Producing co-op marketing offerings that are seen as stronger assets to your franchisees can be a big win for a franchisor.
For as long as I’ve been in the advertising business, most franchisors choose to take the easy way out and just edit an existing commercial in their arsenal down with an open space at the end for a franchisee to just slap in their information, location, etc. To me, most times, this appears to be a half-hearted attempt at fulfilling an obligation rather than a tool that will truly help a franchisee’s business.
True, the franchisor’s footing the bill for production and probably even chipping-in for the media, so the lion’s share of what the franchisor needs to get across in the way of messaging is definitely important. But, consider freshening up your co-op approach to excite your franchisee’s and more importantly, potential new franchisees.
1. Commercial within a commercial
A few years ago, we were faced with the challenge of producing a co-op commercial for a large retailer to be utilized by its franchisees. These franchisees actually had a history of producing their own low-budget commercials rather than using the co-op advertising supplied by the retailer. When pressed for the reason why they weren’t using the spots the retailer was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce, the franchisees claimed they truly had no identity or were overshadowed by the retailer when their names were simply placed as a five second tag at the end.
What we developed was a commercial that touched on all of the product attributes the retailer wanted to make through actors portraying their desire to purchase our retailer’s product as they viewed it on a TV within the framework of the commercial (commercial within a commercial). As a further attribute to the retailer, whenever the actors spoke the name of the franchisee, they weren’t on camera. Thus, making our commercial further customizable and looking like it was produced by the franchisee. The retailer retained control of the message and production quality and the franchisee received a higher quality customized spot. This was something that neither could have accomplished independent of one another. In this case, the kicker for the retailer was the franchisees gladly paid for the customization, which was still significantly less than what they were paying previously for their low-cost independent productions.
2. Editorial-style offerings built to utilize social media opportunities
With the proliferation of social media, many franchisors and franchisees alike are utilizing the medium to produce and broadcast custom content. A great example of this is a current client of ours that does a lot of field marketing tied into local football games. Lead generation is the main function of their participation, but why not creatively promote their presence in order to further both the franchisor and franchisee’s commitment to community involvement? A base video was created by the franchisor that was then customized with game footage to promote each individual franchisee’s game involvement. The franchisee was then able to post the customized content as well as follow-up with their leads in a good will, less hard sales-oriented manner. A win-win for both.
3. Another non-traditional customization
Taking the more editorial-style social media approach mentioned above to a more traditional 30 second commercial execution is another great way to look at a less traditional co-op approach. We have developed this type of execution for another client of ours.
The premise in this case was that many of the various lifestyle scenarios we were normally portraying through advertising could very easily be non-region specific in nature. We were thus able to create the better part of a higher quality base commercial our franchisees wouldn’t have had the budget to produce on their own. Within the base commercial we left several holes for the franchisee to insert custom video of their choosing as well as the opportunity to customize the voiceover track making the commercial appear to be their own creation. The franchisees simply sent us the elements and for a very minimal fee, we inserted their elements, recorded the voiceover and they received a custom finished commercial.
With a little creativity and a willingness to take a few, sometimes not so simple, extra steps, your co-op advertising program can become and important part of what sets you apart from your competition and may even be a deciding factor in the retention of current as well as the attraction of new franchisees.