The Best Franchise Responses to the Pandemic



The coronavirus is here in full effect, and for brands in all industries, for franchise owners in all mediums or types of business models, it means navigating new territory. Part of that means taking on the status quo as it changes. Markets are hit with new information by the day, and how they react and plan for that information changes how your business moves forward.

The good news for any franchise owner, of course, is knowing you aren't alone. This is a global problem; we are in this thing together. Finding new and productive ways to adjust your brand going forward can make or break your progress level during the pandemic. Not letting a crisis get you down can only make you stronger in years to come.

For some added inspiration as a franchise owner, take a look at how these top brands have handled the pandemic. From giving back to the community, to adjusting how they do everyday business, and providing peace of mind to employees and customers alike, you can gain insight on how these brands have ridden out the storm.

New Company Logos

A picture is worth a thousand words, but re-designing a globally recognized icon and using it to make a statement, that's even more impactful. This is what moguls like McDonald's Brazil and Coca-Cola have done. By taking their classic logos and adding space between the letters, they are illustrating social distancing. The updated images have been seen on billboards and lighted signs throughout big cities.

Meanwhile, Burger King has marked out Of the Whopper, adding Stay so its tagline now reads, "Stay Home." The scouts have changed their tagline, too, so that it now reads, The Great Indoors.

Branded Ads

Franchise companies, and others, have also used the pandemic to create new ads. Car dealerships are showing cars in garages or single vehicles on an otherwise empty road. Food delivery services are showing safe workers covered in masks and gloves, bringing orders to vehicles with a curbside pickup. There are images of empty lobbies, customers enjoying products at home, or simply families who are enjoying one another's company within their household.

These franchise ads and others are encouraging customers to keep their distances, while, in many cases, enjoying products or services in an approved way. Such as practicing social distancing.

For franchises, it's a great way to embrace the now while allowing their marketing to remain relevant. For franchisees, this can be done on a smaller scale too. Advertise on social media your new policies or adjust signage to encourage social distancing.

But the big kicker – the most common posts – are images that advertise washed hands and/or sanitizer. They incorporate everything from stocking up and using sanitizer, to using their own products creatively to hold soap. For example, Bompas and Parr, a jelly design brand, have made their own soap dispenser contest, allowing customers to share their designs on social media.

These creative efforts by marketing teams show at what length brands of all sizes – franchise corporate locations to locally owned stops – are going to promote safe social practices during the pandemic, and their push to encourage customers to do the same.

PSAs – Public Service Announcements

From sponsored posts by Verizon locations, to personalized emails that have seemingly come from every company you've ever shopped from ever, franchise brands aren't alone in spreading the word about the novel coronavirus. These messages are delivered direct to the consumer and have given insight on how brands – including local franchise locations – are tackling the pandemic. Messages likely include any insight on brand changes or company protocol, and how shoppers can obtain a product or service while safely practicing social distancing.

Franchisees can do the same by gaining guidance from their corporate location, or checking with a legal team before sending out a mass message. Otherwise, keep it simple and speak from the heart! 

Giving Back

Other franchise locations still are using this time as an opportunity to give back to those in need. Heinz is offering free meals for eight weeks, while Popeye's is sharing social media posts that include their hashtags about staying home. Feeding America is enlisting celeb endorsements to spread awareness about their needs, and more.

But that's only the beginning.

Starbucks locations extended mental health services that are covered for their employees under their insurance plan

& pizza employees are getting free food to take home to their families after shifts. The courtesy is extended to medical care workers too.

Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, etc.) is covering paid sick leave to their hourly employees, as will McDonald's.

U-Haul locations are allowing college students to store their belongings for free for 30 days, after fast move-out orders associated with the coronavirus.

The Biggest Brand Take-Aways From the Pandemic

The world may be going through some serious changes associated with business (not to mention public health), but that has allowed franchises to brand together with efforts toward common growth.

By Bethaney Wallace | Apr 24, 2020 | General Franchise Information