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The differentiator CEOs can no longer ignore
Picture of a lightbulb being held out.

The varied priorities on the plates of franchise CEOs leave little wiggle room, to be sure. In today’s hyper-competitive landscape with an uncertain economy and diminishing wallet share, it’s impossible to keep track of everything that’s impacting your owners' success – try as you might. In fact, there is likely one critical priority that has yet to be added to your short-list. And it goes back to the fundamentals.

It’s easy at times to take the foundational elements of successful franchising for granted. In this piece, we’ll identify which fundamentals require your vigilance right now; dig deep into where you should be prioritizing your time and energy; and share actionable advice to help you mobilize the right teams and efforts, at both the franchisor and franchisee levels, to leverage fundamentals as a core differentiator.

What Leaves Franchise Success “Wobbly”?

Imagine that franchise success is a stool. Operations and franchise development are the first and second “legs” to that stool. Most franchises prioritize these fundamentals, but there are only two. That means the stool could probably stand, but it’s incredibly wobbly. If something unexpected comes along, that stool is going to fall. Or if a competitor arrives with three solid legs, they are going to stand firmly and, ultimately, be more successful.

Before we dig into that third leg, let’s quickly examine the first two legs or


The first leg is operations. Your locations need best-of-class operations to create exceptional products and consistently deliver industry-leading service. Getting your operations up to par takes a tremendous amount of time for you, your owners, and their always revolving staff. Of course, smooth, effective, and efficient operations ensure that you can deliver consistently exceptional experiences to your customers. Operations are critical and warrant extensive prioritization. But the time and level of prioritization it takes to hone operations and maintain them with new staff — especially for growing brands — leaves you little opportunity to optimize your marketing and get as many customers through the door as possible.

Franchise development

The second leg is franchise development. Without franchise development you of course don’t have the (literal) foundation of your franchise. Franchise development helps you land the best possible real estate and allows you to continuously implement those best-of-class operations mentioned above. Ultimately, you need to find ways to drive up your top line so your franchisees see more profitability and are encouraged to mobilize profits for growing and opening more locations. On top of that, overall franchise success down the line will mean that your franchise’s prospects need to be exceptionally qualified financially as the economy pressures lenders toward more conservative underwriting standards.

To improve franchise development, boost your financial flexibility, and solidify your overall franchise’s foundation, though, you need to consistently get more customers through the door and nurture first-time customers so that they become repeat customers.

To give your franchise a leg up, you need to prioritize the third fundamental circling this discussion: awareness.

The Role of Awareness in Successful Franchise Growth Strategies

As today’s markets grow hyper-distracted and increasingly fractured, ongoing brand awareness is essential to stay top of mind and drive consistent new and repeat foot traffic. By investing in awareness at the executive level, you set your owners and overall business up for increased, ongoing future revenue and, on top of that, help weather future (or current) turbulence in the marketplace or broader economy.

Significant limitations stand in the way of franchises — especially newer, smaller ones — hoping to build and continuously nurture brand awareness. Certainly, this is not a task for CEOs to arduously try to solve with so many competing priorities. Moreover, your franchisees are overwhelmed with implementing operations while simultaneously worrying about how to get feet in the door.

Your national marketing team is building general brand awareness and affinity, but while that may trigger some name recognition, it’s not often enough to build top of mind awareness and drive ongoing action. Awareness strategies must be deployed at the local level to augment national efforts and fill in the missing piece of the marketing puzzle.

Secondly, the cost of generating awareness is steep — which is especially difficult for newer or smaller franchises. It’s a particularly uphill climb for franchises whose products, services, and overall brand are completely unknown to new markets. And franchises with only a few locations and owners simply cannot afford the high fees it takes to get their messaging out on traditional advertising channels like radio and television.

The Awareness Formula for CEOs

It’s critical for CEOs to prioritize community and local store marketing to positively impact the awareness fundamental. Community and local store marketing (LSM) are at the heart of franchise awareness. They’re the accelerants poured on the fire that your national marketing and brand awareness campaigns have started. For most franchises, LSM is an afterthought rather than a priority, and many owners are left adrift when it comes to designing and deploying their own LSM strategies.

This is an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from the competition. To empower more successful owners. And to build your brand (while making owners more successful, enabling owners to open more locations, and attracting new owners).

What does taking action on this entail? Franchisors need to gather the right data to help owners make informed, strategic decisions when it comes to generating awareness and deploying short- and long-term local store marketing initiatives.

To understand what areas you should prioritize first, start by answering these questions:

Usually, the highest performing locations are executing LSM — is there a dispersal of AUV among locations due to differences in LSM mobilization? What happened to your locations after the grand opening? What are the tools in place to support always-on LSM? Are you providing franchisees with the resources, training, and numbers they need to improve? Does the franchise culture you’ve established support and emphasize local awareness? How much would it cost your franchise for each location to have dedicated LSM personnel, or to have one resource per 10 locations, say?

Once you’ve assembled these insights, you need to identify the points of
opportunity to build up your awareness infrastructure, the means needed to make an impact with LSM (budget, resources, and activity), and how to bring your LSM to life at scale.

We dig more into LSM strategies and how to implement them to drive business results in our whitepaper.

Take Action on the Awareness Formula

Mobilizing all of this requires a bird’s eye view of the impact LSM has on your franchise system. In my 28 years of field marketing experience, there has never been a platform that offers the attribution needed to track local marketing activity across time, marketing channel and location.

Until now.

LOMA’s platform offers real-time attribution and tracks overall spending on local marketing tactics, provides sales and transaction trends, and creates key executive summary reports.

We’d love to walk you through our platform to show you exactly how LOMA can help your franchise better deploy LSM spend while generating stronger community awareness and better results for your owners. Schedule a demo with our team to learn more today.

For further information, reach out to, or view the rest of our website.

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