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Managing Brand Consistency Across Multiple Locations

Coral Drake | April 16, 2024 |

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Managing Brand Consistency Across Multiple Locations

Strategies for Maintaining Brand Consistency Across Multiple Locations

Building and maintaining brand consistency is essential if you want your company to expand, whether you’re opening multiple corporate locations or starting a franchise. Without a unified brand experience—in-store and online—your locations will operate like individual businesses, not a part of one overarching company and mission.

Here’s how to build and implement a brand strategy to manage brand consistency across multiple locations. 


Build a Brand Identity

Why does your brand exist? What are its values—the core principles that guide behavior and decision-making? How about your brand’s tone? How does your brand communicate its personality? 

Answering these questions is a great first step in building an identity for your brand. See how one Minnesota-based pizza brand tackles brand identity in this blog post, and read on for a hypothetical application of the concept. 

For example, a smoothie shop might state its reason for being as an alternative to fast or packaged food—a source for quick, tasty, and healthy food. Its values could focus on health, wellness, and community involvement. 

The tone might be friendly, energetic, and sincere, reflecting the brand’s commitment to making the people it serves healthier and happier. Marketing materials could feature earth tones and green colors, with a playful font, creating a visual for the brand that aligns with health, wellness, and natural ingredients.  

Local marketing strategies in each location can vary if the core brand guidelines remain constant. Adapt to local preferences or cultural nuances without diluting your brand. For instance, the smoothie shop might use local, seasonal ingredients, so the menu might change, but the rest of the branding will stay the same. 

Instill Operational Consistency

A structured approach to educating employees about brand standards, updates, and where local adaptations are acceptable ensures that each location doesn’t start to look like its own business. This kind of operational consistency is achieved through ongoing training, support, and technology.

The first step is to explain your brand identity in a way that resonates with franchise or location managers.

A digital library of resources, including training videos, visuals and color codes, and other brand guidelines documents, will help team members understand how to deliver a consistent brand experience to customers. Don’t just make the library available. Set aside time for each employee to spend time training. 

Operational processes embodying the brand's values should be established across every department. For instance, the smoothie shop might have recycling protocols, waste reduction strategies, and quotas for the percentage of ingredients that are locally sourced. 

Collect Feedback and Monitor Consistency

A robust framework for feedback, coupled with diligent monitoring, is essential for multiple location and franchise brand consistency. Checking in regularly with meetings and surveys encourages an environment of open dialogue and constructive feedback that enables a brand to not only stay on track but improve. 

Feedback sessions where franchisees or location managers can share insights and challenges unique to their locations. This is important for identifying common issues and promoting a sense of belonging to one brand, despite the varying locations.

When managers understand that their input can lead to tangible improvements, they're more likely to embrace and actively promote the brand's standards instead of trying to do their own thing. 

This feedback loop is good for business too. It can unveil innovative local marketing strategies that adhere to the brand's guidelines while catering to what works or doesn’t in different locations. Insights that apply to all locations can help you build a better brand across the board, leaning into what works for all or most locations and abandoning practices that don’t seem to be doing well in any locations. 

While feedback is essential, don’t let it stand in place of checking to ensure that locations are adhering to brand standards. Brand audits and monitoring quality standards ensure each location reflects the brand's vision. 

Regular brand audits should cover visuals, customer service practices, and operational procedures. Mystery shoppers are a great way to get the customer perspective on whether a location is sticking with brand standards, while surprise drop-ins are ideal for checking behind-the-scenes operations. 

A feedback-rich environment combined with rigorous quality monitoring ensures consistency and nurtures a culture of continuous improvement across all locations. 

Establish Strong Leadership and Accountability

Without solid leadership, brand consistency falls apart. When owners actively promote and participate in upholding brand standards, it sends a powerful message to the entire brand network. This leadership by example is crucial in developing a shared sense of purpose and direction.

Franchise or location managers are chiefly responsible for establishing and maintaining a uniform brand presence across multiple locations. However, managers and owners have a lot of responsibilities that take time away from maintaining unified branding. Therefore, assigning a designated leader of brand strategy is a good idea for a growing brand.

For instance, the smoothie shop might appoint a brand leader who travels across locations to oversee adherence to brand standards. The leader would work closely with management, marketing, and client services to ensure promotional materials, customer experiences, and every detail down to staff uniforms reflect the brand consistently.

Brand leaders are tasked with navigating the fine balance between adhering to brand standards and adapting to local market nuances. It’s not just about compliance; they are charged with inspiring and educating teams to find ways to maintain brand consistency while finding new and innovative paths to business expansion in their locations and across the company. 

Through structured training and feedback, brand leaders ensure that everyone within the company understands their role in maintaining brand consistency.

By establishing strong leadership and accountability, your business can fortify brand consistency across multiple locations, ensuring it is a living, breathing aspect of the company culture, which continues to evolve and adapt as your company grows. 

Build and Maintain Brand Consistency Better

The more consistent your operations, the easier it will be for you to establish a robust corporate identity across locations. You’ll want to look for technology that supports streamlined enterprise management as a digital extension of your brand consistency efforts. One area to focus on is a point of sale platform with enterprise management system (EMS) capabilities. 

Essentially, EMS allows your business to centralize operations across your franchise or business group from one web-based interface. Collect and analyze data from across locations to refine your brand strategy and gain insights into customer preferences, purchase behaviors, and performance trends across different regions. 

Armed with this information, you can make informed decisions to tailor marketing efforts, product offerings, and location-specific promotions that resonate with the local audience while staying true to your brand's core identity.