How to Leverage National Brand Momentum on a Local LevelAuthor: Smoothie King
Smoothie King experienced a year of record growth in 2017, signing 24 percent more franchise agreements than in 2016. The smoothie bar franchise entered 2018 more motivated than ever to continue expanding, moving towards 1,000 locations by the end of the year.
Ongoing corporate initiatives have helped to foster this momentum, presenting Smoothie King franchisees with a great opportunity to increase their guest base. Corporate marketing builds national brand awareness and allows franchisees to focus on stellar in-store experience.
Building Brand Awareness
Smoothie King has built up brand recognition across the United States and grown their presence in three additional countries. Through a dynamic and layered approach to national marketing, like having the naming rights to the Smoothie King Center, a national advertising fund, digital marketing and collaborating with like-minded organizations like the Challenged Athletes Foundation, our charity partner who helps people with physical challenges in markets across the U.S. find success in life through sports, an active lifestyle, community and mentorship.
At the same time, Smoothie King’s social media presence and work with social influencers on Instagram and YouTube has expanded the brand’s reach to connect with consumers through a multi-channel strategy that generates strong engagement.
“Our corporate team acts as extra manpower for franchisees,” Courtney Thees, digital content manager at Smoothie King, said. “We focus on national brand recognition, and they can get out in their local community.”
Community outreach and programs like Healthy Rewards and Guest of the Week initiatives have resonated well with guests.
“Our franchisees are our best brand ambassadors so their outreach is crucial,” Courtney said. “While we are a national brand, the franchise owners live in the same town as their guests; their kids go to the same schools. They’re properly equipped to engage with the community.”
Smoothie King builds community involvement into the business model – franchisees are required to devote a portion of their operational budget to local store marketing, facilitating the practice of reaching out to schools or charities to sponsor events. And because the corporate team continues working diligently to foster national brand awareness and affinity, local organizations can quickly recognize the brand Smoothie King franchisees represent and the values and mission underpinning their business. This outreach increases local brand awareness and fosters new relationships within communities.
Franchise Owners Focus on In-Store Experience
With recognition established, franchisees can focus on community involvement and a commitment to an exceptional in-store experience.
“Our job at the corporate level is to make sure guests know about us,” Tracey Altman, Smoothie King’s vice president of brand marketing, said. “Then franchisees make sure guests like and trust us, and that all comes from in-store experiences.”
The Smoothie King menu is developed and designed to enable each guest to order the right blend to help achieve his or her purpose, and to work toward the vision of being an integral part of every fitness journey. This sound foundation allows franchisees to focus on an exceptional in-store experience.
That begins with team members educating guests and opening up their eyes to new options they may have never considered before. Smoothie King team member training and operational assistance allow owners to foster this in their smoothie bar team and activate the brand messaging in stores.
“I like to add spinach to my blends,” Tracey said. “I heard some guests in line act surprised when I ordered. I told them I don’t get enough greens in my diet and challenged them to try it too. I said if they didn’t like it, I’d buy their smoothies.”
As trusted educators behind the smoothie bar, team members go above and beyond, suggesting adding spinach to a blend and explain why can be beneficial. With that in mind, it’s important for franchisees to take care in hiring and training to foster team members who can act as in-store advisors to guests.
As our national smoothie brand continues to grow, franchisees have new opportunities to leverage this momentum on a local level. The perfect marriage of powerful corporate marketing initiatives, grassroots efforts and top-notch customer service from local franchisees reaches new guests and continues delighting existing ones.
What many prospective franchisees don’t recognize about joining a national franchise brand is how the collective energy directed toward marketing is funneled directly to the guest experience. The franchisor works to build brand recognition and systems that franchisees can put in place on the local level; the store owner then has the opportunity to catalyze growth within the local community; and the guests are the end recipient of cohesive brand messaging and local activation that helps support them on their wellness journey with the right product for their specific purpose, all as part of a sensible diet and regular exercise routine.
If you’re interested in learning more about franchise opportunities with a brand with national momentum, download the Smoothie King Franchise Kit.