Creating a Strong Brand Culture and Reliable Relationships with Franchisees and Customers

mark_carr_headshot_preview.jpegAn emerging brand may often see the ultimate franchising goal as becoming a nationally recognized powerhouse such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or McDonalds as soon as possible. Everyone knows these brand names and most can even easily pick out their logos. But how do you get this type of status and admiration from consumers and businesses alike?

As big as they are now, all of these brands began by establishing lasting bonds with smaller communities in the industry, in each local market and eventually nationwide and on a global scale.

By devoting time and attention to these smaller relationships, brands can steadily build a worldwide consumer base and simultaneously drive franchise partner growth. Through hard work and dedication, the ability of growing brands to become well-known powerhouses can be broken down as the result of three key targets – creating the brand’s motto, building lifelong relationships and going beyond their respective industries to create a legacy.

Motto for the brand

Building a strong bond with consumers and franchisees begins with a universally sound brand motto that represents core values; whether this is based on a personal belief or faith, the key is it encapsulates what everyone should expect from your company.  

After you’ve established your brand motto, continue looking for ways to differentiate your brand in the eyes of the public. What is your checklist of why you started the business? Was it to bring a beloved food item to the community, a customer service standard, a new way to make life a little easier for families, a safe place for people to work out? Whatever it is, be transparent on that I-can-fix-it motivation in your personal experiences to solve a common problem. This is a chance to challenge your business standard and differentiate your brand. 

Creating relationships

What matters most in a relationship is the little things that one wouldn’t necessarily expect. The focus is to be a giver. If you were in the situation of your consumer, what would be the game changer for you when seeking a specific service or product? Imagine you are a single mother heading to drop her two kids off at day care and go to work for the first time in three years and the car breaks down. The Christian Brothers’ approach is to safely provide a ride to get your kids to daycare and you to work.

It’s a “love your neighbor as yourself” mindset that most people believe in, but don’t always put into action. The little things are the most impactful aspect of a business that will make and form relationships with consumers and the community. People will walk away knowing that they were taken care of because you went out of your way to be a good person.

A universal truth is that the key to creating long-lasting relationships is claiming your responsibilities. Simply put, make basic customer service a top priority. Say I’m sorry, acknowledge your fault and take control of the situation by doing everything you can to redeem the bond with a consumer or peer. In some cases, because it’s such a rarity that companies claim their faults, all it takes is doing just that for a customer to better respect your brand.   

Going beyond the industry

People aspire to work and partner with others who create an impact on the larger community. Going beyond the industry, to better the community you serve is the key to creating a lasting relationship. Be a part of the community and immerse yourself in the culture; do more than simply own a business in a given local market.

Specifically for brands that offer a service-driven concept, there is a lot that a business can do to make an impact beyond the industry. For example, many of our team members at Christian Brothers are certified in identifying the signs of human trafficking. It all boils down to demonstrating the drive to improve the lives of others, both consumers and employees, while continuing to foster potential relationships.  

Be a giver and leave your brand’s legacy on each community it serves. Create impressionable moments like driving that poor single mother to work when her car breaks down – these are the moments that people will remember in the long run and truly are a reflection of the brand. Give your business a heart that others can relate to; this will ultimately be the best way to gain trust and remain as a relevant member of the community, whether your brand is still emerging or well on its way to becoming a nationwide name.

Mark Carr founded Christian Brothers Automotive in 1982 dedicated to the mission “To glorify God, by loving your neighbor as yourself,” with strong core values of faith, honesty and trust. Mark has successfully expanded Christian Brothers to more than 180 locations in 26 states, delivering a variety of professional auto-care services including upkeep, maintenance, and repair.