Social media column 1

The core social networks have different audiences, so give them what they expect to see.

By Judi Cutrone

Too many brands follow a one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to their social media content. It seems innocuous enough, not to mention efficient; instead of spending time crafting multiple pieces of content, the brand will simply post the same piece of content across all their social media networks.

Franchising is a $700-plus billion industry that features hundreds of thousands of companies from a wide variety of industries. According to the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) 2011 Outlook report, the franchising industry is projected to grow 2.5 percent this year—providing a fertile ground for individuals looking to be self-employed. I bet now you’re wondering how you get a piece of the multi-billion dollar pie.

Perhaps, you already own a concept that you’re considering to franchise, or maybe are interested in joining a franchise system with an already proven model. The following will take you through the steps to franchising your concept and evaluating what franchise opportunity would be best to pursue.

 OP DIST ED PIC1Some say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to your food or beverage brand, copycat names are not a compliment. Thankfully, intellectual property (IP) laws in the United States provide a vehicle to challenge imitators. But even so, wise food and beverage companies will strategically consider ways to construct their important brand assets that reduce risk and enhance the possibilities of brand protection.

Ask many marketing professionals how to select a “good” brand name and you will likely hear that it is best to adopt a brand name that conveys something meaningful about the product in order to immediately communicate to the consumer a benefit or attribute. Thus,  brand names often include words that describe an ingredient or flavor characteristic of the associated product, its function, purpose or use, its quality, or the geographic location from where it comes.

 OP RESTAURANTS ED PIC1Whether you’re a major chain, a one-off restaurant in the burbs, or the trendy venture of a serial investor with a marquee chef whose name makes people nod appreciatively, you’ve got something to say. Right?
You’ve got a proprietary process, a new idea, a craveable flavor or some kind of differentiation from the restaurants just up the way. Let’s assume you have a general idea why people like you.
Now what? Time for ads? Social media promotions? Slick packaging, stylishly rough-hewn décor, maybe some coupons in the local shoved-it-in-your-mailbox jumble-pack amongst the muffler shops and carpet cleaners? Word-of-mouth, as if people are constantly talking about restaurants their friends should try (some people are)?

FOOD DEFENSE ED PIC1What does your food defense strategy entail? If your eyes just glazed over from this question, I dare to say you are not alone. Although it seems we have yet to develop a clear picture of what a food defense plan should look like, industry leaders are working together to figure it out.  
Tyco Integrated Security, a company specializing in electronic security products, installation and services, hosted the 6th Annual Food Defense Strategy Exchange (FDSE) last week in Chicago. The FDSE provides a platform for food and beverage security professionals, regulators and experts to focus exclusively on food defense issues.

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