Franchise Development in the Experience Economy

Franchising is undoubtedly undergoing change as we move from merely buying products, services and food to buying an entire brand experience instead. This means franchisors, and especially their franchise development teams, can no longer remain satisfied by just reducing the friction on the path to purchase. Now the franchise sales cycle should be a more holistic and immersive brand experience that surrounds the candidate with more than just the product and the bottom line.


Look at the brands we love – Apple, Nike, Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Disney - they all have this immersive brand experience that is simple, fluid and cohesive. This is now the minimum requirement in franchise sales – an approach that’s accessible and clear for buyers of all shapes and sizes. But the experience on the franchise sales side must be a tangible expression of the brand. One that exists and is transferrable digitally, socially, on the trade show floor, in print, over the phone, and in territories in between.


The shift to the experience economy has been well documented over the last decade but far too often viewed only through a generational lens focused on youth. The consensus has always been that Gen Z and Millennials want to be tied to brands that provide an “experience” versus the buying of “things.” And while this is somewhat true, I would argue that an emotional connection to a brand carries over to Gen X, Boomers and beyond as we all collectively shift away from accumulating “stuff” and transition into a more experience-based culture.


It’s easier to see how experience plays into the purchasing decision behind booking a Disney vacation or buying a new iPhone, but a little more blurred when you consider the idea of buying a Firehouse Subs, RibCrib or Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions franchise. What these brands are doing, along with so many others, is not only redesigning their websites, and digital and creative assets, but also re-imagining the brand’s whole ecosystem and how it is experienced by the franchisee prospect.


How do new forces such as 5G, WiFi 6, artificial intelligence, social media and location-based software blend both the physical and digital environments of the sales cycle? You have to remember; it’s not just young millennials that are attracted to these technologies because digital natives are now in the 40s and 50s as well. And quite frankly, it’s those prospects in their 40s and 50s that typically have the capital to consider franchise investment.


Simply put, the experience economy demands that the franchise sales process think more holistically and create an inspired and seamless experience that resonates both on the screen and beyond. Visit SeedPR to learn a little bit more.