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  • Sept 2021

Franchising: This Is My Design

Franchising: This Is My Design

Franchising: This is My Design
Design thinking- the blueprint to success in franchising

Franchising is essentially a highly flexible strategic model for businesses looking to scale up operations. The probability of success in such a scenario is highly dependent on external stakeholders (mainly customers) and their needs. In light of this, an empathetic & creative solution-based approach to problem-solving is required.

Each business and industry is unique in terms of audience or consumers. There has been enough evidence of this. The buying behaviour or pattern of the tech industry and that of F&B can not possibly be the same. Similarly, there are geographical, cultural, emotional and numerous other factors that determine buying behaviour.

Empathising with the consumers helps understand a problem from a perspective that provides the most important solution for a franchising business- SALES.

It is simple- no one understands your problem better than you do. Empathy helps derive all the information to understand the problem. It is what makes 'Design Thinking' human-centric.

Major brands like Ericsson & US Tax Service have already used this school of thought to their benefit. However, Pepsico’s recent brand touchdowns have been exemplary in this matter.

Prior to 2012, the newly appointed CEO, Indira Nooyi was faced with a brand image problem, as Pepsi started being perceived as a bloated giant. The company drove innovation through design thinking. Product & design modifications and new products had only one agenda- understand the consumers and solve their problems.

Design changes catered to gender, cultures and many others, while new products explored new avenues.

The inevitable result for the brand was steady revenue, rise in stock price (a rise of almost $30 withing two years) and of course some piece of mind for the new CEO. While the implication for large brands such as PepsiCo as a result of design thinking can be multifold, it holds a much larger significance for franchise brands. For franchises, each outlet or store or restaurant or location can be unique. McDonald’s not only has a different menu for India, the marketing of different burgers is on different scales in different regions of the country. This is for one simple reason, and that is diversity. People are different everywhere. It is easy to pick a franchise brand especially in a diverse country like India who have attempted to standardise their offerings and failed miserably. It accounts for a large portion of failures in the industry.

From as early as junior school and pre-school education, kids are shown the empathy way of learning. A research subject at Franchise India recalls a particular exercise from back in the third grade, where the literature teacher allowed students to frame questions based on excerpts from stories.

“It helped me think like a teacher, and ultimately formulate better answers,” said he. An education-based franchise network named Engineering for Kids has successfully incorporated this method to not only help their network grow, but also help their students develop advanced cognitive abilities for their age.

A design-thinking framework underpins the classes for that age group, from “Let’s Make Toys” to “Widgets and Gadgets.”

There is very little evidence as to how effective design thinking is for classroom education. However, EFK’s model has physical involvement of kids in learning. They enable explorative play stimulates independent discovery. This facilitates information consumption and experience.

The solution here that makes it an effective design thinking model is that of learning through experience. Since the audience/consumer demographic here are impressionable minds, scientific data can be a reliable source of behavioral understanding. Most of the data available is limited in terms of research, analysis and inference. In order for educational franchises like EFK to succeed in the field of franchising, ad-hoc/local research combined with design thinking is the right way to go.

Successful franchise brands make an effort to empathise with the consumers they intend to serve, before setting up shop.

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