Online platforms boost franchise brands: survey

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

Franchises that are embracing online communications with franchisees are reaping the benefits according to a recent survey.

In a study of more than 1000 Australian franchisees, the top three companies in 10 Thousand Feet’s latest Topfranchise Awards, Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers, Kwik Kopy and Car Care have all excelled in the area of franchisee communication with a new focus on online communication platforms including Yammer and other online sales and marketing portals.

The online focus has also extended to franchise companies shifting their local area marketing budgets to search engine optimisation.

Ian Krawitz, [pictured left] head of intelligence at 10 Thousand Feet, said the new findings revealed that while face to face communications are still critical it in a franchise network, it is online collaboration tools that enable franchisors to take the quality of their communications to the next level.

“The benefits of transformative technologies allowing digital communication can’t be underestimated for anyone that relies on going to market through a distribution channel. We have seen a direct correlation between franchisors embracing online communication platforms and stronger satisfaction levels among franchisees.

"Sitting down one on one with a franchisee is vital, but what online platforms are doing is enabling the most experienced people in the business to share the most up to date advice with franchisees that they wouldn’t ordinarily get to meet with,” Krawitz said.  

One of the biggest jumps up in the top 10 list comes from print and design firm Kwik Kopy with 104 franchised locations. The company has moved up from number 10 in the rankings to number two off the back of a new internal communications strategy including sales and marketing portals with online dashboards to share best practice tips and document case studies of success among Kwik Kopy’s franchisees.

Kwik Kopy CEO David Bell [pictured left] said the key has been in execution, “It's all very well having a strategy, however, unless it is executed properly it will not work. We have had the right resourcing and internal team to drive these changes over the last couple of years, and their commitment is paying dividends.”

For the top ranked franchisor, Smartline, using the social media platform Yammer is generating 1200 posts a month, with 90 percent of the network's 250 franchisees sharing knowledge among their peers. This cross pollination of information extends to the use of webinars, with different state managers sharing their knowledge across the country rather than just with franchisees in their state.

While online platforms are being harnessed for internal communications, franchisees are also going digital with their local area marketing budgets.

Embracing digital communications isn’t just achievable for heavily resourced franchise organisations. Car Care Australia, with 90 van operators, came in at number three in the rankings, thanks to its online communications strategy.

The managing director of Car Care Australia, Mike Stringer, said the changing media environment had spurred the company to become more active online and to get more strategic in communicating about it with franchisees.

“In the past we could just put the largest advert we could afford in their local yellow pages. Search Engine Optimisation, use of Google Adwords and making the most of a web presence are a fair bit more complex than putting an ad in the Yellow Pages and far less visual. Getting face to face time with our franchise owners has allowed us to better communicate what the new mediums are all about and get buy in to their use.”