As the fire prior to the announcement heats up and the smoke is thicker than ever, you have to make the decision about what kind of a firefighter you are going to be. Are you going to work to keep the flames at bay or become proactive to control the fire and its results?
There is a lot that you can do to prepare, even if you are navigating the unknown. Throughout this series, we have emphasized making sure that your own company brand is strong, can handle outside challenges and will grow with the momentum that change brings. That brings a lot of opportunity, especially for those who are brand dependent. The first step is often an assessment of your company’s identity. The following questions should serve as a good startig point.
1. Look at your URL – does the name give you a stand-alone identity?
- There are always brand identity marks and requirements that come with affiliation in a network or franchise that govern the use but not necessarily the URL.
- If the brand of the franchisor or network disappeared, what would happen to your marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and related solutions on your web sites?
- Since the search engines look at longevity of a site, page and URL as a part of the criteria for placement, would you lose this standing if you had to change?
- If you own a URL or can acquire one that only represents your company brand, how soon can you have it up and begin the transition of new content, visibility and changes in related email addresses and marketing?
- Take your current recruiting materials, information and marketing and as a test, white-out or eliminate anything that references your franchise or network affiliation. What is left?
- You brand or network should add to a strong foundation and not be the entirety.
- To recruit and retain associates?
- To attract talent?
- To entice consumers to do business with your company?
- To recognize achievement?
- Lead generation?
- Core services?
- Relationship to vendors?
- Tools and services?
- Accounting and reporting?
- Do you have a growth plan of your own aligned with the network or franchisor but not dependent?
- Have you defined the strategic initiatives necessary to execute your growth plan?
- Does your growth plan consider potential exit strategies?