Culture is really important to franchising. It goes along with your organization’s values to drive behavior and impact decisions. It’s there in the communication, respect and attitude of everyone in your organization.
And although it can be difficult to define, you KNOW when it’s good. And you know when it’s not so good.
One key way that you can capture the culture of your franchise organization is to record videos of your brand’s conferences. If you can record those sessions, as well as the engagement of your staff and franchisees, you’ll be better able to see the way people talk and react to each other.
This exercise is important, as it allows you to identify and recognize good culture - as well as to root out any bad or uncertain culture that could be damaging your brand.
How to “Use” Your Culture
Once you’ve captured the culture of your franchise brand, you can work to maintain it on an ongoing basis. One way to do this is to recognize individuals in the brand that demonstrate the culture internally. I’ve seen brands that provide awards for this - they’ll nominate a winner each year that has done an exceptional job embracing the organization’s culture. The presentation of this award creates a case study that demonstrates the behaviors you’re looking for in the franchise so that everyone in the organization can recognize the culture you’re building in the brand - and model those same behaviors in their role, as well!
To be successful, this has to be a conscious effort - you must work to protect your culture and embrace the behaviors you want to see in the brand. This means not just awards, but calling out “bad” behaviors when you see people working against the culture. Simply saying something like, “We can’t tolerate that because it goes against our culture,” can be very effective.
Another important way you can use your culture, is to keep the bad apples out of the brand. This can be hard to do, especially in new brands who are eager to capture the new franchise fees, but it’s important for the long-term success of the organization. By using your organization’s culture to really qualify prospective buyers, you’ll be able to gauge early on whether someone is going to be a good fit for the brand. If they’re not, then this is your opportunity to keep them out.
Many emerging brands make the mistake of selling new units to almost anybody in the beginning - and then they regret it afterwards. It’s much easier to keep the misfits out than to remove them after they’re established in the brand. By using culture-fit as a true qualification factor before you decide to sell / award a franchise to someone, you’ll be protecting the future of the brand and its culture.
A lot of people take culture for granted and don’t think about it, but it’s important - and protecting it requires a conscious effort by everyone involved. By calling out unacceptable behaviors and highlighting those who demonstrate the culture you’re trying to build, you’ll be taking an important step towards maintaining a culture of success in your franchise.
If you have questions about this or want to discuss the culture of your brand, let’s talk!