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How does a franchisor ensure brand continuity throughout its franchisee network?
In order to maintain the identity and uniformity of a franchise brand, a franchisor will exercise central control of the franchisee network by imposing a number of obligations on the way the franchise business must be operated. This usually includes specifying the products and services that must be provided by the franchisee and obtaining products that meet the franchisor’s specifications from nominated suppliers.
If a retail outlet or liveried vehicle is used as part of the franchise, the franchisor will stipulate how the outlet and vehicle should be presented in terms of the branding and equipment that must be utilised. In relation to online, the franchisor will want to stipulate brand guidelines for the look and feel of websites and social media use. Brand uniformity is also enforced by the franchisor, requiring the franchisee to seek approvals in a number of areas, so the franchisor can check its specifications and quality standards are being complied with.
It’s usually the case that the franchisor will wish to have control of the content of advertisements that make use of its trademark or trade name.
The franchisor will also want to check that the franchisee is correctly following the system and performing in accordance with operating guidelines and brand standards. This is achieved by regular visits to the franchisee’s business.
Shelley Nadler is a legal director in Bird & Bird’s international franchising team and has many years’ experience of advising on all aspects of franchising.
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