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50 Franchise CMOs Who Are Changing the Game

Get to know the industry's most influential marketing power players.

By

The American Marketing Association defines the role of chief marketing officer (CMO) as that of the highest-level marketing position within a company. It's a position that comes with a lot of responsibility, not the least of which includes the very direction and strategy of the brand's comprehensive marketing platform. The job title for those who oversee all marketing efforts goes by many names, including SVP or VP of marketing, chief growth officer, chief brand officer, chief experience officer, chief growth officer, or even chief strategy officer. Whatever the name, filling this role is a tough job in any industry, but franchising's internal and external-facing components make these responsibilities vitally important to the success of the brand, as well as its franchisees.

Chief marketers in the franchising industry need a thorough understanding of their B2B target market (the recruitment of new franchisees), as well as their B2C target market (their product or service target market). It's a careful balancing act in which they must cover the bases among the traditional marketing channels, yet still function as an innovative "change agent." For these marketing pros, that's the price to pay to remain relevant in franchising's hyper-competitive business environment.

In celebration of top marketing officers who meet (and exceed) this challenge every day, Entrepreneur is proud to share a select list of the most influential men and women in the franchising industry who are representative of this all-important role. Aside from the contributions they provide on behalf of their respective organizations, it's important to discover how each of these individuals approaches the challenge of being an effective marketing lead. As you'll note, their hard work, innovative thinking and creative pursuits are advancing the franchising industry as a whole. And that kind of accomplishment simply deserves to be celebrated.

The preceding slideshow features some of franchising's "Best of the Best" marketing officers, as nominated by their peers in the industry. Click through to discover what makes each one of these game-changers special and worthy of our respect and admiration.

Abby Fogel

Company Name: Unleashed Brands

Title: VP of Marketing & Brand Relations

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abby-gruber/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year. 

“I don’t think it’s one big thing, but a lot of little things added together. I took on a new role as VP of marketing and brand relations at Unleashed Brands in December 2021. Over the past nine months, I’ve been working to drive franchise development marketing efforts from a strategy and execution standpoint and hit our signing goals. This was a newly created position where I’ve been able to build a small team and create new processes to support our recruiters and showcase our category-leading brands to future franchisees. At the same time, I’ve been working to build overall awareness of Unleashed Brands as the No. 1 youth enrichment franchise platform. We have been laser-focused on educating the market on our platform, services and culture.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“The jobs of marketers within a franchise system are wide-reaching. Everything from consumer marketing, franchise development marketing, analytics, brand compliance, internal communication and more. Franchise marketers have to be able to create an easy-to-execute strategy for franchisees to grow their businesses with the tools and resources at their fingertips. From a franchise development marketing standpoint, marketers have to not only educate potential buyers on the opportunity but also on the franchise industry as a whole.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Abby represents multi-brand marketing at its best! While she handles FranDev for Unleashed Brands and their portfolio, she thinks differently about how to approach cross-selling on both the consumer and FranDev sides of things. She’s also one of the Franchise 500's Top Influential Women in Franchising and on the IFA’s Women Franchising Committee. She is reinventing the traditional FranDev marketing motions, and other marketers should definitely take some pages out of her playbook!”

Related: Why the CMO - Not CEO - Should Create the Company Mission

Alex Pericchi

Company Name: PuroClean

Title: VP of Marketing & Online Learning

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexpericchi/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Communication has always been very important to the PuroClean network, and at times, we provide more information than the network can consume. It became a topic of conversation during our Network Leadership Council (NLC) and our executive team meeting. Understanding the value of all the communications we continually send, and that different locations and users benefit differently from them, we decided to develop a communication tool to provide a simple way to provide content based on needs. With that in mind, we met with our team and one of our marketing partners, and following many hours of drafting, planning and capturing the essence of what we wanted to deliver, we produced the PuroClean App to be used by our franchise network. The essence of this tool is its ability to deliver only the messages that the user wants, and to provide quick access to them, as well as a link tree with commonly used resources and a directory of franchise owners as well as home office team members.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“In my opinion, these are the top five challenges: 1) Setting and maintaining standards that benefit the whole network. 2) Creating a culture that begins with the home office and that has buy-in by franchise owners, a culture that they are willing to adopt and share. 3) Communicating. 4) Finding solutions to problems in a way that benefits the whole network and not just a few can be challenging, and, more often than not, to find the best solution, you must dig deep and involve multiple company departments and franchise owners. 5) Growing. Growth as a challenge is quite unique to franchising; simple tasks that are manageable at a certain size can become a challenge as the network size increases. When planning your marketing, think of the network’s needs at the moment, but also think about how this solution scales when you become two or three times the current size, as it may lead you on a different path.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Alex is one of our greatest assets. He is always thinking of ways to inspire change and create new initiatives that drive our brand forward. Not only does he push the creative boundaries, but he leads by example and jumps in to work alongside his team. He never asks anyone to do anything he wouldn't do and teaches by leading. He is truly a cornerstone of our brand, and we know we would not have found the success we have had without him as our marketing visionary. I cannot think of another individual more deserving of this esteemed recognition.”

Amy Phillips

Company Name: Altitude Trampoline Park

Title: President and CMO

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-phillips-21050930/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“In my role as CMO this year, I’ve launched major brand-wide initiatives such as our partnership with the American Heart Association — including events, fundraisers, and the first-ever National Jumpathon. We also created a call center to streamline event and park bookings. Additionally, I’m proud to have led the charge on rolling out our innovative Endless Jumps membership program, which drove double-digit sales increases at several participating locations over the past year.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Today’s media landscape is incredibly complex and changing every day. Franchisees rely on us as marketers to know the ins and outs of new strategies and platforms, because there is so much more than there used to be. It can become very overwhelming for franchisees to manage all aspects of local store marketing on their own. They rely on us to make those hard decisions for them when it comes to deciding which channels they should be utilizing to reach consumers, as well as the value of utilizing one medium over another.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Phillips joined Altitude Trampoline Park in 2020 and quickly rose through the ranks to chief marketing officer. She sprang into action with major brand-wide initiatives such as Altitude Trampoline Park’s widely successful membership program. Her work also has resulted in overarching, company-changing initiatives. Her marketing and brand activation prowess has only grown over the course of her career as she continuously creates and delivers high-flying results through a wide variety of campaigns, including one that earned her national recognition as the American Marketing Association’s Marketer of the Year in 2012.”

Andriana Gavrilovic

Company Name: Radiance Holdings

Title: SVP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andriana-gavrilovic-1ab9746/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“I am big believer in driving growth through data-driven decision-making. We are so fortunate to be marketers at a time when we can access robust data platforms and really meet our customers where they are. Over the past several months, I've been focused exclusively on implementing a powerful automation tool that can manage campaign performance in real-time. In doing so we've grown our audience reach exponentially through partnerships with The Trade Desk, programmatic audio like Spotify, Amazing Advertising and more.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“I think the biggest challenge is age-old — hyper-localizing a national brand is extremely difficult to do in an authentic way. I think that continuing to build on a solid brand purpose while implementing strong, strategic creative and targeting strategies will allow brands to set themselves apart.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“During her time at Radiance Holdings as the SVP of marketing, Andriana has played a vital role in the acquisition and growth of two rapidly accelerating brands: Woodhouse, the high-end luxury day spa franchise, and Sola Salons, the world's largest and fastest-growing salon studios franchise. She integrates growth and innovation through customer insight with an analytical and strategic approach. She has successfully led global marketing initiatives at iconic organizations such as Hearst, Conde Nast, NET-A-PORTER and Farfetch. She is a creative and strategic leader with extensive experience planning and executing multi-channel campaigns for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. She has strong business acumen, with the ability to balance commercial objectives whilst maintaining brand integrity.”

Angela Paules

Company Name: Buzz Franchise Brands

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelazerdapaules/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“As the CMO for a multi-brand franchisor, I work across several brands, but the most impactful thing I have done this year was to create the strategy to identify the next brand for Buzz Franchise Brands. This included preparing website messaging and offline collateral to solicit acquisition opportunities and launching a campaign targeting emerging franchise owners. The initiative drove calls with over 40 potential brands and ultimately led to the creation and upcoming launch of our next brand, a premium holiday lighting brand called Grand Illuminations.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“A key benefit to franchising is that new business owners are becoming part of an established brand. Franchise marketers must protect the value and integrity of that brand by ensuring there is cohesiveness between the brand's national marketing (led by the franchisor) and local/franchisee marketing happening across the country (or countries). The best way to do this is to educate franchisees on their role in protecting the brand from day one and empower them with local marketing resources and strategies throughout the life of their business.”

What others had to say about this Franchise CMO Game Changer:

“With over 15 years of marketing and advertising experience, Angela’s skills cover the full range of corporate communication aspects including advertising, traditional media, website management, online and social media marketing, content marketing, brand management and marketing strategy.”

Angie Eckelkamp

Company Name: Nothing Bundt Cakes

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angie-eckelkamp-5001017/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“In addition to executing our first menu change in four years, helping launch our new website and our upcoming OREO® partnership, we celebrated our brand’s 25th birthday in a BIG way with the largest brand activation in our history. On September 1, the first 250 guests at every one of our 448 bakeries throughout the U.S. and Canada received free confetti bundtlets. We ended up giving away more than 110,000 cakes in all! In addition, we held an online contest where we will be selecting someone to win a $25,000 birthday bash planned by celebrity party planning company Randi Events. This in-store and online activation garnered more than 800 media mentions and drove lines out of our locations everywhere.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“In franchising and especially with a brand like ours, we have franchise owners that put everything, sometimes their life savings, into their business. Many are often looking to pass their bakeries down to their children. They’re trusting us to make great decisions for them and their family and, as a result, having that trust is key. As marketers, we have ideas on how to put their marketing dollars to work. But for our marketing to be successful (promotions, for example), we need buy-in from our franchisees, which involves a lot of education and communication — especially in explaining the “whys.” That, in turn, builds trust and helps the execution of the marketing. Because when they’re behind it, it gets done and works.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Angie Eckelkamp joined Nothing Bundt Cakes in 2016, back when the specialty retail bakery chain had fewer than 200 locations and a lean marketing team of four. Since then, she has helped solidify the brand’s position as a “bringer of joy” in special and everyday moments, all while growing the marketing team and supporting the brand’s overall growth as it closes in on its 500-location milestone.”

Ashley Mitchell

Company Name: Streamline Brands

Title: SVP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleymmitchell/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“There is so much innovation happening in the industry and so many things I want to tackle. As a marketer, I know that oftentimes, growth and inspiration must stem from going back to the basics. One initiative our team tackled this year was doing a complete overhaul of our creative vision. We knew that we needed to create imagery that showcased the true authenticity of our brands, and the emotion that our students, their parents and our instructors feel while they are in our schools. We transformed our creative execution by updating all of our materials to feature real students, parents and instructors in our local swim schools. To help convey the emotion, we incorporated messaging and creative treatments that work cohesively to inspire our potential customers to see what swim lessons can bring to their lives — both in and out of the pool. In doing this, we have become more relatable to families and parents — and have been able to change the way we capture and inspire our target customers.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“One of the biggest challenges that franchise marketers face is how to keep the balance between protecting the brand and allowing for local customization to maintain the neighborhood feel of each small business. The brand is SO important, but so is the local piece — they have to work in tandem. Finding that sweet spot of being able to maintain brand integrity at all levels, while also ensuring that the needs of the local business are met, is always a challenge. Luckily, it’s a fun one and one that is so rewarding when you see it come to fruition by working with franchisees to simultaneously achieve success for their businesses and the brand as a whole.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Leading the marketing function at Streamline, Ashley is responsible for marketing all aspects of the business — consumer marketing for franchises and company-owned schools, franchise development and M&A — for all brands in the Streamline portfolio. With multiple brands as part of the platform company, Ashley looks at everything at the industry level first, then works to figure out how that translates to a brand level and, ultimately, the neighborhood level. A natural extrovert and connector, relationships drive almost everything she does — building team culture, working with franchisees and vendor partners and creating brand campaigns that build relationships with consumers.”

B. Quick Chadwick

Company Name: Clean Juice

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bquickc

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“There are many things I’m proud of this year, but one is National Smoothie Week. Many other brands follow the same old “holiday calendar” for a social media drip, but we took a common holiday (National Smoothie Day) and made it a week-long celebration called, naturally, National Smoothie Week. The reasons were simple: to get our hardworking, grinding young Juiceristas involved and engaged — to inspire them to submit their favorite smoothie recipes — their favorite concoctions! Well, we expected a handful, but got over 100 responses! We had so many great recipes that we ended up choosing five, not one as originally planned. It was exciting because the results were clear — Juiceristas were engaged, and it drove guest traffic (reversing a trend to the positive). But most importantly, we took our youngest and most crucial employees and made them truly feel like a part of the process.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Today, marketing has to be quick. For a guy named “Quick” (seriously, it’s my name), a company of a certain size is hard to be quick in terms of shifting strategy and focus. But don’t lose your quick! Always move quickly despite the doubts, your size and minor negative feedback. With franchising, there are many people involved but perhaps the most unique is, as a franchisor, the focus is on your customers and your guests — two completely different groups. Many non-franchise jobs focus on the end user, but is that your customer? In franchising, your customers are your business owners and your franchise partners, while the guest is your end user. Marketers in franchising can’t just think about one group of people, we must make all decisions while thinking of both the franchise partner and the guest (end user). That in itself is a challenge."

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Quick Chadwick's success as a marketing leader is a testament to his grit, determination, passion and personal ethos. Quick has pushed the brand into the digital marketing era with vigor. Quick facilitated and leads Clean Juice's brand partnership with former athlete and philanthropist Tim Tebow, and he is constantly looking for ways to impact guests' lives with the product Clean Juice serves. He faces every situation given to him with grace, enthusiasm and a positive attitude that’s contagious. He consistently inspires his team, and the whole system, to remain positive and passionate about marketing, providing a unique and truly healthy product for communities. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of recognition than Quick Chadwick.”

Bill Black

Company Name: Scooter’s Coffee

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/williamblack

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Currently leading a high-performing team of marketing professionals to create, plan and implement a powerful brand strategy campaign for one of the nation's fastest growing franchises.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Marketers must completely understand the model they represent and the investment of time and treasure made by franchisees to open a business. Many have put everything on the line and count on our expertise to help them be successful.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Bill Black is the heartbeat of Scooter’s Coffee. As the company’s chief marketing officer, he makes a concerted effort to add that extra special touch with every client and customer he serves. To sum up his philosophy, he has shared this statement: ‘We want to make that personal connection each and every time, causing the person to walk away and say, ‘Wow! That was amazing!’ It’s that mindset that helps him live up to the Scooter’s Coffee motto: ‘Amazing People, Amazing Drinks — Amazingly Fast.’ With over three decades of experience in the advertising industry, Black is an industry leader and continues to take Scooter’s Coffee to new heights since joining the brand in 2018.”

Bo Lowery

Company Name: Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc.

Title: VP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bolowery/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“I led the Wild Birds Unlimited brand into the realm of TV advertising for the first time ever at scale. This was accomplished with a Connected TV campaign that won multiple innovation awards at this year's Franchise Customer Experience Conference, including the top prize: Best Marketing Leadership Award. In the field of world-class brands and franchise systems, this recognition was bestowed upon the franchise brand that created the most innovative and successful marketing campaign in the past year. We also took top honors in the categories of Best Digital Marketing Campaign, Best Limited Budget Marketing Campaign and Best Franchisee Support.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“One of the biggest challenges is merging the goals of local franchisees with those of the brand as a whole. For Wild Birds Unlimited, in particular, there is sensitivity regarding the birds, habitat and seasonality from market to market. We must balance a universal brand message while providing franchisees the assets and tools to convey information about local birds and nature happenings.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Leading the marketing efforts for the Wild Birds Unlimited brand for over two decades, Bo has been the driving force behind the creation and implementation of the WBU annual marketing planner, which includes the month-by-month plan, all marketing collateral (print, digital, social, TV-radio, email, SMS) and implementation recommendations. She also leads the team that manages all of the WBU ad fund efforts, including the brand's online presence and strategic partners. In 2022, Bo created and managed the WBU, Inc. marketing efforts that won multiple Franchise Update Innovation Awards, including the Marketing Leadership Award. In addition, Bo is a frequent speaker, sharing her inspirational thoughts and efforts with others on how to help franchise systems innovate and create marketing efforts to serve both the brand and the individual franchisees.”

Casey Terrell

Company Name: Krystal Restaurants

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caseyterrell/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“We’re really leaning on our 2 Chainz partnership. He’s our head of creative, but he’s more of a business partner. He’s a great partner for us to talk to — [he has] an audience we’ve never been able to reach before. He’s got millions and millions of followers on social. He’s got a fantastic reach and voice. For us, it’s been a great partner for maintaining that relevancy — just to be able to reach these audience segments that we haven’t before. We have our core demographic, targets and fans. We want to make sure that we’re always our fans' favorite, but how do we always reach new consumer segments and new audiences? We’ve got Victor Cruz in the northeast — a legendary member of the Giants organization, a Super Bowl hero and our master franchisee for New York and New Jersey. There are other conversations that we’re having with a few other fairly big names that are pending as well. With our guests, the big change is more on the methodology side and how we’re doing media. It’s really more about content. We’re going to update our channels, and make sure that TV and out-of-home are covered.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“The long-term success of your franchise will depend largely on the quality of your franchisees. The challenge is in finding the right people with the right qualifications.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Casey is a West Point graduate who completed a Columbia strategic communications master's and finance/marketing MBA with a career track record of transforming B2C and B2B revenue. He’s a forward-thinking leader with outstanding interpersonal skills, known for cultivating cross-functional collaboration and fostering cultures that welcome best practices and innovation.”

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.

Chris Kobus

Company Name: European Wax Center

Title: Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chriskobus

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Over the course of the year, I’ve really focused on our loyalty program and emphasized how important it is to our customers. Since its launch in 2021, I’ve worked with the team to assess feedback from customers, review data and make updates and changes to improve customer experiences. Our loyalty program offers referral rewards, redemption programs and price discounts to reward our customers for their loyalty to the brand. In the last year, I’ve carefully reviewed customer feedback and worked with our development team to create a loyalty program and app that puts the customer first — and amplifies the confidence of each person that visits EWC.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“As a marketer in the franchising industry, my team and I face the challenge of marketing our unique services and products to a multitude of different areas within the country. Each area of the U.S. has a different makeup, culture, set of core values, etc. My team and I are tasked with identifying those attributes and finding a way to best communicate what makes each European Wax Center special. We take each sector of the nation and conduct research, analyze data and reflect on what values make each sector unique. We then try to align our messaging and communication to speak to these values. Additionally, we frequently survey and speak to customers all over the country for feedback on our products and services, to gauge how we can improve both a franchise and company level. As chief experience officer, I have made it a mission with my team to emphasize the importance of the guest experience; ensuring that all customers walk out our center doors feeling empowered and confident.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Since joining the European Wax Center team three years ago as the chief experience officer (CXO), Chris Kobus has led the team to ensure a guest-focused approach is taken with product and service innovation. Additionally, Chris has worked within European Wax Center to take the first step towards driving change; helping to create a diversity and inclusion advisory council and spearheading the development of thoughtful internal and external initiatives promoting racial equality. Chris has created a great work culture at EWC, ensuring the team works collaboratively and all members feel heard. Despite employees working from home via a hybrid setup, it has been important for him to establish a strong relationship with the team via constant communication that has in turn led to the company's ongoing success. He and his team are now leaders for the company in both culture and initiatives. Chris believes that inspiring confidence begins at the ground level for EWC. For guests to feel unapologetically confident, his team members, employees, and franchisees must also feel unapologetically confident themselves.”

Christina Coy

Company Name: Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken

Title: VP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christina-coy5/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“We created a TikTok challenge called #CrunchOutLoudChallenge that has seven million views, increasing our brand awareness and driving sales. We also just launched our limited-time Crunchy Chicken Bowl, the first new product launch for the brand since opening in 2002. We’ve had LTO sauces, but never a new product. This one was unique in that it relates to what's happening now. Guests are looking for a familiar product (such as bowls, at a low price point) thus $10.95, and we did this without having to bring in any new products. Supply chain continues to be a struggle for most brands, so finding a new product that can check all of those boxes is a win!”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Consistency across locations (marketing materials, menu) and franchise participation are probably the two biggest challenges we face.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Christina Coy joined the Bonchon team in May 2020 in her current role as vice president of marketing, consistently evolving the way the brand interacts with customers and franchisees through digital innovation and in-store marketing campaigns. Coy included platforms like TikTok, Snapchat and influencer marketing to target Bonchon’s core customers. Her emphasis on collaborating across all areas of Bonchon’s development has been instrumental in driving the brand’s rapid growth to over 390 locations worldwide, including more than 115 in the U.S. Part of the growth is a result of developing a fast-casual version of the restaurant model that Coy helped develop with other departments. Additionally, Coy helped with the #CrunchOutLoudChallenge that resulted in more than seven million views on TikTok and launched successful new product campaigns such as the Family Meal XL and Sweet Red Chili. Prior to joining Bonchon, Coy spent eight years building her reputation leading marketing for Pie Five Pizza Co. Her vision, which included the execution of a new brand strategy, ad campaign, restaurant redesign and menu enhancements, aided Pie Five’s franchise growth from its inception all the way to over 100 locations. By streamlining the brand’s approach to openings and technological development, Coy increased new store AUVs by 50% and increased team and agency efficiency. Her focus on technological advancements has also translated to Bonchon, with an emphasis on online ordering — which makes up 50% of the brand’s sales volume. Coy’s forward-thinking marketing strategies have contributed to record sales in the first half of 2022, with Bonchon’s AUV increasing by 24.7% and year-over-year systemwide sales increasing by 12%.”

Christy Barnes

Company Name: Camp Bow Wow

Title: VP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/barneschristy/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“In March, we celebrated our 200th camp opening with one of our most successful integrated campaigns to date. I led the strategy and execution of a multi-faceted campaign that involved a social media giveaway, digital advertising, national and local PR outreach and onsite activations including dog adoptions. The campaign had incredible results — 600% higher than average social media post engagement, 300% more social media accounts reached and over 100 PR placements resulting in 75 million impressions. This is one of the many marketing campaigns over the years that has driven brand awareness for Camp Bow Wow, and I’m proud that it contributed to the brand being the No. 1 recognized dog daycare and boarding provider as measured by unaided brand awareness.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“As franchise marketers, we are tasked with building national brand equity and awareness through corporate marketing and branding strategies, while providing support and resources for our franchise owners to successfully market their business locally. Our 200+ locations have unique needs based on their region, tenure and focus areas, so we provide comprehensive tools, materials and best practices that allow our owners to execute on-brand marketing that meets their individual goals. This individualized support happens simultaneously, promoting and building up the larger brand presence through national marketing. It requires a lot of listening, balancing and strategic decision-making to ensure marketing funds and resources are allocated properly.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“During her nine-year tenure at Camp Bow Wow, Christy Barnes has helped the brand grow to the largest doggy daycare and boarding franchise in North America. Christy not only leads her support center marketing team but supports 200+ franchisee-owned camps across North America, as well as seven company-owned camps. She is focused on driving the brand forward and has helped make Camp Bow Wow a leader in the pet care industry. Her unique role in leading both consumer and franchise development marketing for Camp Bow Wow contributes to the brand’s cohesive and effective overarching marketing strategy.”

Crissy Russo

Company Name: Junk King

Title: SVP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/crissyrusso/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Since the launch of our new online pricing estimator in 2021, this innovative technology, enabling customers to secure a more accurate cost estimate and providing greater transparency, has continued to evolve. More recently, a significant update was made to ensure better pricing accuracy when someone does a multi-item selection. It has improved efficiencies in the call center, as well as helped the more price-cautious customer make a quicker decision online when it comes to booking a job. Aside from the pricing estimator, we also launched our first CTV campaign in May, which has brought a major increase in users visiting the website and conversions. We have seen an uptick in traffic to the Junk King website by 5% year-over-year, an 11% increase from the prior period and a 3.2% increase in conversions.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“When it comes to franchising, local store marketing is one of the biggest challenges that we, as marketers, face. Our job is to make it clear to the franchise system how important things like local-specific SEO, social marketing and local marketing is. This is why we have partners in place to assist us, allowing franchisees to hone in on finding their local customers and strengthening their presence in the community. All of these elements are necessary for the greater good of the brand, which is why an important part of our job continues to be creating buy-in on the franchisee level, ensuring they understand that a single strategy doesn’t fit all. One way to do this is to consistently evaluate the ROI on local marketing by having strong systems in place to truly track whether our efforts are making an impact. This then gives us the ability to get more unified support from franchisees on our efforts.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Over the past three years, Crissy has helped Junk-King go from 92 units to 145 units (probably more by now), grow revenue over $100 million and helped the brand become the fastest-growing junk removal player in the industry. She's accelerated the brand's growth and story, which is built on Junk-King being more than just a franchise brand, but also a software company. ("We’re a software company that picks up junk" in her words). On the consumer marketing side, she's built a sustainable engine for providing leads to her franchisees, while on the FranDev side lands candidates through their product and internal proprietary platform as a differentiator to how they do business. She is a marketing Swiss army knife with experience in the full variety of functions necessary for a small franchise team, including SEO, CTV, product marketing and more.”

Dana Benfield

Company Name: WellBiz Brands, Inc.

Title: CMO, Wellness Division

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danajbenfield/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“We launched a multi-brand gift card that can be sold, not only on our individual brand sites but also in third-party retail locations and on third-party websites. This allows us to drive greater brand awareness in our portfolio of beauty and wellness brands, while simultaneously helping to drive trial and increase traffic for our franchisees across the system. By bringing four brands together on one gift card, we were able to increase our reach and open up opportunities in more markets, all due to higher market penetration across the portfolio versus with just one brand.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“One of the biggest challenges is trying to grow a national brand that is recognized for its consistency, while still allowing franchisees to express their individuality and establish themselves as a "small business owner" within their local communities. Franchisees benefit from the broader national awareness and brand reputation, but at the same time, they want their local communities to know they are a "small business" within a larger network. It’s important to provide them with tools and strategies to use locally, building that sense of community while driving the brand awareness on a national scale.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“You must meet WellBiz Brands, Inc.’s CMO Dana Benfield, who has been a game-changer for the 900+ unit franchise system and manages five brands in the beauty and wellness space. A veteran in franchising prior to WellBiz Brands, Dana has managed rapid growth, including the acquisition of two new brands during Covid, successfully leading and navigating tremendous change in unprecedented times. Dana is gifted at making personal connections, and her inspiring leadership style brings out the best in everyone. Her focus and deliberate approach to challenges help her teams organize around the most efficient path to achieve end goals while evaluating options and charging forward without blinders. Some notable accomplishments (of many that could be listed) include helping the company organize and restructure various elements of a shared services platform and going from three brands to five in less than a year. Dana has been instrumental in the marketing efforts for both consumer and franchise development. She’s also spearheaded initiatives to bring enhanced employment branding to franchise owners of different brands to assist recruiting efforts in an increasingly challenging labor market. Most recently, involving multiple beauty and wellness brands in the WellBiz Brands, Inc. portfolio, she made multi-brand gift cards a reality for the system.”

David Fossas

Company Name: Restore Hyper Wellness

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidfossas/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“We’ve spent the past year focused on developing and launching a refreshed brand that better reflects the energy and vitality of Restore’s consumer experience. Our team spearheaded consumer research to develop Restore’s positioning, messaging, voice, tone and visual and photographic style, all codified in their new brand guidelines and strategy. We then designed an updated retail experience, from new wall paint and educational wall vinyl to entertaining canvas and acrylic hangings that engage clients throughout different touchpoints of Restore’s physical space. Restore locations began rolling out these new studio designs in 2021. More recently, we launched this new branding with a campaign that included an updated website, master brand video, radio and out-of-home ads. We also secured an ambassador partnership with Heisman Trophy-winner and former NFL athlete Tim Tebow and his wife, former Miss Universe Demi Tebow, and the launch of their lifestyle blog, Living Hyper Well. This new brand campaign drove a 16% increase in online conversions quarter-over-quarter and a 113% increase in new site users year-over-year in Q1. By the end of Q2 2022, Restore experienced 84% year-over-year growth in system-wide sales. Upcoming brand campaigns we’re working on include an influencer program, our first podcast, hosted by wellness influencer Eric Hinman, and our first annual Hyper Wellness Report, designed to drive media conversations.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“The biggest challenge is the voice of the franchisee. As a marketer, you want to use your training and skill set to grow the business and fortify the brand. You always have to enroll your stakeholders in the process to ensure that your executive peers and others in the organization are aligned with your approach. But in franchising, you not only have the usual corporate stakeholders, but also the franchisees that you must win over to do what’s best for the company. That can be a challenge. Everyone wants the best for the business, but you may have different opinions on how to get there. It takes extra effort to spend time educating franchisees about marketing and why decisions are being made so everyone can align and work towards the same goals.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“When David Fossas joined Restore Hyper Wellness on March 2, 2020, the world looked very different. Restore was a fledgling startup with 34 wellness studios, $5 million in funding, and an unknown brand. David spent his first three months just helping Restore survive, communicating with local, state and federal governments to ensure that Restore achieved essential business status, so their wellness studios could stay open. They did. June 2020 was a record sales month and Restore hasn’t looked back since. In a time when the CMO role is often siloed to just marketing communications, David has been a true business marketer as well. He not only leads marketing communications but also pricing and packaging, sales and customer service to drive continuity of the Restore experience and deliver on its mission.”

Derek Detenber

Company Name: Batteries Plus

Title: Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derek-detenber-4189164/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that in order to get anywhere in business, you need to start with a solid plan. My key priorities coming into Batteries Plus have been to innovate our omnichannel experience, redefine the way we communicate with our customers and create a better set of internal tools to help us work better as a team. Earlier this year we re-platformed our ecommerce engine. This is the first step on a journey to move from a site that simply sells products to an immersive, user-centric experience. We are also improving the way that we collect, analyze and leverage customer data so that we can elevate our social and marketing efforts to do a better job of connecting with customers. I’m challenging our creative team to take risks and really approach creative from new and radically different angles. Finally, I have begun implementing workflow and process tools to ensure that my entire team — from product to creative to digital to performance marketing — is aligned and in tune with what each member is doing. So far, it’s already yielding positive results. Batteries Plus is forecasted to be up double digits in profitability this year in a very difficult retail environment.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“The biggest danger when dealing with a franchise is that it's easy for the brand identity to become compromised over time. You have so many different individuals in the stakeholder network, that there are a lot of opinions on how to grow and evolve. Franchisees, for example, may think one thing, while a board member may think another. The strategic direction and overall brand identity you’re trying to create and execute can become diluted by too many voices.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“In his current role at Batteries Plus, Detenber leads the brand’s omnichannel marketing team, design, category and merchandising teams. One of Derek's key initiatives at Batteries Plus is helping to propel the brand to the next level. The company is in a very solid place; it’s been around for 30 years and has been consistently successful. With Derek's leadership, Batteries Plus is redefining the brand, contemporizing the assortment, and changing the in-store and online experiences so that it connects with as many people as possible.”

Donna D. Spangler-Josephson

Company Name: Shipley Do-Nuts

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donnajosephson

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“This year we hired the company’s first-ever creative agency to roll out creative that would tell the brand story across all platforms, including the consumer and franchise development websites, point of sale materials and all new technologies. For the first time in company history, all locations are now selling the same coffee, made with a proprietary blend of ethically sourced Central and South American coffee beans that are medium roasted for hot brew, plus two flavors of premium cold brew, Bold Black and Salted Caramel. I’ve worked to launch online ordering, as the company implemented its first-ever POS system! This has already led to double-digit average check increases. We’re also onboarding our franchisees with third-party delivery partners and introducing technology that streamlines the operations processes in their shops. Finally, but most importantly, I’m working to build the first-ever marketing and R&D departments, all while improving franchisee relations. We launched the company’s newsletter, The Shipley Glazette, which is published weekly, and rebranded the intranet (the Do-Net). We also hosted quarterly webinars to connect with franchisees, obtaining their support and buy-in on many new initiatives, and we attended road shows across the brand footprint to meet with our franchisees.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Marketers are charged with building and protecting the brand. Consumers expect a consistent experience from one location to the next of the same brand. In a franchise system it can be difficult to maintain that consistency yet give franchisees the opportunity to be relevant and do hyperlocal marketing. It takes balance and alignment with the franchisees in the organization. In addition, many marketers support franchise development in attracting new franchisees to the brand, therefore we not only have our consumers but also our franchise customers and their needs to consider when building marketing programs.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Donna is the first CMO in the company’s 86-year history. She was brought on board to help modernize, unify and grow the brand in April 2021, just after the Shipley family sold the company to Peak Rock Capital. She hit the ground running with a long to-do list on how to bring the brand into the 21st century. In just 18 months, Donna has been a game changer for Shipley, its franchisees and most importantly, its guests who are at the heart of all that Shipley does. As she often says, she’s helping to prepare the company for its next 85 years.”

Doug DeLor

Company Name: Spherion Staffing & Recruiting

Title: VP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dougdelor/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year!

“We recently completed the celebration of National Staffing Week (Sept 12-16, 2022) by announcing four (4) winners from our eligible employees working through our nationwide franchise network who won $2,500 each as a "thank you" for their dedication. This resulted in great excitement throughout our entire franchise system, with our clients, and with our employees to help enhance our employee retention and build our culture as a great place to work. We celebrated our success by creating a video of our employees receiving the award which can be viewed here on our Instagram account. The "National Staffing Week" celebration is part of a full year-round strategic marketing plan which has helped grow our franchisee's business by double-digits and bring our Google rating to 4.8 out of 5 stars YTD across over 200 franchise locations nationwide.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“The biggest challenge is driving brand consistency and engagement of marketing programs at a highly impactful local market level across all our 200+ locations. We have created tools and implemented technology platforms for our franchisees to easily customize and implement marketing initiatives in their local markets, which has resulted in increased participation and has helped generate our positive growth.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Doug first fell in love with the franchise industry while working for McDonald’s in 1998 as the brand’s Marketing Manager and credits his time there for setting the foundation for his career. He’s quite well-rounded, having worked for several other international brands, gaining experience in the consumer electronic retail and high technology segments. After joining the Spherion team as its Vice President of Marketing in Feb. of 2021, he’s been instrumental in spearheading many successful initiatives such as their flagship promotion, the Spherion Works Sweepstakes. In addition to helping grow market share and average unit revenue, he can easily take credit for the brand’s 4.8 out of 5 star Google rating by Spherion’s employees and customers from over 200 franchise locations nationwide in 2021 and YTD in 2022.”

Douglas Kwong

Company Name: Urban Air Adventure Parks

Title: VP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglaskwong

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“We adopted a yield management strategy as an organization that focuses on driving guests into the parks to maximize our revenue. While many of our competitors have increased prices as a way to make up for lost sales during the pandemic, we’ve been methodical in our approach to price and instead have focused on continuing the rollout of our new brand positioning in our message, which we believe is a key differentiator in the market. As an extension of that, we have various discounting strategies that we’ve rolled out to parks in the past. In order to truly understand the impact of these offers to ensure we’re decreasing cannibalization and maximizing profits, we’ve gained some insights through some key initiatives this past summer. We worked with our franchisees to create opt-in events for two key promotions: one for eCommerce day ticket sales and the other for birthday parties. The results were substantial. These initiatives not only gave us solid returns, but also helped to emphasize our data-driving culture within the organization. So far, it has been a success with YoY growth in sales and birthday bookings.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Marketers who work in franchising have the privilege of serving two sets of customers. When people think of marketing, everyone always assumes that the main recipient of the messaging is always the end-user. While that is certainly the case in franchise systems, working in this environment also allows us to serve our franchisees as well. After all, the full scope of marketing includes the experience that guests have with a product or service after they’ve been educated through marketing to transact with the brand. Without franchisees understanding the ‘why’ behind the messaging, it’s impossible to maximize the impact of your campaign or your positioning. In franchising systems, corporate marketers look to franchisees to provide input, often through advisory groups, as well as to assist in being a sounding-board for their peers to help provide additional context into marketing initiatives. Any marketers who are looking to get into organizations that work with franchisees should be aware that they will have two sets of customers that they’re serving. Doing so will help to maximize efficiency and effectiveness with brand positioning and messaging.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Douglas is a results-driven marketing executive with nearly two decades of experience in digital transformation, increasing brand awareness and driving substantial ecommerce growth. His previous experience includes brand marketing, brand positioning, consumer research and culinary innovation at Rave Restaurant Group. Douglas is an excellent communicator and ensures Urban Air franchisees are made aware of the marketing programs and how to implement them for success. Douglas focuses on excellent support and innovative programs.”

Doug Zarkin

Company Name: EssilorLuxottica

Title: CMO of Pearle Vision brand

LinkedIn Profile: http://linkedin.com/in/dougzarkin

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year!

“Once the iconic brand in the optical, in what is now a highly commoditized category where the leading share of voice brands drive growth through screaming aggressive deals and price promotions, I’ve led the strategic, visual/executional brand transformation and rejuvenation of Pearle Vision from a brand once routed in BOGO, to a brand that’s winning and sits atop the category for Quality of Care perception. Among our honors include being named the Women’s Choice Award winner for Optical Brand for four consecutive years. The impact of my holistic approach, involving an entire visual and marketing overhaul (including but not limited to implementing an online patient acquisition platform that accounts for 1/3 of all exams scheduled), have helped propel Pearle Vision atop Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 500 Franchise Brand list (No. 1 in category and Top 7% of all brands) and solidified its rank among the Top 10 most profitable franchises alongside mega-brands McDonald’s and Dunkin’. This work is currently the subject of a Harvard Business School case study on brand rejuvenation.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Adoption, how to continue our brand transformation through the implementation of new initiatives designed to strengthen the patient experience from the exam room to the retail floor.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Doug joined the brand in 2012 and has transformed the marketing of Pearle Vision. He’s established an award-winning team that has built equity based campaigns based on the heritage of the brand and the motto of ‘nobody cares for eyes more than Pearle.’ His innovation has elevated all facets of the brand’s marketing program, including national, local and grand openings.”

Related: How AI is Forcing Marketers to Reinvent the Industry

Eric Keshin

Company Name: Great Harvest Baking Cafe

Title: President & CMO

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-keshin-7623655/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Our legacy franchise agreements do not have a marketing fee. All advertising is done locally. Before I arrived, very few stores were doing any form of consistent advertising campaigns. We tested different media in a number of markets to understand the return that stores could expect. Once we understood potential return, we launched our Guaranteed to Breakeven Campaigns, where if the results from our campaigns do not pay for themselves, then we (the franchise) pays the difference. Today, we have had over 50 stores on these campaigns using Google Display or local cable TV interconnect campaigns whose results drive as much as 30% improvement on year-over-year comp sales. This is unheard of in the industry, as no other franchise that I have ever been involved with is able to guarantee advertising return on the dollar.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“A key challenge marketers face is being able to prove the return on marketing investment down to the individual store level, as most franchises require a percentage of sales be donated towards a national campaign. All of Great Harvest’s marketing investments are local, and as such we are able to track and now guarantee individual store ROI.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Eric is responsible for implementing all branding and sales growth strategies for the franchise with over 200 stores across the U.S. and internationally. Great Harvest is the only Bakery Cafe making freshly baked, whole grain bread, made onsite daily at all 200 local bakeries, as well as fresh made sandwiches and other fresh baked products. Eric has helped Great Harvest to cultivate a united corporate culture that continues to go back to its core value of authenticity and inspire continuous creative freedom of ideas among its locations. In 2011, he joined HP as CMO WW for the $65B PC and Printing groups, introducing significant new products. He led the launch of the first ever live streamed concert on Twitter, and the first ever 'Launch Line' on Facebook, leading to a Best of Show Award at CES in 2012. Highlighting his career, he started at McCann Erickson and dedicated 30 years to the agency. He became general manager of McCann New York in 1999, leading the agency on an unprecedented new business run — winning Kohl's, Lowe's, Wendy's, Burger King, Xbox, Sprint, Gateway, TGI Fridays, Nikon, Intel, Avis, Applebees, Verizon Wireless and the U.S. Army, culminating in the winning of Agency of the Year in 2000 from Advertising Age. He has won over 20 Effie awards and led significant marketing efforts, including the successful national roll out for retailers Kohl's and Lowe's, Gateway's growth to become the number one consumer PC brand, and the IPO launch of Lucent. He has also helped launch breakthrough campaigns such as 'We Want You Back' for AT&T, 'Improving Home Improvement' for Lowe's, 'Army Strong' for the US Army and 'There's a Map for That' for Verizon.”

Related: 7 Ways for Marketers to Get Out of a Creativity Rut

Heather McLeod

Company Name: Authority Brands

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heatherraemcleod/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year!

“In 2022, the Authority Brands marketing team launched new local marketing programs on two of our new acquisitions, Color World Painting and Woofie's. These programs execute local marketing on behalf of our owners, so they can then focus on other areas of their business. They have also helped us accelerate the brands' growth curves!”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“In franchising, our national budgets are significantly smaller than what a non-franchised company with the same revenue would be, so we have to be more efficient with how we choose to spend our dollars. Finding programs and initiatives that can scale are key to success.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Since becoming CMO of Authority Brands in 2018, Heather has been an integral part of Authority Brand’s successful growth, going from one to 12 brands in five years. She built a marketing team from two to over 50 employees. Under her strategic marketing leadership, Authority Brands does $1.3 billion in systemwide sales, with more than $65 million EBIDTA. She oversees the entire marketing team – 55+ staff in all. She spearheads the creative, consumer marketing, and communications teams, which support nearly 1,000 franchise owners and more than 1,700 units. Heather also successfully leads the brand’s franchise development marketing team, handling marketing and communications for our business units, Successware and BuyMax.”

Hope Bagozzi

Company Name: Tim Hortons Canada

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hope-bagozzi-50427b3

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year!

“We developed a celebrity partnership that was truly unique in its authenticity and ability to drive brand buzz and sales, helping the Tim Hortons brand with a new, younger guest demographic.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“We have our owners as essential partners, as well as our key stakeholders. All that we propose must be embraced by everyone in order to be successful, which can definitely be a challenge.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Hope joined Tim Hortons, one of Canada's largest and most beloved brands, in Jan. 2020. Tim Hortons is an evolving organization, nowhere is that clearer than with how owners interact with their guests, and how the Tim Hortons brand speaks with, and interacts with all Canadians. Hope and her team have focused on Tim Hortons' ties to the thousands of communities they serve, prioritizing and highlighting the quality of ingredients and continuing to innovate with increasingly popular menu items. Her efforts have sparked significant interest with young (and older) generations of guests, with a commitment to digitization and partnering with some interesting friends (Justin Bieber). 2022 has brought confirmation that Hope's stewardship is making waves. Q2 2022 saw Tim Hortons system-wide sales grow 16.3% YoY. Despite continued Covid restrictions in some areas, Tim Hortons Canada was able to drive sales above pre-pandemic levels for the first time since the onset of the global health crisis. Tim Hortons is a team effort but having a CMO with Hope's qualities ties the big with the small, allowing Franchisees to achieve success across the country and all around the world.”

Jackie Woodward

Company Name: Bojangles

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jackiewoodward

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year!

“As Chief Marketing Officer at Bojangles, I’ve been able to drive a comprehensive marketing strategy with the goals of building consumer convenience and sharing a story of hand-crafted food, all while providing great value to our customers. This year, there were a variety of key initiatives in play that create growth, including the celebration of our 45th birthday, which included a campaign surrounding the idea of celebrating and featuring our loyal employees – or as we see it, the heart of our business model. Coinciding with these efforts, we also honored National Biscuit Day by offering various enticing incentives for our guests throughout the month of May. No one does biscuits with such care and attention like Bojangles does. In fact, our recipe includes a whopping 49 steps, made by our certified Master Biscuit Makers, so you know they’re made with love. I was also successful in leading a handful of creative initiatives throughout the year, including ramping up our activation for tailgate season and a campaign with NIL athletes and influencers. For this campaign, we hosted biscuit-making days to highlight our brand’s proprietary unique process to make handmade biscuits. Given the growing customer demand for convenience, we also launched our order ahead and curbside pickup features in our app, which included a huge marketing push to inform our guests of the incentives we offer and to provide a convenience factor that consumers now crave. In executing all of these strategies, we were able to remain relevant and accessible, offering guests the same classic Bojangles food they know and love while rolling out fresh marketing initiatives to keep consumers engaged. We want to leave a lasting impression on the people who eat our food as well as those who make it, and we’re able to do so by continuously expanding upon our successes and elevating our overall dining experience at Bojangles.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“I consider working with our franchisees a privilege, not a challenge. At Bojangles, we have created one of the most compelling business models in the QSR industry with a leading AUV of more than $2.0M. To achieve these goals, we continuously partner with franchisees on all activities, pulling in ideas from various franchised locations and blending them together, thus creating a stronger brand. Whether it involves products, marketing, operations, or anything in between, this sense of collaboration cultivates an inclusive and positive environment that allows for ongoing innovation and growth. I consider working with our franchisees a privilege. They are committed to their communities, their teams, their businesses and the brand.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Jackie is the epitome of an inspiring leader who sets the example she wants others to follow. The passion she puts into her work is evident in the consistent success she earns for the brand. She puts an equal amount of effort into supporting our franchisees, as she does for our consumers – a true balancing act. Everyone should have the chance to learn from someone this professional.”

Jaime Eslinger

Company Name: The Little Gym International

Title: SVP of Marketing & Integration

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamieeslinger/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year!

“Digital innovation through social and design asset management.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Fast and efficient scalability of all programs, down to the local store level, that make the magic of the brand come alive in a way that is easy and efficient for owners and operators to manage.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Jamie joined The Little Gym International in 2022. She has led marketing for a series of franchise brands in the consumer products space, focusing on brand standards, digital advertising, and new product development. Most recently, Jamie was Head of North America at a candle company, where she led ecommerce transformation in the United States and Canada. At The Little Gym, Jamie is helping the brand focus on modernizing the guest experience and rolling out programs to increase revenue for franchisees.”

Janie Page

Company Name: The Human Bean

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janiewpage/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year!

“My mission is to be a respected and inspiring business leader that drives profitability, positivity and proactivity. With that said, I have worked hard with the marketing team to bring positive energy with focus on moving from being reactive to proactive. Over the past year, our team has worked very hard to not only finish out 2022 but create a full plan for 2023. It was not easy, but everyone worked together to shift from just completing requests to anticipating requests and thinking through solutions that would benefit all franchisees not just a specific location. This is a fundamental shift. I have also started the Notorious Menu Innovation Team (Notorious MIT). I like to make work fun and positive from the name of the team to the ideas that generate from the group. This team is actively working on new drink and food creations that will excite our customers and bring in new customers. As you know, innovation takes a lot of planning and testing and I can tell you that our drinks for next year are very fun and creative, but all of that was generated from the work we did this year. My focus on planning and menu innovation was really a game changer for our company, who will be celebrating 25 years next year. What an exciting time for our brand.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“There are many challenges for marketers today that are unique to franchising. With 300+ stores open or in development, managing the requests and needs of each franchisee can be challenging. We’ve implemented some tracking systems and resource libraries to provide timely and creative support. We are also proactively sharing best practices and case studies with our stores. We know local content marketing is an important ingredient for success. Another big challenge is balancing national campaigns and unique localized content. We know that not all franchisees are social savvy and have the time to think about what to post, so we have the responsibility to help make it easy and engaging.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Janie joined The Human Bean just six months ago and has already brought so much energy, innovation, and forward thinking change to our quickly growing organization. She worked quickly to restructure the team and add talent needed to propel the marketing team forward, including bringing in new brand partners and creative agencies to help fill gaps that hiring challenges have brought us. Janie has helped us change our look (which was extremely out of date) and create processes to help us manage our growth and consistency of the brand as we add new franchisees quickly. She has also stepped up to spearhead drink innovation, campaign creation, LTO's, and most recently the rebrand of our website. The list goes on! She has been a complete Game Changer for our family run and founded organization. We could not be more thrilled to have her leading The Human Bean brand!”

Jessica Correa

Company Name: Unleashed Brands

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/jessicajcorrea

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Our team has used the scale of our multiple brands and locations working together in ways that enable growth of each individual brand's awareness and revenue. We do this by creating unique brand stories that resonate both rationally and emotionally with parents. We then use the power of scaled data management, media buying and hyperlocal media placements to get those stories to the consumer efficiently.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“In my opinion, the franchise industry is the hardest place to market. Marketing is not necessarily seen as a trained profession like IT or accounting, so many believe that they are experts. This means that you actually have two customers: the actual consumer, and also the franchisees, an audience you have to convince to do things your way. It is an added step. Also, by nature, franchisees are entrepreneurial. This means that they are more likely to want to see all the ways their market may be different from everyone else's, instead of capitalizing on the similarities that can make marketing more efficient. Finally, in a world where franchisees believe they should be doing their own marketing, they frequently see other franchisees in the brand as their competition and not their teammates. This means that they can create situations where their marketing competes against each other, which is both confusing for the customer and ultimately less effective for the location and the brand as a whole.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Jessica is a big-picture thinker that can get to the heart of an issue quickly and efficiently. This ability helps her gauge the potential effectiveness of her planned initiatives. As a marketer in the franchising industry, she clearly understands the challenge of presenting effective strategies for two audiences, both the brand and the franchisees in the system.”

Related: 7 Ways for Marketers to Get Out of a Creativity Rut

Jennifer LoBianco

Company Name: Best Life Brands

Title: SVP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferlobianco/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year!

“Launched a podcast for one of our brands that is driving engagement and education about various important senior care topics.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Juggling the brand, franchisee, and franchise development trifecta of needs.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Jennifer is an amazing team leader. In her first year with Best Life Brands, she brought in guidance and experience along with technology across their four brands, which has received rave reviews from the franchisees her team supports. Truly bringing Best Life Brands among the top senior care franchises in the country. She does an incredible job!”

Karin Silk

Company Name: Qdoba

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karin-silk-a284a7/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“My team and I have an objective of testing new markets and scaling fast. As part of our strategy in reaching our expansion goal, we launched new ghost kitchens in September. Ghost kitchens, also known as delivery-only restaurants, are commercial kitchens optimized for food delivery service apps such as Uber Eats and Postmates. Through a partnership with REEF Technologies, our ghost kitchen debuted in Austin. It allows an increased number of QDOBA food lovers across the city to conveniently indulge in our tasty menu offerings. Austin is well-known for its lively and flavorful food scene, making it a natural choice for our first ghost kitchen. It opens the doors to consumers who haven’t had access to enjoy our unique spin on Mexican food. The partnership with REEF means bringing our signature flavors, including the well-loved three-cheese queso, salsas, cremas and handmade guacamole, to Austinites. This is our first venture into the virtual restaurant space and one of several exciting brand initiatives for growth this year as we continue aggressive expansion into franchise and license location development.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Marketing strategy synergies — the corporate team needs to create single cohesive, coherent strategies to ensure marketing synergy between the brand and our franchise partners. There needs to be clear and organized communication channels at a franchisee/franchisor level to optimize impacts around consumer perception about how the overall brand is doing. We need to ensure a presence on emerging channels on a national scale that also have an impact on a local scale. The corporate marketing team also must deliver quality brand content at scale with localized content avenues. Another challenge is maintaining an adaptable franchise marketing model. As a preferred franchisor, we need to evolve our tools, resources and systems to build scalable and sustainable marketing solutions for our franchisees, supporting a cohesive omnichannel plan for web/online top-to-bottom. Targeted traffic-generation programs for the brand, while giving opportunities to local-focused lead generation. Fundraising programs for regional and local franchisees to make local community connections. Demonstrating effective leadership is the key. Effective leadership defines a franchise system and is essential for success; both at the franchisor level and at the franchisee level. In franchising, leaders (franchisors) create more leaders (franchisees) who, in turn, create even more employees/managers.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Karin Silk oversees all marketing and digital efforts, including culinary strategy, catering, online ordering and third-party delivery partnerships. She has successfully developed strategic programs for QDOBA since joining in 2018 by being a key leader, continuously taking action when it comes to innovation. Prior to joining QDOBA, Silk served as a senior vice president of marketing for Rubio’s Restaurants Inc and spent seven years with PepsiCo-Quaker Foods, making her an experienced and respected marketer in the food industry.”

Kelly Crompvoets

Company Name: Any Lab Test Now

Title: VP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-martens-crompvoets/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“This was my first year at Any Lab Test Now, and it was spent implementing processes and programs that would improve the customer experience. When I arrived, I wanted to identify gaps and fill them. Whether it was looking at the current tactics and figuring out to have more engagement or adding additional initiatives, I knew I also needed to have better insights into the initiatives. To accomplish this, I hired new team members to cover areas from local store marketing, social media, content management, and digital marketing for better analysis, reporting and local-level support. Getting the right people on the team has allowed us to divide and conquer when we have to be reactive and begin to be more proactive as we look ahead at future opportunities. For instance, we just launched a text marketing tactic that gives owners the ability to have another touchpoint with consumers, but it also gives us the data and insights to know where and what they're engaging with once they click on the text message. Having team members who each play a significant role has given us the ability to strategize, create, test and launch a program that was well-thought-out for our franchise owners. And all of this work was ultimately done to have a strong foundation in place as we prepare to launch our national ad fund in 2023, the ultimate game-changer for a franchise brand.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“I think one of the challenges we face that’s unique to franchising is the ability to implement and execute at a pace that allows us to stay ahead of the competition, but also ensures that franchise owners’ sentiments and understanding are taken into consideration. It's important that they understand how efforts impact them and that they are on board with the initiatives. Within our systems, we have owners who are always willing and want to take advantage of all mediums that are available to market the brand. However not all owners operate with the same mindset or pace, and it can be a difficult balancing act. Another area that I've seen as a challenge for marketers is when a franchise doesn't invest in the foundational technologies or infrastructure needed to support the brand. Because digital marketing is so intertwined and reliant on information technology, it can cause challenges or obstacles that may not be realized until marketers are trying to implement and execute programs.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Kelly has been instrumental in developing new programs for our franchisees, including a texting initiative to get customers to come back to our locations for our special offerings. In addition, she has led the initiative to implement enhanced reporting on our digital efforts, thereby improving customer conversations. She took a fragmented and stressed marketing department and built a culture of work-life balance, all while raising expectations and increasing franchisee engagement. She’s a franchise marketing rock star!”

Kim Freer

Company Name: Wetzel’s Pretzels

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kim-freer-496a555/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Wetzel’s has always been a beloved brand, but I knew there was an opportunity to take the brand to the next level. Case in point was our Rose Parade debut. We leveraged national brand exposure to spur record growth across all metrics, leading to an all-time high interest in franchise sales. By developing a campaign of activities that led up to the actual parade and Rose Bowl game, including food truck events, pretzel giveaways, in-store and social activations and a takeover of the famous Santa Monica Ferris Wheel – the word was out about Wetzel’s and excitement was high. Not only did we garner 589 million PR impressions, worth an ad value of $570k, but we also spiked sales (+21.7%), grew our social media following (+5%) broke previous food truck sales records (new daily and weekly records), drove app downloads (+3%) and generated 850 new franchise leads, all of which has led to new franchise partners and additional stores in the pipeline. The exposure on a national and international scale has helped us to strengthen and grow this brand, making Wetzel’s even more attractive for guests, prospective franchisees, vendor partners and landlords. It's also given the brand momentum, allowing us to continue comping positive sales and traffic over our record-breaking 2021 systemwide sales performance. The future is bright for Wetzel's, and the best is yet to come.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Marketers face a unique challenge as it relates to franchising, simply because there are many individual business owners who want to contribute ideas, input and feedback into promotions and new product innovation. To me though, this challenge is really an opportunity. Having so many franchisees and general managers who intimately understand the product, the business model and our guests, helps us make strategic, impactful decisions, working in partnership with the franchise community in growing the top line.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Since joining Wetzel’s in 2021, Freer has worked to increase the brand’s national exposure, starting with its Rose Parade debut, a celebration viewed by hundreds of millions around the world. Her perspective has put Wetzel’s in the limelight, leveraging brand mentions on popular TV programs such as Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Kimmel Live! to further build upon the brand’s strength and fan affinity. She has helped take the beloved brand to the next level by generating national exposure and strategically expanding its revenue streams with flexible formats, including key partnerships with major retailers such as Macy’s and Walmart.”

Kristen Pechacek

Company Name: MassageLuXe

Title: Chief Growth Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristenbendt/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“As someone who works on both consumer and franchise demand generation, I strive to close the gap between franchise unit growth and franchisee performance initiatives with the belief that happy and successful units sell more units. Far too often in franchising, the franchise development team and the marketing team are activating from two separate playbooks. Aligning teams, strategies and tactics across these two areas of business is crucial to the success and growth of the brand.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Franchisors must walk the line between innovating their marketing strategies while educating and motivating their franchise base. Franchisees didn't get into business to do marketing, but the reality is that franchisors have to rely on franchisees in order to localize marketing to a certain extent. The balance between doing it for the franchisees and having the franchisees execute locally is delicate and difficult.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“An absolute force in the franchising space, Kristen is both a visionary and executor in the most impactful capacity.”

Related: Marketers, Make Things That People Want to See, Watch and Buy. In That Order.

Larisa Walega

Company Name: Ziebart

Title: VP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/larisawalega/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“The team at Ziebart continues to drive the brand forward via a customer-centered mindset. As one of the leaders driving this mindset, I am grateful to represent our customers' voices at the leadership table. I have helped to unpack our understanding of not only where our customer satisfaction scores are falling against industry benchmarks, but also within franchising and the automotive aftermarket vertical. I am excited to work with the team to continue to develop strategic plans that utilize that feedback, plus additional proprietary research to drive increased engagement across each customer group. In franchising, you really end up having minimally three customer groups — your brand’s retail or service customer, your franchisees and your headquarters or franchise support center staff. Each group has different needs, aspirations and future goals. By consistently researching, measuring and planning against each customer’s needs, we are seeing a greater lift in engagement across each audience.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“One of the biggest unique challenges that marketers face in franchising is understanding their brand's health at any given time via an evolving customer journey and balancing the needs of their customers via planning, support, analysis, buy-in (from internal stakeholders and franchise owners) and investment. National branding, local marketing, awareness, consideration, retention and referral — all of these key marketing strategies are important in moving a brand forward. The smart marketers have figured out the key KPIs they need to measure each step of the customer journey to ensure they can maximize time, resources and investment to focus on opportunities for brand growth and lifetime customer value.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Larisa, currently the VP of marketing at Ziebart International Corporation, stands out as an exemplary marketer. Especially as a key performer within the largest franchised automotive aftermarket appearance protection brand. Her contributions are always geared toward bringing back that new car feeling to thousands of customers every day.”

Marci Kleinsasser

Company Name: Home Franchise Concepts

Title: VP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcikleinsasser/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Just three weeks on the team at Home Franchise Concepts, I would like to think I am inspiring our team to look at everything franchise marketing through a new lens — how our opportunity for growth is directly correlated to the wonderful new owners that we bring into our family and who we inspire every day to be better than the day before, so they can inspire their teams to do it better. I am not sure that makes me a game-changer, but if one more person on our team can inspire one more franchisee and help change their life then we’re doing something right!”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“There are many, but the one that comes to mind first is the unique challenge of building a B2B brand and a B2C brand at the same time. It requires you to grow your franchise system with new franchise owners and ensure that they build their businesses locally, using all the marketing tools in the toolkit that you build to meet the unique needs of the customer. Clear as mud, right?”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Marci truly cares about the success of her franchisees. She spends an extraordinary amount of time educating herself on how to attract the right-fit franchisees and how to support them to achieve their growth goals. One of the ways I’ve witnessed Marci's deep franchise marketing expertise is through the virtual roundtables our teams conduct. She prioritizes attendance as much as possible so that she can stay on top of professional development. She is an amazing contributor with her great ideas, insights and expertise.”

Mark Montini

Company Name: Premium Service Brands

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markmontini/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Marketing drives growth, but organizational alignment around purpose, strategy and culture is what drives exponential growth. The amazing Premium Service Brands marketing team added those three critical components to our marketing efforts this year by designing our "Live Extraordinary" premium promise and developing quarterly playbooks to support franchisee activation. The result has been a 4.3x incremental increase in growth rate among franchisees adopting the playbook, as well as a 320% improvement in franchisee satisfaction with marketing support.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“The two most meaningful challenges franchise marketers face are alignment and diversification. Alignment due to the resource-diluting distractions franchisees face from the massive number of 'turnkey' marketing tactics and shiny 'silver bullets' available in the marketplace today. Diversification due to the proliferation of digital marketing and the tangible financial risk it introduces when franchisees fail to balance it with more-profitable local marketing at scale.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“As a supplier partner, I‘ve seen firsthand the impact that Mark has brought to the organization. He has a vision of leveraging technology to build very effective national and local marketing playbooks, and he is executing flawlessly. The franchisees across all brands love him, as I visited with many of them at their annual conventions. Highly recommend.”

Martin Balcaitis

Company Name: Xponential Fitness - StretchLab

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mbalcaitis/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“This was a year of experimentation for StretchLab. I needed to find new and innovative ways to reach our consumers, educate and inspire trial. We partnered with the PGA Tour and exhibited at six key tournament spots across the country, as well as investing heavily in targeted digital ads on their network. This was a large undertaking and a departure from the traditional lead-generating campaigns we’ve run in the past. As marketers, we need to trust our gut instincts and not be afraid to test new ideas and pathways while staying true to the authenticity of our brand promise. I also explored new niche digital spaces we haven't leveraged before in an effort to build brand awareness and drive traffic. Not every endeavor will be a resounding success, but each time you try something new is a learning and branding opportunity.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Marketing for a franchise is all about building trust and respect. We work hard to provide relevant, executable and on-brand marketing activities, materials and support to our franchise network. We have to trust that these are being executed at the consumer level as we measure results from a distance. Consistently listening and learning from feedback and putting that feedback into action is crucial. Letting go of control can be difficult, but by honing my craft and challenging myself and my team to constantly improve, we can ensure success and build trust in the franchise network.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Martin was appointed as CMO for StretchLab in late 2017 when we had three studios open in Los Angeles. At the time, assisted stretching was a very new concept and a lot of consumer awareness for its benefits as a wellness service was needed to grow the brand into what it is today — 200+ studios open across North America and 700 licensed locations. He not only built awareness for assisted stretching at the local and national level, but he also created the marketing strategy, tools, support structure and assets for franchisees to leverage for their franchises. He has worked tirelessly to do this while also working alongside the sales team to ensure alignment to truly position StretchLab as the leader in assisted stretching.”

Mary Mills

Company Name: College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving

Title: Vice President of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-tomlinson-mills-marketer/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Ever-constant shifts in the economy have required innovation for our brand to ensure that we are providing exemplary service to our customers, while adjusting to a changing environment. This year, I focused a lot on improving our customer experience by improving our ability to hire, train & retain outstanding HUNKS to work in our locations across the country. We made significant improvements to our hiring portal, which utilizes an AI Chatbot to make the hiring process simple and easy. We also just hired a full-time Field Talent Officer to ensure that training and retention continue once we hire great A-players. While improving our recruitment process we were able to meet our customers’ needs in a more impactful way and take the stress out of moving day for so many happy customers!”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“The biggest challenge is meeting the unique needs of each of our franchise locations with strategies and systems that are scalable and impactful. We meet those needs by creating national programs with local impact and by providing for as much personalization as possible. With digital marketing, we are able to be so much more precise now, which lets us do a lot of paid search marketing at scale to complement easy to execute local strategies that franchisees can implement in their home towns.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“As a franchise marketing executive, Mary develops comprehensive, impactful marketing programs that drive growth and increase profits. She has developed skills across a variety of franchise industries and has a broad range of specialties. She currently serves on the Marketing & Innovation Committee for the IFA (International Franchise Association) and frequently speaks on marketing topics at a variety of industry conferences.”

Michael Stahl

Company Name: SERVPRO

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelzstahl/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Recently, we began an entire brand refresh — updating the look, feel and providing a new digital experience to modernize the brand. We launched a new website which implemented the use of geolocation technology. This allows us to help our customers faster, when and where they need it. Rather than routing customers through our national customer care center, this updated functionality connects customers directly with their local franchises. This led to significant growth, increasing phone call lead volume by 76% YOY, boosting SEO top 10 keyword ranking by 186% and reducing the time it takes for customers get emergency help. We coupled that with a renewed concentration on growing two service lines — commercial (mitigation and restoration) and construction, to fully illustrate our brand promise of ‘Like it never even happened.’ This commitment is highlighted by the refreshed logo and updated brand descriptor: 'SERVPRO: Cleaning. Restoration. Construction.' With the new focus and modernized brand assets including a new dynamic and creative commercial campaign, our overall unaided brand awareness are through the roof — up 70% since 2020.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“The best and most challenging part of franchising is having nearly 1,000 owners — and more than 2,000 locations — who are deeply invested in the brand. We have a responsibility to serve them while also serving the brand as a whole. While SERVPRO is a national brand, the work is done locally in the communities our franchisees serve. We are blessed to have so many owners who are passionate about the health and direction of the brand. The responsibility to support their investment every single day is one we do not take lightly.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“One month into his new position as CMO, Covid shut down the world. Mike recognized the need for consumers and clients to have a safe environment. He started up a new nationwide program called SERVPRO: Certified Cleaned, designed to sanitize environments making them safe for patrons. This was not only a marketing opportunity, but an opportunity to serve the communities of our 2,000+ franchise locations. This is just one of many big moments Mike has had while at SERVPRO.”

Nicole Salla, CFE

Company Name: Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolesalla/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Creating an alignment with CSR, integrated into the marketing function, as part of the Kiddie Academy brand DNA has been a large focus of our marketing efforts this year. Winning the IFA’s Cause Marketing Champion Award for the Supporting Women in the Workplace initiative this past June was a boost for us. It has recently given me the opportunity to speak to other franchise professionals about how to influence CSR decisions in their organization to launch initiatives that matter most to their brand, not just initiatives supporting women in the workplace. This initiative also empowered me to become an authentic voice for professional working moms by investing time in sharing my story. We officially launched the Kiddie Academy Community Fund, an emergency relief fund which helps Kiddie Academy team members nationally in need of immediate financial assistance following an unforeseen disaster or personal hardship. After a soft launch late last year, this year we officially launched ‘Play Day for a Cause,’ a national event for franchisees, where the funds raised will be donated to Family Promise, our national charitable partner, or to a local charity of the franchisees’ choice.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Consumers are increasingly making purchase decisions by aligning with brands that reflect their own values and beliefs. Franchise brands, because of their scale and reach, have an amazing opportunity to leverage their size to better impact their communities and amplify their CSR message as part of their brand DNA. There is an incredible built-in grassroots approach opportunity since franchisees have a vested interest as business owners and are ingrained in their local community. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is critical. Just as franchise companies have lamented about the challenges of consistent marketing or operational process adoption, implementing a strong CSR strategy can also prove tricky in a system of franchisees that may have varied values, backgrounds, beliefs or pre-existing partnerships. They must capitalize on this opportunity as consumers have strong expectations, and will be more loyal and pay a premium for a product that aligns with a social or global cause important to them.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Ever since Nicole joined Kiddie Academy in 2017, she has been a positive force of change. She has inspired future marketing leaders, led new initiatives to champion working mothers and innovated the structure of our marketing efforts for the 21st century. Nicole has never let the status quo be a deterrent, but rather a target to reshape the way our team should think about challenges faced. Despite all her success, Nicole continues to push herself and her team to focus on continuing to be leaders and innovators in our industry.”

Nikki-Lynn Rosbrough

Company Name: Wayback Burgers

Title: VP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikkilynnrosbrough/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“I could have written about the really awesome influencer program we’re working on (shh!) or a new limited time offer that we have in the works. However, in my opinion, those initiatives are only temporarily game-changing. The impact I want to focus on has everything to do with the people I work with on a daily basis. The only way I could even come close to meeting their expectations is with the support of my colleagues in the marketing department. We’re a small but mighty team, especially compared to other brands in our segment. That means no job or task is off-limits, and a can-do attitude is a requirement, not a preferred quality. Fostering a team that feels appreciated and stays motivated is imperative to our success as a brand. The Great Resignation had more people leaving their jobs than ever before, and today we’re hearing about the "quiet quitters," who accomplish exactly what their role requires and nothing more. Ensuring that each person feels valued every single day is top of mind and it’s the one impactful thing that I do to inspire the team and grow the brand. Prioritizing their mental health and checking in regularly is vital. Encouraging them to take their vacation time and reset is only going to make us more efficient when they return. I want to give them opportunities to grow and develop in their roles. I show my appreciation for each person every chance I get.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“To say that franchising is a unique industry would be an understatement. There's always a learning curve for those that join the team without prior franchising experience. We have to constantly be cognizant of our two very distinct sets of customers. We must appeal to potential franchisees at all times. Anyone that walks through our doors to grab a burger and a shake could be a future owner and operator of a Wayback Burgers. We have to educate individuals about ownership opportunities to help grow our footprint. Then we have customers in the more traditional sense. We need to advertise to potential diners and encourage them to visit or order from an existing Wayback restaurant. Without customers — or guests, as we like to call them — our restaurants wouldn't be successful. We can't have franchisees without guests and we can't have guests without franchisees. The need to appeal to both segments using very different strategies is a challenge that we will always face as marketers in this industry.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Nikki-Lynn Rosbrough is more than just a boss, she embodies what a true leader and innovator is. Nikki-Lynn started at Wayback Burgers over six years ago and has worked her way up from marketing coordinator to vice president of marketing. Anyone who knows Nikki-Lynn knows that she wears multiple hats at Wayback Burgers. She is always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Her work ethic and dedication to the Wayback brand is apparent in everything she does. Because she has worked at Wayback for so many years we could spend hours talking about what tasks she has accomplished, but instead we want to focus on how she inspires us, as well as the entire team.”

Roger Chacko

Company Name: Neighborly

Title: Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/roger-chacko-02135b2/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Leading the transformation of Neighborly from a holding company name to a consumer facing marketplace and Hub for Home Services, with our 5,000+ franchise owners — consisting of 30+ service brands and enabled by branding, digital platform, channel evolution and in-market measurement and validation of marketing programs.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Significant marketplace opportunities have presented themselves for marketers in the franchising space, driven by concurrent environment disruptions over the last three years: economic volatility, public health safety and uncertainty, technology capabilities acceleration, e-commerce channel evolution, Google Marketplace changes and the evolving needs of the consumer from a product/service and experience perspective. All of these forces impact the growth and profitability of franchise owners. For this reason, our franchise owners are the number one focus at Neighborly.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Roger Chacko is as thorough as they come. A real analytical mind with top-notch leadership capabilities on display at all times. The sheer amount of brand management and franchisees in the Neighborly system are enough to keep anyone on their toes, but Roger is able to handle these responsibilities with class and grace.”

Roy Griffaw

Company Name: Buddy’s Home Furnishings

Title: Chief Information Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/roy-griffaw-608a9b12/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Focus. Data drives decisions. Revenue is the only marketing data that matters to franchisees, as it should be. Measure everything, but limit reporting to revenue when communicating to franchisees. We test many things. I make decisions based solely on revenue produced.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Never forgetting that we serve two customers: the franchisee and the consumer. Franchisees are entrepreneurial and are always searching for new ways to gain customers. Helping franchisees focus their budgets on channels where the data has proven to produce revenue, while avoiding shiny pennies, is critical.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Roy has been in our industry close to 30 years. He started in the RTO business owning his own stores (Express Rent to Own) in Missouri. He grew to three stores and sold them in 2005. While owning his own RTO stores he also started the first online publication company in the RTO space called RTO Online Inc. He sold his publication company in 2011. The last six years he has been with Buddy's and overseeing IT, software development and marketing — and about a year ago was promoted to CIO of Buddy's. RTO Marketing is all about digital, it is 95% of our marketing efforts. With Roy's background and experience, he is the perfect blend to keep us evolving from the marketing side, as the results and data have proven. No one is more deserving.”

Related: How Digital Marketers Can Do More With Less

Shana Krisan

Company Name: Goldfish Swim School Franchising

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shana-krisan-cfe-1a20581b/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“One area I concentrated on with my marketing team is fully integrating all of our marketing efforts, channels and campaigns to take full advantage of the changing landscape of marketing. With more marketing data available, and the expansion of the already busy digital scene, it's quite possible to continue to segment and silo the almost never-ending number of channels and opportunities. While we set KPIs, monitor success and support our franchisees, I truly believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. There is nothing more important than taking a step back to understand not just the what (channel, data point, next perceived marketing silver bullet) but the who we are doing this for. This year, we focused on research and understanding our core demographic to push our campaigns through that customer journey holistically, using the voice of the customer to provide empathy-based marketing. We used all of the channels at our disposal to authentically tell our story. In doing so, we were able to weave that story from one channel to the next — from awareness to action. Our customers, and our results, have shown that we’re moving in the right direction.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“I am fond of saying that if you love marketing and truly want the biggest challenge of your life, go into franchising. In addition to the ever-expanding channels, changing media landscape, staying up to date on the trends, wants and needs of consumers, franchising has a unique set of additions. We work with franchisees, which means we can have hundreds of clients. It also means we have many markets with consumers with specific demographic, psychographic and behavioral differences. That means we need to customize our brand in a way that retains our identity and protects the marks and standards, but assists franchisees in those markets to gain awareness and drive leads. To do this, we have to customize materials, copy, photos, offers and approaches to meet the needs of those markets. In addition, we have to support the brand and the brand variations with an internal team and vendor partners that can also understand these needs. But that's what keeps it exciting and keeps me in franchising.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Shana is always willing to go above and beyond and help those around her — whether that is her team, franchise owners or others in the franchise community, she is always incredibly generous with her time and support. Shana has shared her insights in countless panels and talks and has had a ton of involvement over the years in shaping the content and experience of franchising conferences to deliver maximum value to attendees.”

Sharon Villegas

Company Name: Re-Bath, LLC

Title: Chief Revenue Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharon-villegas-4a76083

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“The most impactful thing I’ve done to innovate, create and grow Re-Bath this year is a multi-pronged brand awareness effort designed to take our national brand to the next level. We developed co-branded partnerships with big-box retailers to grow awareness within stores, as well as create another lead generation avenue for our franchisees. Our network gross sales increased by 57% in 2021. Another key strategy in our brand awareness effort is the rollout of digital PVN partner programs and internal media buying, making marketing easier and more efficient for our franchisees to run their own digital campaigns and buy media at a local level. More than 80% of our franchisee network is a part of the PVN program. After monitoring the success, we know that those who participate in the program do better than those not on the program (those using a digital PVN are up 7% YoY in leads, compared to those who are not are down 15% YoY). Because of this, we are now making this a requirement. This supports our national advertising program that started in 2019. Serving up more than 600MM impressions, we’ve helped increase website visits by 316% in 2021 compared to 2019, and increased brand awareness by 44%. Strengthening brand awareness is only beneficial if the customer experience remains exceptional. Alongside our brand awareness efforts, we’ve developed a national customer satisfaction and review program for our franchisees. For every survey completed, we donate $5 to the American Red Cross — our collective donation in 2022 to date is $26,000. As a result of the surveys, we’ve garnered information on a national basis to make broader changes, like an increase in communication as well as increasing our reviews YOY by 60% with a 4.7-star rating across the country. Collectively, this game-changing effort has proved instrumental for Re-Bath as we enter our next era of growth.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Lack of control, maintaining consistency and getting buy-in. We provide systems and programs for our franchisees. However, they are responsible for the spend in their local markets. The distribution is consultative in nature, where you need to educate the franchisees and their staff on brand awareness vs. lead generation and multi-channel distribution. To a point, we have to rely on the franchisees to be efficient in their spend. I think of it as a slow-moving ship. We built all of the creative through our brand fund, they utilize the remaining 8-10% of their required marketing spend to deploy or distribute the creative we’ve developed in their local markets. The key to long-term success will be continued education with the use of case studies, success metrics, strategic communication and more.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Sharon is respected by her staff and peers, and is a great partner to her vendors. As a vendor who works with Sharon and her marketing team, it is apparent that she uses every tool at her disposal to uphold the brand, create and sustain franchise owner centricity, leverages data analytics and is on top of her game when it comes to anticipating market change and disruption.”

Stacey Pool

Company Name: Noodles & Company

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/staceyjopool/

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“In May 2022, I led Noodles & Company’s most expansive national brand campaign — the launch of its new brand platform ‘Uncommon Goodness.’ Noodles & Company was typically known just for its world-inspired noodles dishes without any tagline, and with the new brand positioning, we brought to life an element that has always been a core value of the brand since its inception. The ‘Uncommon Goodness’ branding became ubiquitous in our marketing materials, inside our restaurants, and even on our team members’ uniforms. But more so, it brought that feeling to life in a new way with uncommon goodness — a positioning that encompasses everything we stand for as a company. From how we treat our team members and create a unique guest experience, to how we carefully select ingredients and positively impact the communities we serves, we infuse uncommon goodness into everything we do. Although it may be interpreted as a tagline, uncommon goodness is what defines Noodles & Company inside out — and I’m proud to have led what is arguably the biggest rebranding effort in Noodles & Company’s 28-year history.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“One challenge in franchise marketing is balancing the franchisee’s business and investment with their reliance on the parent company to drive brand awareness. We believe that trust is paramount in a successful franchise partnership, and we work hard to put relationship-building first. As marketers, we’re also deeply invested in what’s driving their business and how we can best adapt our approach to meet our franchisees’ needs. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for each partner, so we facilitate relationships to ensure we’re aligned on our partners’ objectives. Lastly, franchisees are often operators so they care deeply about the guest experience but might also be intimidated by the evolution of data-driven marketing. As a marketing team, we need to provide a clear and succinct story around the guest and their needs so franchisees know how they can help change a guest's behavior. We need to help them understand that data isn't to prove things wrong, data is a way to unlock growth.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer:

“Stacey Pool is the CMO at Noodles & Company, where she has led the company’s creative industry-leading initiatives since January 2020. Stacey has been the brains behind inventive campaigns that have launched cauliflower gnocchi, tortelloni, new salads, LEANguini, and many culinary tests such as a launch with the national plant-based food brand Impossible Foods. Stacey is perhaps most proud of the viral launch of TRUFFMac, the partnership between Noodles and TRUFF Hot Sauce that garnered more than 194 million impressions, making the campaign one of Noodles’ most successful to date. In May 2022, Stacey also led the nationwide launch of Noodles’ new brand platform Uncommon Goodness and the ‘Noodles Biggest Fan’ campaign. Both campaigns received nationwide attention for encompassing the Noodles brand mission and values. Stacey is also invested in the well-being of her team and local community and has been integral in championing the expansion of the industry-leading Noodles benefits program.”

Teresa Celmer

Company Name: BrightStar Care

Title: SVP of Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/teresacelmer/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“This year we are celebrating 20 years of BrightStar Care. That’s 20 years of providing high-quality home care and medical staffing services to families, seniors, hospitals and other corporate entities. As our network continues to grow, I’ve dedicated marketing efforts over the last year to launch one of BrightStar Care’s latest ventures, BrightStar Owned. We created the BrightStar Owned platform to expand our brand’s corporate-owned footprint and utilize new agencies as testing sites for new technologies and processes to advance our entire franchise network for the long haul. From a marketing standpoint, this innovation is particularly important because the healthcare ecosystem is rapidly changing in a direction where Medicare Advantage and other government reimbursement models are becoming widely accepted throughout the home care industry. We intend to use key insights and learnings from our BrightStar Owned agencies to benefit BrightStar Care franchisees help to grow their valuation, diversify their skilled care offerings and scale operations. The launch of BrightStar Owned and the marketing efforts surrounding it are a testament to how BrightStar Care will continue to align with big players in the health care industry while simultaneously growing as a leading franchise brand.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“One of the biggest challenges in marketing that is unique to the franchise industry is the balance between keeping marketing efforts and messaging consistent across your network yet local to connect with niche, regional audiences. Marketing on both the local and national levels is changing rapidly, as a result of the pandemic, but also because technology is evolving, trends in franchising are changing and the way people consume media is developing. While consumer-centric marketing is crucial for many companies, part of the customer journey is ensuring your organization is equipped with top talent. BrightStar Care has already made an unprecedented shift from solely focusing on consumer marketing to pouring countless resources and dollars into recruitment, employee branding and elevating our candidate journey. As a home care brand with more than 365 locations nationwide, we ensure our marketing efforts are consistent yet local by leaning into our core values and showcasing our high standards at the macro level. We also educated our franchisees to amplify their localness through PPC, search engine optimization, social media ad campaigns and other hyperlocal tactics.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Teresa Celmer has held professional roles at the intersection of marketing and franchising for more than 17 years. Teresa is an expert at driving local marketing results and works to help BrightStar Care's 365 franchise owners scale and diversify their marketing strategies while maintaining brand consistency. The healthcare industry is rapidly changing, and Teresa works hand-in-hand with BrighStar's franchisees to ensure they have the tools and resources needed to cohesively market their home care services and payer options. Under Teresa's leadership BrightStar Care was named Franchise Times Top 400 Franchises, Ranked on Inc.'s 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies, and experienced a three-year revenue growth rate of 89%.”

Tom Carr

Company Name: Chicken Salad Chick

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/tomcarrcmo

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Focusing the team on digital sales, social media content and innovation — which we grew significantly this year to nearly 20% of business.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Getting access to platforms and data that dig down to the retail and franchise level, as well as keeping everyone rowing the same direction.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Tom Carr joined Chicken Salad Chick as head of its marketing team in 2016 and played an integral role in building awareness, trial and sales as the franchisor entered new markets throughout the Southeast. It was Tom’s success in helping the brand achieve 16 consecutive quarters of positive same store sales, a 31.8% increase in average unit volume and 140% increase in unit growth throughout his tenure, that brought about his promotion to CMO in 2020.”

Whitney Scott

Company Name: Kampgrounds of America, Inc.

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/whitney-scott-7082b116/

 

Name one impactful thing you’ve done to innovate, create, inspire or grow your brand this year.

“Introduced a revenue management team into our marketing team. The two functions, integrated raised revenue, nights and customer experience for every property it touched.”

What challenges do marketers face that are unique to franchising?

“Marketing the uniqueness of individual entrepreneurs without degrading the brand in a digital world that makes decisions on companies in milliseconds.”

What others had to say about this franchise CMO game-changer: 

“Whitney is a passionate, innovative leader dedicated to her mission of connecting people to the outdoors and each other. Her work speaks for itself after being promoted to two chief officer roles before turning 35. In her role as CMO, Whitney has ushered Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) into an era of industry-leading digital and data-driven marketing. She's also spearheaded initiatives that connect directly with the public like the KOA Get Out There Grant, which provides funds for recipients to live their outdoor dreams. Since being promoted to her CMO role, KOA has celebrated record years (notably, in 2021, KOA broke the previous revenue record by 33.1%) and maintained an impressive digital ROI of over 40-to-1.”