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Maintaining brand cohesion among multiple store locations

Maintaining brand cohesion among multiple store locations

Managing one store on its own is difficult enough, but retailers who have several franchises really have their hands full. Running multiple store locations is like managing a successful music career. A performer wants to have a unique sound that is identifiable in every one of his or her songs, but doesn’t want each and every tune to sound exactly the same. This applies to your many outlets – each store under your brand name should have its own “feel” while still reflecting the overall personality of your business. Here are some ways you can help maintain cohesion, even when you are running a multi-unit operation.

Establish a flagship
The first order of business is to establish a flagship store. This may be the first location you opened, your largest store, the shop that pulls in the most business or the one that is the most up-to-date. Choose the location that you think will be the best “role model” for the rest of your shops. Managers at non-flagship locations should be able to look to your primary store for examples on how to maintain an overall theme and look. If you are the sole owner of your business, then your flagship store should be the one in which you spend the most time.

Open lines of communication
Whether your stores are all within the same city or spread out across the country, you must establish a strong line of communication, so you can get the word out about new sales, promotions and other features of your business. You can use email, social media or press releases to manage your interaction with managers at distant locations – just be certain that you are able to disperse information quickly and efficiently, with minimal breakdowns.

Creating a base theme
While your stores will likely change their display tables and wall racks depending on the season, you should strive to have a base theme that shoppers will recognize no matter what location they visit. One way to do this is to purchase the same or similar store fixtures for every outlet.

Allowing for creativity
While a base theme is essential, you should allow the managers and staff at each individual location to inject a bit of their own personality into their outlets. Customers will appreciate getting to know the different adult and child mannequins or other display items each store has, and they’ll likely pick a favorite that they’ll return to time and again.