Can Brand Image indicate a quality franchise for sale?
Nicholas J Hudson | National Franchise Manager | Snap-on Tools
When evaluating franchises for sale, there are many criteria used to compare the different franchise systems. Amongst these, name recognition and brand identity of a franchise company can have a strong appeal on your evaluation as recognition can be highly influential on consumer purchase decisions and consequently on the size of your franchise business.
It is important for franchise systems to uphold a positive and well-defined brand image across the whole franchise network in order to flourish and create favourable customer expectations in terms of service provided.
The perception of a brand is influenced by different factors (brand philosophy, values, positioning, price, previous experiences with that brand) which, if used to convey a cohesive message, can create positive customer expectations that may sway their purchasing behaviour towards your franchise business, even if they have never previously visited before.
The recent topfranchise benchmarking survey showed the Snap-on Tools franchise to be particularly strong and above industry average in the area of brand recognition. The result was achieved at no surprise as Snap-on Tools is one of the most recognised brands for quality tool equipment for professional tool users. Nicholas Hudson, Snap-on Tools National Franchise Manager, was happy to share his knowledge about the role of the Brand Image when researching a franchise for sale.
It seems around every corner there is new information given about franchises. Amongst the copious amounts of information it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate which brands are successful, honest and credible.
Specifically speaking about brand image, there are two telltale signs that I would encourage prospective franchisees to look for when researching a particular franchise for sale.
Firstly, Consistency. Look for franchises that keep the same company representation and core message for a long time.
For example, the Snap-on Tools franchise has been operating for decades and throughout this time we have consistently representing ourselves as a franchise service with high quality tools and outstanding customer service.
Consistency strengthens the brand and increases the possibilities for that brand to be recognised by the end customers. It is also a good indicator of whether the current brand personality is successful with consumers. This is particularly true in franchising, where the core assumption is that customers will be experiencing a consistent experience in every outlet of a certain franchise system, making brand consistency fundamental to their success.
Creating a brand is a quick operation, but strengthening the brand takes time – years of reinforcing the core message and values carried along.
I would also advise potential franchisees to research the values, history and ultimately the brand identity of a franchise system beyond the traditional marketing channel: in this regards, people from that franchise system are your best source of information.
Look for where franchisees uphold the franchise system’s values in their practices. Talk to them to see whether the franchisor is communicating with them clearly and according to the company’s philosophy. If the communication and support are consistent, franchisees will reflect their ideal brand image to consumers more accurately.
Snap-on Tools built throughout the years the image of quality tools and we had franchisees who decided to buy the Snap-on Tools franchise after being users of our products. Franchise owners should present the company and the products in the best possible manner and we are proud to be able to say that our franchisees constantly provide a service that matches the Snap-on Tools’ reputation.
Strictly connected with consistency, I believe that people researching a franchise for sale should also look at the longevity of a brand to recognise a successful and credible franchise with positive brand imaging from end customers.
Longevity is a fact; an honest and valuable source of information that – along with other factors, such as proven business concepts, business stability and an efficient operations system developed throughout the years – can be a good indicator of the success of the business.
"In the process of doing due diligence, the brand identity of a company can be one of the features you would be carefully evaluating, as the brand can tell you a lot about the history, philosophy and the values of a company."
The longevity itself of a franchise system doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will be successful as a franchisee; rather, it shows that the particular business concept has been successfully replicated many times across different geographical zones and therefore it is more likely that operations, systems, management and support services have been redefined and documented.
For example, the Snap-on Tools franchise has been around for 90 years in the United States and for 22 years in Australia. I find that many of our franchisees take comfort in working with a franchise that has been around for a long time (as it is proudly exhibited on our franchisees’ t-shirts “Since 1920”): it indicates that the company and its business model has been successful and will most likely remain so in the future.
In the process of doing due diligence, the brand identity of a company can be one of the features you would be carefully evaluating, as the brand can tell you a lot about the history, philosophy and the values of a company. In this way, you can draw a lot of information and determine whether you would be a good fit for that franchise and vice versa. However, be aware that buying a franchise with a well-recognised brand does not guarantee success, which is why I strongly recommend to further research what’s beyond the brand image and see whether the values and claims are in fact put in place.