Digital Signage … an Effective Marketing Tool for Franchises
Ken Goldberg of Real Digital Media, in his article in DigitalSignageToday.com, expounds on the use of digital media as a very powerful marketing tool for franchise businesses. He cites the franchise model where the concept of a marketing campaign is decided by the franchisor while at the same time giving the local franchises some control over content and message.
One of the most successful business models in retail and food service has been the franchise model. In that model, a franchisor creates a concept and a system for bringing that concept to life in a consistent and appealing way. Capital investment in individual stores or territories is made byunder agreement with the franchisor. In successful franchise models, the franchisor is relentlessly focused on maximizing the for its . Whether that means ongoing concept development, marketing, group purchasing power or technology support, all hands are on deck to make successful. It is the definition of win-win.
Implementation of digital signage across such a group of associated yet independent entrepreneurs is a different challenge than undertaking the same project in a corporate-owned chain. Here are five important things to consider in the deployment of digital signage in a franchise environment.
1. Leverage the group to identify objectives and opportunity
Utilize the experience and customer contact thattend to have in order to identify the highest value use case(s) for digital signage. That should start with an objective, and drive consensus toward the type of implementation and content that will meet the objective. Revisit objectives as all parties gain experience.
2. Make content a marketing project, like bags or napkins
Perhaps the greatest service that the franchisor can provide to a digital signage effort may well be the development of high quality content. Larger operations will have marketing assets upon which to build; nearly all will have branding standards and marketing messages to guide them. The franchisor’s investment in quality content can have great impact on success and ROI for all parties.
3. Create a standard program with single accountability
Once the program objectives and costs are defined, the franchisor should create a program under which thecan acquire a standard implementation of the digital signage package. Ideally, this includes a focused program manager on the franchisor side, with support of the group, as well as a systems integrator to drive logistics. Some digital signage programs will be optional for , while franchisors and their partners may choose to make some programs mandatory. In either case, creating a seamless, professional and accountable program office is critical to adoption and success.
4. Centralize operations
As is the case with content and purchasing, centralized operation of the digital signage solution removes a burden from the, while ensuring a consistent and controlled process. For larger organizations, it may very well make sense to deploy an enterprise software model on centralized servers. Operations of that scale typically have professional IT departments to serve other functions and can handle this easily.
5. Allow for decentralized control of certain aspects
While centralized operations are more efficient, providing franchisees with a modicum of control over certain aspects of the content on their digital signage displays greatly increases buy-in and relevance. The ability to create or insert pre-approved localized content and messages increases the engagement of both customers and franchisees. Web-based tools allow for decentralized localization without degrading centralized security and controls.
Photo by Sun Group (Digital Signage)