cheek campaign ‘shut up and take my money’, is a great example of a brand amplifying its voice in an engaging way in an advertising channel that they clearly know how to execute in.

Great marketing builds brand value by mastering four foundations. Does your business know the problem you solve for customers? Can your business articulate solutions in a meaningful and motivating language? Are the solutions sold as part of an amazing customer experience? Are you consistently building memories in customers’ minds?

Troy McKinna is an entrepreneur and brand building specialist. He is the co-founder of Agents of Spring and Calm & Stormy. A sought after innovation consultant, facilitator and speaker who helps senior leaders and teams build customer-led growth strategies. He is also the author of Brand Hustle – 4 critical foundations to accelerate brand growth. Find out more at