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The Multiplier Model

Crafting a Franchise Brand Story — The Secret Ingredient That Will Set You Apart From Competitors It's not just about being different, but about owning that difference. A brand's story isn't just a narrative; it's the emotional and logical connection established with customers.

By Entrepreneur Staff

Key Takeaways

  • Every entrepreneur must reflect on brand value and what makes their brand unique.
  • A brand's story isn’t just a narrative; it's the emotional and logical connection established with customers.
  • A good slogan taps into emotions, making it more than just words.

This is part 2 / 9 of The Multiplier Model: Section 3: Branding, Marketing, and Reputation Management series.

The following excerpt is from franchise expert Mark Siebert's book The Multiplier Model. Buy it now.

Take a moment to think about this question: What is it about your brand that would make a customer want to do business with you instead of your competitors?

A big part of success is that the customer picks you because of your story.

If you're looking to duplicate your business, you need to have a compelling story to tell, you need to tell it in a memorable way and you must embrace it as the crux of your success. Here's how to get started.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now and take this quiz to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

Let your slogan tell your story

One way successful brands tell their story is through their brand slogan. Let's look at one of our nation's most iconic brands—Dunkin' Donuts—which has recently been rebranded to Dunkin'.

The "America Runs on Dunkin''" slogan, adopted in 2006, speaks to fast-moving consumers. The story this conjures up is a mixture of the following:

  • Compelling: We're here for busy people.
  • Logical: You need coffee and fuel—and we'll get it to you quickly.
  • Emotional: We're Americans, and we're in this together.

Note that the slogan does not even mention coffee or doughnuts, and I suspect that's because it would change the underlying brand story too much. As Dunkin' has evolved into a beverage-first, on-the-go brand, their core story is the same—fast, accessible and resonably priced bakery items and beverages for busy people.

In their own words, it's "part of our guests' everyday routine." Their story and how they communicate it is why they are consistently a leader in the quick service restaurant space.

Your slogan should be emotionally moving

While this is not a how-to article about writing your company slogan or tagline, consider the emotions of some of the best-known slogans. The Walmart story has consistently revolved around selling more for less —and its slogans have reflected this, from "Always Low Prices, Always" to the current "Save Money. Live Better."

Consider some of the examples below and what theytell you about the brand's unique story, its emotional appeal to customers and its implied call to action:

  • Papa John's: "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza" invokes a feeling of a high-quality eating experience.
  • Planet Fitness: "Judgement Free Zone" relieves the anxiety of working out in a gym, especially if you are new to a fitness journey.
  • Jimmy John's: "Freaky Fast" assures its consumers of rapid service.
  • Southwest Airlines: "You're Now Free to Move About the Country" and, more recently, "Low Fares, Nothing to Hide" gives its customers a sense of trust when traveling.
  • Big Blue Swim School: "Life's Big Moments Start Here" invokes happiness and pride when learning how to swim and taking that with you for the rest of your life.

Related: How to Finance Your Franchise

Position your franchise as the best option

The goal when telling your story is to convey that consumers should choose you because in some way you are the best option. Taco Bell has succeeded at that with its "Think Outside the Bun" campaign.

I expect many of you have never heard of McDonald's early competitors: Burger Chef, Dee's Drive-In, Sandy's, Red Barn and Druther's (which began its life as Burger Queen). How about Geri's Hamburgers or Wetson's?

But I'll bet you all know about Burger King and Wendy's. Why is it that Burger King and Wendy's have thrived while the others didn't?

One reason is that Burger King positioned itself with the "Have It Your Way" burger. When introduced in the early 1970s, this message was compelling ("Fast-food ordering doesn't have to be so strict."), logical ("Why would I buy something that wasn't exactly what I wanted?") and emotional ("You deserve this.").

Instead of following a copycat strategy (which almost never works in business expansion), Burger King's message told consumers they had a choice. As a practical matter, McDonald's could not compete with this at the time because it would have required a reworking of its kitchen operations.

Wendy's, meanwhile, survived by appealing to an older audience through its Clara Peller ads, which told its story through the voice of an octogenarian with an emphasis on good old-fashioned hamburgers.

Related: Find Out Which Brands Have Ranked on the Franchise 500 for Longest, Earning a Spot In our New 'Hall of Fame'

Whatever route you take, own it

Using your slogan is a quick and straightforward option to market your franchise and tell your story about why you are the right choice in a world of competition. As seen with the plethora of success stories of other franchises, it's perfectly attainable to be concise in your words while leaving a prospective consumer empowered, relieved, thankful, trustful, eager or any other emotional verb.

If your marketing strategy is strong, consumers will automatically think of you whenever they conjure up that specific feeling—and hopefully, sign up, purchase or eat with your franchise.

Get started with The Multiplier Model

Going from small business to successful startup to scalable growth takes more than good luck. It takes a system. Over the last 34 years, franchising consultant and growth expert Mark Siebert has been sought out by more than 70,000 executives looking to expand their companies. Out of those 70,000, only 5,000 had the right systems in place to go from successful to scalable. In The Multiplier Model, Siebert discusses the factors that determine if an entrepreneur is ready to scale their venture — and the best ways to get started. Read more.

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