Q: As a franchisee, how can I influence a companywide marketing campaign?
A: Mitch Cohen, a 31-year franchisee and former co-chairman of the Baskin-Robbins Brand Advisory Council, says the key is to get involved on the ground floor. Cohen, who runs 13 Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Nathan’s Famous stores on New York’s Long Island, suggests franchisees take these steps to ensure that their voices are heard.
1. Join the company’s advisory council.
Cohen says these groups typically make recommendations on marketing and other companywide initiatives. It’s here that franchisees have a platform for their ideas. “A lot of times people become franchisees because they either don’t have the structure or the financial resources to create their own concept,” Cohen says. “Joining a concept that already exists—now the entrepreneur in me wants to come out.”
2. Involve your colleagues.
Run the marketing proposals past your fellow franchisees to be sure they’re onboard. “Make sure we can execute it operationally,” Cohen says. “Make sure the margins are where we would like the margins to be. Franchisees need to agree that the program is going to accomplish the goals.”
3. Be a link in the chain of communication.
Once the company approves a marketing campaign, advisory council members play integral roles in making sure franchisees are kept in the loop. “Communication is the reason for perfect execution—being able to communicate not only the program, but the strategy behind the program, so that other franchisees will be able to endorse it and execute it properly,” Cohen says. “If we fail at communication, it can really damage the whole program.”