Tuesday, May 6, 2008

When Franchise Branding Becomes a Crisis Situation

Today, Papa John's corporate had to apologize for the Lebron James t-shirt stunt. . . .

''The decision to do this was made by a local Washington, D.C., Papa John's operator without approval of Papa John's corporate,'' the company said in a statement. ''Nonetheless, we believe this was in poor taste and sincerely apologize to Cavalier fans and LeBron James.''

If a franchised outlet degrades the franchise mark or brand name it can hurt the entire company. Looks like Papa John's is feeling this hurt, at least in Ohio.

Looking at the Papa John's Pizza franchise page the operational structure is spelled out. Teams of experts are there to provide resources, and marketing strategies are in place beginning with the corporate level all the way to the regional level.

The Regional Marketing Directors provide support and assistance to franchisees in marketing plan development, assist with local store marketing efforts, evaluate and analyze marketing effectiveness and, in general, are a resource for franchisees for all marketing and advertising needs. They work closely with co-ops to help align regional marketing efforts with our national plan. They also assist with media planning, purchasing, and analysis.

Makes you wonder who decided to disregard corporate policy and do their own thing. Brand structure is very important and it must be followed. This lack of respect for the policy has become a crisis situation for Papa John's corporate. Now instead of being proactive, Papa John's corporate needs to be reactive. They are handling the situation with class and are doing what they can to save their brand. If handled properly this will soon become tomorrow's news. But for now, I'm sure someone in the D.C. regional area is feeling the heat.

Regional offices can all learn from this Papa John's case study. Brand strategies, standards and rules are made to protect not only the brand, but you too.

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