Tips for a Successful International Franchise

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Franchising can be a great way of expanding your business operations overseas. If, after analysing your business model, you decide franchising is the best solution for growing your international operations, it is imperative that efficient communication strategies are considered and developed for the individual regions.

1. Control your management

A primary concern is often the ability to manage distant franchisees effectively; they are of course independent business in their own right. This management freedom can cause issues with brand misrepresentation that could lead to costly legal complications. The majority of these issues are born of miscommunication and assumptions. Your company`s strategy, business goals and vision need to be clearly understood, for that you will need to prepare and translate a cohesive set of guidelines so that everyone understands the business and their individual role within it. Centralising that documentation, having it written, legally checked, approved and translated in the UK, is the first crucial step in taking you closer to a successful international franchise. It is the key foundation of any global business… If you already operate franchises abroad, it’s never too late to create and distribute a set of standardised company guidelines.

2. About the brand

McDonald’s in some countries is widely considered a rare and special treat. Second-hand clothes from Primark hold value in Eastern Europe as the brand is deemed to be fashionable, current and good quality. Ryanair`s tone of voice and message targets well-paid middle-class professionals in most parts of Europe, where flying itself has not seen the same amount of commoditisation as in other countries.

What can we learn from the above? Perception of your brand will differ abroad. Even though external influences, like the examples described above, will strongly affect how your business operates, you can help to shape your international brand image by engaging with, and researching, the associated social factors. It can be done by communicating your message clearly and engaging the right target audience desired.

3. Social and Cultural differences

Each country has a specific set of cultural rules and adhering to these will improve the chances of success for your franchise.  Your products and value offering will most likely require localisation, product adaptation and on top of that, you may need to change the way you interact with your customer. Market research is hugely important, as is continuous media monitoring as both provide vital indicators that should shape your approach.

You must be aware of the risks of getting this research wrong, accidentally embarrassing or offending a target audience will significantly damage your brand. In today`s world, this type of localisation failure can quickly result in a social media disaster. Here are a few interesting adverts where the research hasn’t been properly considered. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but I guess intentionally preparing for and embracing the storm is a tactic that should not be confused with accidentally “offending and confusing a customer”.

Communication is about more than just speaking someone`s language, just consider America and the United Kingdom, the cultural differences are significant and language variations reflect this.  The trick here is to communicate in a way that will result in an intended emotional response; it’s about being aware of your message and your audience.

4. Localisation

Whether you are expanding your business into another English speaking country, or even to a completely new territory, appropriately localised products and websites give you an instant advantage.

The agency you use becomes responsible for a very important task, it is to understand you and your business and to convey that message in new regions, specifically in a way that will inspire and motivate your franchise employees and future customers. Local knowledge is paramount, as being aware of small cultural nuances can be the difference between your brand excelling, or failing. Strong retail experience will certainly speed up the process and ensure that the best solution is offered.

A good translation company will know which service to apply to your needs, whether it is a product translation or marketing translation, they will approach it with cultural expertise resulting in the end product having the best chance of having a positive impact on the consumer.

It is vital that machine/automated translation is avoided when it comes to producing information for consumers and marketing, real people will listen to real people only, sorry Google Translate… Professional translators and copywriters are required here.

5. Value for money

Always ensure you allocate translation budgets early on, costs will vary so it is best to speak with your translation provider as early as possible in the process. Professional translation teams may even be able to help you with the selection of target regions, market research and media monitoring. These initial consultations often give you a chance of identifying a dedicated provider that will work well with your teams. It is likely the more time you spend preparing early in the project, the smoother the overall process will be.

One more thing to consider is who manages your linguistic assets?  It too is a conversation worth having early on as it could almost definitely save you money in the long run. Ensure you secure your investment resources in case you wish to change providers or make alterations to existing franchise policies at a later date.

Choose us because

We have the knowledge and processes to help you make your business an international success. K International works with numerous large retail franchisers, driving success for our partners overseas. I would be more than happy to discuss your plans and suggest some ways we may be able to assist your business, you can contact me on Linkedin.

Agnieszka Animucka

K International Retail Account Director