I was demo’ing Empowerkit to a franchise brand today and they were a little bit more on the cutting edge with really tracking what is happening with their websites and the web development and so forth. And [there were some] interesting numbers – they’re about 250 plus units – and what they found is that they have 88 “rogue” sites. So over a third of their [franchisees have] rogue sites – meaning you’ve got 88 franchisees that have gone out and either built their own sites with a separate URL, hired web development company to build the site for them, [and there’s] no brand continuity, the logos are completely different, the messaging is different. And if a franchisor wants to pay attention to what their messaging and brand is, that is a pretty scary proposition going on in the marketplace, and it’s a lot more in common right now than people know. I challenge any franchisor to Google their own company and realize that whatever_their_name_is.com, there is going to be all kinds of stuff coming up. They’ve got franchisees seeking an answer like Empowerkit, and they are going out and doing it on their own. The reality of the marketplace, the reality of franchising in general on a whole is that these franchisees are seeking an answer in terms of their web development, their social media, and they are not getting it. The other negative thing that happens is that it hurts SEO overall – there is no contribution to the corporate site, there is no continuity for the SEO if they’re attempting to do it. You’ve got rogue sites that have nothing to do with the corporate URL, and there is no ability to build analytics to find out what’s really happening with your company. So at the end of the day, it’s kind of a train wreck out there.
Director of Franchise Accounts
You are going to hear this a lot in the videos we are doing, it’s the concept of the importance of a brand for the franchisor. This is what the franchisees buy in to, this is why they want to purchase your brand. But your individual franchisees, they may want to market themselves differently based on the local areas that they are serving. That is why we really built Empowerkit to be a very flexible and robust system, to let the franchisees have the ability to express themselves, have the ability to get creative with their websites. When we first talk to a franchisor, we really help them to define their Site Style. While they want their franchisees to be creative and to create this content, they want to be reassured that their franchisees aren’t completely going rogue and making crazy sites with hot pinks or bright yellows – they want to at least have some continuity to their Site Style. We help them define the colors they want to use on their site, the types site typography they want to use, how much control each franchisee will have over the use of some graphics on their site. We really work with the franchisor to determine whether they want to open this up and allow the franchisees to get really creative with those sites, or really help them to lock it down and really determine the kind of restrictions they want to put on the franchisees when it comes to the flexibility to have on these sites. The one thing which is very important to remember about this is that whenever we set these restraints for the franchisees, whether they are very open and expressive or tightly controlled for the brand – once they are set the franchisees, when they are dragging and dropping apps or changing the colors on the site or updating their style, they can never brake that brand consistency which we set with the franchisor from the get-go.
Every franchise is different in terms of how much control they wish to exert over their franchisees, and we offer a great deal of flexibility for that with Empowekit. And that starts with the apps – the frahchisor looks at all the apps that are available, and then we can create customized apps that are relevant just to their franchise, so they get to control which types of content the franchisees are going to be able to publish to the sites in the first place, right out of the gate. Beyond that, we can set very specific publishing controls for the franchisor, so they can have it as tight or as loose as they want in terms of their levels of control. For example, if they want to approve a new video before it goes live on the franchisee’s site, they can get an email notification and have to approve that before it goes up. [Publishing controls] can be optional per app, or can be across the board for the entire site if a franchisor so desires, and that is the level of control they want to exert and they have compliance regulations that they have put in place. So again, it really varies depending on the franchise and how much resources they want to put towards content monitoring. With Empowerkit it allows that flexibility, so they can either open it up, set the guidelines for franchisees, and then monitor on more of a hands-off basis, or they can really tighten it down and monitor every piece of content that goes up, which is really good benefit for the franchisor.