As you grow your business into a global brand, it can be tough to successfully maintain local relationships on a community level. Growth, expansion, and worldwide saturation are all wins in any franchisor’s book, but with a global presence comes a new set of best practices to ensure hyper-local success.
Consumers are looking for locally owned, independent businesses that can provide a consistently positive experience. With a large number of units to manage, global brands need to focus on finding the best ways to encourage local representatives to grow and maintain their relationships with the people in their neighborhood in order to build customer loyalty and retention while driving bottom-line results.
The question becomes: how? Chem-Dry has been in business for 45 years, now spanning 55 countries, serving over 11,000 homes and businesses a day worldwide. Key to the brand’s history of excellence is the prioritization of local relationships. Below are five best practices designed to guide brands on how to never lose sight of the hyper-local aspect of the business as they enter the global arena.
Overcommunicate to ensure consistent alignment across the brand
For a global brand to find success, there must be consistent alignment across all franchisee and corporate businesses – the brand must truly represent itself on all levels. In order to help ensure this consistency, you will be tasked with overcommunication, repetition, restating key messages – over and over and over again.
This will bring light to the ‘why’ behind the work, bring shared direction to all teams, and allow everyone to focus on what really matters.
When overcommunicating, be sure to tailor your message to explain how something specifically impacts your audience, whether it’s your internal leadership team, franchisees, or vendors. Make sure all communications highlight the relevance to their personal objectives. This will enhance your relationship building and position you as a trusted leader who has others’ best interests in mind.
You have to buy-in at all levels so that the vision of the global brand is implemented all the way down to each individual local market. This will result in a team that’s more invested in its work, understands the value of roles, has higher morale, and feels empowered to remain committed to achieving the company vision.
You might also consider allowing your franchisees to help overcommunicate key aspects of various messages. Their validation has immense influence on others in the system. For example, when we rolled out our new wood floor cleaning service, our leadership team outlined best practices, of course, but the real traction happened when our franchisees shared their success with the new service and how they’ve implemented it in their local market.
Remember too, that overcommunication is done best when you vary your mediums. Don’t rely too heavily on email. Analyze the message you are seeking to deliver and match it with the appropriate method of communication – face-to-face, small group meetings, webinars, or text messages. This will help build repetition and let the message resonate.
Streamline day-to-day processes, systems, and tools
Simplicity is key – focus on the basics for seamless operations.
Commit to making recurring innovative changes that align with the industry and can be applied across locations. Keeping local representatives or owners equipped with the fastest, most efficient and current operations tools will allow them to hone in on the customer relationship aspect of the business because their product or service is guaranteed to be the best and most efficient.
Automate as much of the business systems as possible – but keep messaging local
Automation in business operations is essential. From regular POS system upgrades to email and SMS reminders for customers, automation initiatives are one change that can be made globally that can have extreme local payoffs for owners.
Don’t forget that each location has its own face, and that face is who the community knows and relies on for consistent positive service. Be sure to account for adjustments to be made to any automation advances so that local representatives can personalize these to fit their local market and maintain relationships.
There are a lot of features and tools to scale global campaigns so they pull together relevant local content and demonstrate local awareness. This could include localized landing pages as well as geo-relevant ads built dynamically.
Prioritize local service excellence
No matter how big or small your brand is, customers are the lifeblood of your organization. Establishing a strong connection with customers is critical – one of the best opportunities to establish that connection is through their experience with your brand.
As you grow into a global company, more attention needs to be placed on perfecting the customer experience. While tech and innovation reign supreme in the pandemic era, we must also not lose sight of human connection, emotion, and empathy as it relates to the customer experience.
This might require new initiatives, or enhancements to training programs. Energized and motivated franchisees and employees who are equipped with the resources they need to deliver on your brand promise will have a direct impact on the customer experience. They hold the power in ensuring whether or not the customer leaves the experience feeling satisfied. As you grow to the global scale, you must become consumer-centric.
Encourage local operators to embrace their community as part of their brand identity
Community relationships are vital to any small business, and though your brand is global, operators in local markets should be encouraged to utilize their community as a strong part of their business operations.
Stay updated on local community events, neighborhood affairs, join the Chamber of Commerce, and participate in, and initiate, local campaigns with nonprofits or other businesses. This will allow them to establish their community as a part of their brand identity, while also building strong relationships that will enhance unit-level results in addition to benefiting your global brand’s identity.
For example, we have a franchisee out of the Phoenix area – David Gaulden – who does donation work for churches in his area that, in turn, has helped generate new business opportunities. Paula Faughender, our NatureWise Chem-Dry owner out of Minneapolis, partners with Open Arms of Minnesota – an organization that prepares and delivers nourishing meals to critically ill Minnesotans and their families free of charge. Our local charitable efforts make a true impact; there’s power in #chemdrygivesback.
It is hardly about being seen – it all about the connection with community. Brands are best served when we align with the needs and the vision of the communities that we live in. Showing the community we care across the board is the unsung hero of global success.
Ed Quinlan is the president of Chem-Dry, part of the BELFOR Franchise Group. Chem-Dry is the world’s leading carpet and upholstery cleaning service with a network spanning 55 countries, serving over 11,000 homes and businesses a day worldwide.