That is the question………..
I’m old enough to remember the music industry back when we all eagerly awaited the release of our favorite band’s next “album”. New acts would come around, but you spent years following each new release of your trusted favorites. Then something changed – it seemed by the late 90’s people were not anticipating the next album, but the next new band. Gone was loyalty for the most part – it was more about the next new group, or genre.
We are seeing the same trend across the business sector – as millennials become a larger part of the consumer base of any industry, brand loyalty seems to be decreasing. Social Media advertising and marketing plans allow small startups to compete much more effectively than ever before. Restaurants, big-box retailers, and fitness centers seem to be hit particularly hard by this, just to name a few. Is anyone really excited about another Chili’s or 24-Hour Fitness opening up? The new hip coffee shop, or boutique gym, is certainly much more exciting to an ever-increasing number of consumers.
Add to this the exorbitant cost of maintaining a franchise relationship with some of these big brands, and it is not surprising that so many operators are choosing to “de-brand”. This presents its own host of risks, and should not be taken lightly; however, if it is managed correctly it can yield great results. It is a process and must be planned out far in advance so as to cause the least upheaval possible among your staff and clientele. The timeline must include research and implementation dates for a host of categories – here are just a few:
• Communication – when and how to notify company stakeholders, employees, key clients, potential clients. Each of these needs a separate strategy.
• Physical changes – plant changes, branding, equipment purchases depending upon the industry.
• Training – management and staff training on new procedures, pricing, policies.
These are just a few of the myriad of issues you will need a plan for. Simply deciding to re-brand to save money on royalties or franchise fees is reckless; you must consider all the aspects of this decision. When done correctly, according to both the trends of your industry and best practices of those who have gone before you, it can be a great benefit to your bottom line and promote growth and new customers, many of whom were uninterested in you as a national brand.
If you are considering this change or know someone who is, please contact us for a free one-hour consultation regarding this important decision.