FEATURE: Building Relationships in Local Communities

Apr 21,2023

Lately we’ve been thinking about the intricate web of connections that unites our communities and cities. Helping your franchisees know their trade area means knowing a lot about your target market, of course, but there’s so much more to success than marketing demographics. How do you position your brands to feel like an integral part of each neighborhood?

Think long-term. Community building doesn’t happen overnight. It’s great to have a buzzy grand opening, but after that it’s time for your franchisees to focus on putting down roots. Now’s their time to engage and connect, so double down on customer service and quality conversation. At the brand level, you want to get the word out about the promotion you’re running, sure, but it’s also important to communicate your core values and your desire to be a good neighbor. When your locations talk to people about what they’re up to it reflects positively on your brand. Enthusiasm for everyone else’s success is what leads to organic partnerships, exciting collaborations –– and friendships.

Know your neighbors. Does your brand have programs that help your franchisees stay better connected with their neighborhood? What are people into, and where do they gather? What are the local associations like? This could mean anything from sports leagues to faith-based groups to amateur birdwatchers to historic preservation societies. Schools, libraries, museums, parks, and nonprofit organizations all present great opportunities for your brand to connect with communities through your locations.

People love to support companies that use their powers for good! Use your expertise to serve the communities you’re in. Consider sponsoring an event, either financially or with volunteer time. Choose a different local organization to donate to each month, and let people know where they can donate too. The more people see your brand getting involved, the better. Suggest your franchisees plan a day of service with their team. A few hours of raking leaves together is good for team-building, good for the community, and great for getting your name out there.

Customize your marketing. Multi-unit brands have a unique challenge: many franchises are headquartered in a different city or region than the majority of their locations. How do you ensure that your advertising materials help franchisees make it clear that they are locally owned and a part of their community?

A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t the best way to let your neighbors know you’re here to stay. Show that you value local character with place-specific references and images in your marketing materials. The better connected you are in each community, the more you and your franchisees will be able to reach out in ways that feel genuinely heartfelt –– and genuinely helpful.

Click here to learn more about how UMI used on-the-ground reviews to identify location-specific marketing opportunities that helped participating stores boost sales by 8–13%!

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