In a world of transparency, online education, digital due diligence, and sophisticated knowledge sharing platforms, franchisees who represent franchisor parent brands have the right to demand the best in both digital and analogue communications. In fact, franchisees have permission to be high maintenance. Digital disruption gives you permission to ask more of franchisors.
WHAT IS DIGITAL DISRUPTION?
Digital disruption represents a democratising force that has the potential to reshape the power relationship between franchisor and franchisee. So what is digital disruption? It is the change brought about by the fact that everything that can be digitised will be digitised.
It is the change felt by players like Kodak, Borders, Blockbusters, and Angus & Robertson, as their services and products are increasingly being shifted from a physical, analogue thing to a digital delivery mode.
But in a larger context, digital disruption also represents digital marketing and communication channels, eTailing, and mobile commerce, which are shifting how consumers and customers engage with brands. The question is how turning everything digital will have an impact on franchisees' relationships both with their clients, as well as with their franchisors.
Exactly how digital disruption will impact you as a franchisee will depend on your industry. Some industries - like retail, information and communication technologies, professional services, real estate, food, travel - are already experiencing a dramatic shift, and players in this space have already been digitally displaced.
In other industries - pharmaceutical and utilities for instance- digital disruption will take longer to hit, but the impact will still be significant.
If you are thinking about investing in a franchise, this time and impact perspective is something you need to bear in mind as you decide on what industry you want to play in. If you're already the owner of a franchise, you must be thinking about how you can extract more value from your channel communications with both clients and franchisor. For the purpose of this article, let me focus on your franchisor.
DIGITAL MINDS, ANALOGUE HEARTS
Franchisors ought to realise that the future of communications is neither purely digital, nor is it purely analogue. In other words, traditional communications like snail mail, printed manuals and physical conferences cannot continue to be the predominant mode of communications.
They will increasingly need to blend with digital communication forms that are more high tech - web conferences, telepresence, digital tutorials, digital knowledge sharing between franchisees, FAQs, and online portals for franchisee support.
The future of communications by franchisors is digilogue - franchisors must provide increasing informational value to franchisees' increasingly digitised, rational minds, while still connecting experiential value to franchisees' enduringly analogue, emotional hearts.
For example, any system, whether its McDonald's, Gloria Jeans, Action Coach or Bendigo Bank, must in the future go digilogue to ensure they win the digital minds and analogue hearts of tomorrow's franchisees.
The digilogue mix could look something like this:
World Class analogue conferences (using techology, entertainment and design) featuring international keynotes, and outstanding crowd-sourced, local franchisee talent who display thought leadership, and digitised versions of the conferences which are delivered via online knowledge sharing platforms that provide ongoing digital education and professional development.
Digital MBAs which continuously upskill the franchisees in both local and global economies, and share with franchisees how they can win the digital minds and analogue hearts of tomorrow's customers across a variety of channels.
Mobile/smart phone friendly platforms and support for franchisees in the field to ensure continuous access to franchisor expertise and real time trouble shooting.
Continuous business coaching and analogue support by a franchisor mentor and thought leader who partners face-to-face and interface-to-interface to optimise the franchisee's possibility for business success.
You have the right to demand world class digilogue communications from your franchisor, to ensure they capture your imagination and empower you, in turn, to win the digital minds and analogue hearts of tomorrow's customer - the ultimate arbiter of your business success.