American consumers will buy enough cheeseburgers at a local franchise to support the national restaurant chain, but local customers will flock for localized dishes that speak to their regional identity and appeal to their unique taste. McDonald’s knew this when they unveiled a green chili cheeseburger in New Mexico, the state which produces the majority of the chilis in the United States. McDonald’s knew this when they unveiled a SPAM eggs and rice breakfast in Hawaii, where residents eat an average of six cans of that salted soul food for every man, woman, and child per year. And McDonald’s knew this when they started selling biscuits and gravy in the American South, which has strong attachments to that filling country comfort food.
This is hyperlocal franchise marketing. Rather than casting a wide net by simply maintaining the nationwide menu and one-size-fits-all marketing message for all potential customers, a national chain like McDonald’s can drive traffic to local franchises by catering to local communities’ distinctive cultures. Effective local franchise marketing celebrates who locals are, finds them where they shop and live, and serves them what they need — and locals don’t even know they want until they see it. Give them deals. Give them specials. Gather their contact information and market directly to them.
By customizing their national menus for distinct demographics, McDonald’s positioned themselves as fans and purveyors of local fare who truly see those locals, rather than a giant chain who treats everyone the same. But local marketing isn’t just for restaurant franchises. Local franchise marketing is essential for national brands’ success across industries, from retail to hospitality to financial services, and to businesses large and small.
Local marketing is an important way for franchises to drive sales, create brand loyalty, strengthen trust for lesser-known brands, and elevate existing brands’ profiles. The most effective local marketing for franchises are highly targeted, optimized campaigns that cater specifically to a unique group of local consumers’ habits at specific touchpoints along the path to purchase. Delivering effective marketing messages to existing and potential customers means finding the online and offline touchpoints where the customers and franchise intersect.
Franchises’ local marketing strategy must ask: Where do customers do their market research and get recommendations? What social media platforms do they pass time on? Where do they encounter messaging at home and in public? Those are the points of access for franchises to reach local customers.
First, franchises have to get to know those customers.
Your franchise’s customers are Googling specific products and services near their homes. They’re buying things at a big box store. They’re working remote in a coffee shop. They’re scrolling Instagram while waiting in line to pay for groceries. Targeting them with banner ads and billboards and direct email campaigns at once may be ineffective and a waste of employee’s time. Focus. One of the biggest mistakes franchises make in marketing is to advertise across too many platforms and use too many tactics. Engaging hyperlocal customers requires precision, so build a profile and target more specifically:
When franchises understand how customers spend their money and time, and they identify what happens at each stage in their local customers’ journey, they can shape that journey to move customers from one step to the next, from awareness to intent to purchase, and keep building brand loyalty after purchase.
Creating customized local products is one way franchises reach local customers. Other proven tactics include paid search campaigns, social media engagement, high quality digital content, and local deals and seasonal promotions available only at certain locations.
Franchises can market locally in the following ways:
Franchises trying to build a local customer base while keeping the national brand identity consistent need a local marketing platform. The reason: Scaling national to local successfully presents challenges around brand management, fund management, and marketing execution.
While franchises customize national marketing for hyperlocal communities, each location must stay compliant with the national brand’s identity, including the company logo, color scheme, mission, and message. Consumers prefer known brands that they trust, and local customers expect to find the national brand’s visual identity, quality products, competitive pricing, and customer service at their local franchise. But creating brand-compliant local marketing assets is challenging.
Franchisees aren’t marketers. They’re busy business owners, and in the day-to-day course of running their business, small errors occur. Outdated logos get used. Low-res images mistakenly end up in assets. Promotions get mixed up, creating pricing errors and customer confusion. A local marketing platform allows franchise owners to create and customize marketing assets for their own campaigns without straying from the national brand’s message and identity.
Brands who want to support their franchises with the right tools and infrastructure need to plan, enable, and execute local marketing in a way that maintains brand consistency. Marketing efficiencies through automation ensure that the programs and tactics are focused on shared goals.
By utilizing localized tactics that franchisees execute for their unique audiences, solutions such as BrandMuscle’s Intelligent Local Marketing Platform help franchises execute local marketing campaigns, reach local customers, build trust, and drive traffic.
To sustain its rapid growth, Duck Donuts needed to better support its franchisees’ marketing efforts. The company was seeking easy-to-use tools that would help franchisees boost brand awareness in their local communities.
Duck Donuts leveraged BrandMuscle’s Intelligent Local Marketing Platform, which reduced the need for corporate-generated, one-off, and custom marketing requests. Duck Donuts franchisees can now order in-store promotional signage and marketing kits, access brand-approved artwork and logos, and create fresh marketing assets quickly to drive traffic to their stores. The corporate marketing team has gained more time to focus on strategy and growth opportunities as a result of the efficiencies gained by using our platform.
Contact BrandMuscle to chat about how we can help franchises drive traffic while staying true to the national brand’s identity.