A widely discussed subject in the franchise industry is how to market your franchise to millennials. On the whole, the ideas on this topic are mostly tactical and range from PR, content marketing, social media targeting, video production, and speaking engagements.
While these tactics can prove to be useful lead generators and create awareness for your franchise opportunity, they may not translate to sales. Why is that the case? New evidence in a study completed by American Express showed that millennials are all about working for or starting purpose-driven companies.
For example, read this headline:
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“Nike Spends Billions On Marketing, But Millennials Still Like Toms More”
The research conducted in the study showed millennials perceive Toms at a higher brand value than Nike. How is it possible that Tom’s has a more significant brand value than Nike, a company spending billions of dollars per year on high profile athlete endorsements, large-scale productions, and exorbitantly priced ad placements?
The Toms brand is built on its concise ‘one for one’ mission which donates one pair of shoes for every pair purchased. Tom’s exemplifies its purpose through innovative marketing like their “one day without shoes” campaign. “One day without shoes” encourages individuals around the world to go barefoot to experience how difficult life without shoes can be. The one-day social media event engaged 3.5 million people and resulted in Toms donating 27,435 pairs of shoes to children worldwide.
What does a purpose driven approach like the Tom’s brand mean for your franchise organization?
Millennial Marketing Questions Franchisors Need To Ask
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself as you brainstorm how to make your franchise opportunity attractive to millennials:
- Does my franchise organization have a well-defined purpose and a set of core values that resonates with my target market and keeps the entire organization focused on something greater than the bottom line?
- Are my stakeholders accountable to our purpose and core values?
- Do my core values support my purpose?
- Do I lead with empathy throughout the organization?
- Is our organization based on mutual levels of trust?
- Does my purpose alleviate pain, make someone else’s life more enjoyable and/or does my purpose support belonging to a tribe? (Tribe defined as being part of a group composed of like-minded people)
How To Court Millennials
As the evidence supports, the first step in courting millennial franchise owners may not be marketing. Instead, it must be about a purpose. One that’s outside of just making a profit.
In a nutshell, millennials want an organization where the franchisor and franchisees live in harmony; driven by a common purpose and anchored with shared values. A harmonious relationship through a purpose-driven organization will provide you a competitive advantage and a brand that others value (including millennials).
(Ryan Rao is a Principal of Apex Franchise Development Group and is a franchise development expert who has grown multiple franchise based businesses into national and international brands. Franchising has allowed him to help individuals realize their dreams of business ownership, while permitting them to experience the independence, flexibility, and freedom that comes with being a business owner. He’s also a personal growth advocate. Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn)