Want to Experience Thoughtful Growth? Get Creative with Your Franchise Marketing Campaign

by Lora Kellogg3 Min Read

From cows painting on billboards to sub shops full of firehouse-themed décor, restaurants’ brilliant and memorable marketing campaigns are everywhere. But how do these brands come up with such successful creative marketing campaigns?

Here’s the secret: These brands know their niches and are creative in developing campaigns that are uniquely theirs and that resonate with their audiences. Successful franchises are laser-focused on their specialties and develop enduring, relatable messaging.

Franchise restaurants must find creative ways to engage customers in both existing and future markets. Want to see your franchise succeed? Here are three creative marketing strategies that will help you engage customers and keep them coming back.

 Incorporate Heroic Core Values

The founders of Firehouse Subs had a relatively easy time choosing a theme for its branding, décor and marketing. Chris and Robin Sorensen had firefighting in their blood. Their efforts to incorporate fire hoses and gear in their restaurants and their heroic commitment to community service rang true with their customers.

Their television marketing emphasized good food and service and positioned them as “the hero of all subs,” a tagline that persists at the brand’s core today. From the franchise’s inception in the early 1990s, it also has demonstrated a dedication to improving the communities where Firehouse franchises are located by helping raise money for local charities. And just more than a decade ago, they started the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which collects donations to provide equipment for firefighters.

Weave the ideals your franchise is built on through all of your marketing campaigns. If your company is built on sustainable practices, quality food, and giving back to your community, emphasize those qualities in all levels of your business, from corporate messaging to commercials.

 Savor Your Brand Story

Chicken Salad Chick CEO Stacy Brown was surprised by her own success when she started selling homemade food door-to-door to support her family. Before long, she realized she needed to either start a restaurant or close up shop. She took a leap of faith in 2008, and Chicken Salad Chick was born.

Chicken Salad Chick has grown exponentially since then, with 65 locations, but its leaders continue to embrace its compelling and charming story — right down to the fashionable “chick” holding a basket of food in the logo — by relentlessly focusing on what they do best: chicken salad. The restaurant offers chicken salad with onions, barbecue chicken salad, chicken salad with fruits and nuts — you get the idea. The franchise’s humble beginnings and tasty chicken salad remain at the heart of its menu and marketing campaigns.

Having a great product is only the beginning. Keeping a focus on what you do best and telling your brand story to customers through your creative marketing campaigns helps you stand out among your competitors.

Don’t Be Afraid to Milk It

Chick-fil-A has been depending on its quirky and lovable cows to remind people to “Eat Mor Chikin” since 1995. While most other brands were relying on flashy television ads and billboards full of product photos, Chick-fil-A used 3-D cows and plain talk — but sketchy spelling — on its billboards to draw customers in and keep them coming back. Twenty years later, the campaign still appeals to crowds of chicken lovers.

Although the campaigns change slightly, as do menus, the creative marketing of Chick-fil-A has consistently capitalized on its clever cows, who now have their own calendar and Cow Day.

Successful franchises simply cannot lose sight of the significance of creative messaging. Effective campaigns begin with exceptional content and designs that authentically connect with audiences, that have staying power and that continually engage customers. While digital is the hot topic in marketing right now, campaigns that begin with strong visuals and memorable copy allow campaigns on traditional, digital, and social platforms to perform at a higher level.

Lora Kellogg

@CuriousJaneMktg | LinkedIn | Website

Lora Kellogg is president and CEO of Curious Jane, an ad agency specializing in franchises. She and her team work with Franchise Times’ Top 500 franchises and emerging franchises to grow sales, increase traffic, build brand awareness, increase leads and improve franchise development.

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