These experts share their most important tip on how their iconic brand has stayed relevant in the modern age.
Interviews by Kieran McLoone, deputy editor for Global Franchise
Whether you’re in the business of selling pizzas, mowing lawns, or teaching theatre, coming up with a concept is just the start. To become a real household name, you need to weather the storm and persevere as an agile, enduring franchise. We speak with some of the brains behind the biggest brands to establish exactly how they stood the test of time.
1. Remain adaptable
Brad Sugars, CEO and founder, ActionCOACH
“Too many companies are unclear or waffle on their organizational vision because they want to chase the next big thing but they don’t align with their vision. To be a legacy brand, you need to be consistent – not trendy. You have to have a solid foundation with memorialized processes so that you can refine and improve over time.”
2. Make ownership easy
Doyle James, president, Mr. Rooter
“Much has changed in the way we connect with potential franchise owners. In the past, it was common for us to place advertisements in newspapers under business opportunities. Today, we are still listed under business opportunities, however more so in online business sites. We also have found we can learn more about potential franchise owners through social media.”
3. Focus on the little things
Andrew Walters, director of international business development, Stagecoach Performing Arts
“It’s not actually the big changes that we have made to adapt the model that have made the difference, but the little ones. Finessing the finer points makes a franchise feel much more like a local business that fits in with the local culture in each country and one that makes sense to the customer base.”
4. Invest in the future
Michael Paul, CEO and founder, PACK & SEND
“We are always trying to stay ahead of the game, predicting as best as we can where businesses and consumers will be spending their money in the future. We believe, for example, that eCommerce order fulfillment services for small businesses will represent a significant proportion of our revenue in years to come – and thus are investing now in digital strategies to be a leader in this market.”
Mastering the message: how to update legacy branding
5. David Mathie U.K., general manager, Just Cuts
“Maintaining our brand presence, nearly 40 years after the first Just Cuts opened in 1982, has taken a significant level of innovation and change. Although the first salon still looks recognizable as a Just Cuts location, our brand has undergone multiple facelifts to get to the point it is at today. The latest version of our Just Cuts logo was released in 2009 and is consistent across our network. The key, for us, is consistency across all brand messaging.”
6. Ashley Fritsch, marketing manager, Jan-Pro Systems International
“The way that commercial cleaning has been perceived has evolved greatly, especially in the age of COVID-19, so our brand voice and messaging have also regularly evolved as we continue to stay relevant to our community.”
7. Ed Quinlan, president, Chem-Dry
“The Chem-Dry brand has evolved significantly over the past 43 years. In the 80s, it was common to see an old utility van or truck with a blue vinyl cut-out of the brand’s mascot, a character we created called Chem-Dry Charlie.
In 2004, Chem-Dry added a tagline to our logo: Drier. Cleaner. Healthier. Then in 2014, we refined our marketing strategy to focus on becoming The Healthy Home Authority with a refreshed brand look and messaging that we translated and implemented across all of our marketing and communications.”
8. Jennifer Lemcke, CEO, Weed Man Lawn Care
“Built on core values of amazing service, integrity, passion and innovation, the Weed Man brand has not changed much over the past 50 years. The logo has stayed true, the brand colors have remained – resembling the hues of a dandelion – and our tone of voice has always been the same: written for a family of four with a pet.
“With that being said, we’ve modernized the look and feel of Weed Man over the years by incorporating up-to-date imagery and brand assets. We take pride in how versatile our brand has proven to be.”