Reprinted and/or posted with the permission of the American Bar Association, Fall 2011, Vol. 14, No. 4
A strong brand can be a franchise system’s most valuable asset. A strong brand may allow franchisors to maintain existing market share in the face of new competition and expand by attracting new, dedicated and qualified franchisees believing and wanting to invest in the strength of that brand. It allows franchisees to draw customers to their small businesses – sometimes even if they are the concept’s first franchisee in the market. And it allows customers to know exactly what their experience will be before they step foot into the franchisee’s store. A strong brand is a shared asset playing a key role in the prosperity and stability of franchisor and franchisee alike.
While some challenges to a franchise system take years to develop – such as a change in the public’s taste or technological innovation – others, such as a food poisoning event or some kind of rumor, can be sudden and devastating. When a sudden challenge arises, careful consideration and concerted action are necessary to protect the brand. As Cold Stone Creamery recently learned, the likelihood of a successful resolution can be increased when a franchisor works with its franchisee community in evaluating and responding to the challenge. This article provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Cold Stone Creamery and its franchisees did just that in response to CNBC’s Behind the Counter: The Untold Story of Franchising.
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