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‘Cute Doesn’t Cut It’ When Telling Your Brand’s Story


Joseph Lewis, president and CEO of Painting with a Twist, says attracting quality franchisees first requires understanding who is your ideal target.

Unqualified franchisees are a risk to your brand and will pull away your attention, along with important resources. It’s apparent, then, that generating quality leads and identifying the right franchisees is crucial to building a franchise, but how to do that can be tricky, said Joseph Lewis, president and CEO of Painting with a Twist.

“Your first have to ask, who is your target franchisee,” said Lewis, and understanding that means understanding the value proposition of your brand. Lewis, along with Richard Leveille, chief development officer for restaurant brand The Lost Cajun, and Joe Mathews, CEO of Franchise Performance Group, all stressed the necessity of a strong brand foundation and franchisee profile during their panel at the IFA’s Emerging Franchisor Conference running through November 9 in Miami.

“Figure out your messaging and be able to align expectations with reality,” said Leveille. That means ensuring the franchisees know exactly what they’re buying into, “not what you think you’re buying.”

It’s important to tell your brand’s story online, which is where essentially all potential franchisees begin their search, pointed out Mathews. “The internet is the gatekeeper of your story—you’ve got to put your brand story out there. And be able to make your business case: what makes it unique, what makes it profitable. And you’ve gotta present it credibly.”

Serious candidates want straightforward information and a clear explanation of the benefits of investing in the system, Mathews continued. “Cute doesn’t cut it” when it comes to the franchise website,” he said, and franchisors should expect to invest heavily in their website and online digital marketing, to the tune of $150,000 to do it right.

“Your website isn’t a cost, it’s a 100 percent revenue generator, that’s how you have to look at it,” Mathews said. “True buyers have a voracious appetite for information.”

What about brands that don’t have a big budget? “Then you better have a sticky brand,” he said.

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About This Blog

The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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