How Emerging Franchisors Come Out Fighting

How Emerging Franchisors Come Out Fighting

Aligning with an established concept is just one tactic advocated by Dan Henry, Tough Mudder Bootcamp’s director of franchise sales

As emerging franchisors, it can be extremely challenging to build brand awareness that leads to franchise sales – especially when entering new markets.

In my experience, I’ve learned that one of the most effective ways for emerging franchisors to bypass that roadblock is to align, or even co-brand, with a concept that already has established brand equity and brand power within the market.

For example, aligning Tough Mudder Bootcamp with the ‘Tough Mudder’ name and network of participants has not only been a key strategy in driving franchise sales, but it also differentiates the concept from other emerging fitness franchisors by connecting to an existing community of brand loyalists and links to their experiences.

Not all franchisors grow from a beloved consumer-facing concept, however, nor do they need such initial recognition in order to achieve success. Here are some tips for emerging franchisors on how to leverage brand power when entering new markets:

Don’t focus on building your brand, focus on building your community

Whether it be to a consumer or a prospective investor, at the end of the day, people always choose to invest their time, money and trust into people, not brands. The best way to strengthen brand power is to first establish brand trust. Build a rock-solid network of validators and/or partners who can put a human face and experience to your investment opportunity.

When a brand is positioned to be something bigger, such as a tribe of enthusiasts or lifestyle, people want to be part of it and there’s no stronger strategy than organic, authentic word-of-mouth marketing and validation.

Be an ‘established, emerging’ franchisor

It may sound like an oxymoron, but try to become an emerging franchisor that is already well known amongst consumers and potential franchisees alike.

Take the time necessary to comprehensively plan and strategically develop your franchise business model before you begin selling.

By allocating the adequate amount of time and resources necessary to iron out all wrinkles and potential growing pains beforehand, your first franchise locations will be set up for immediate success from launch and therefore become the first validators.

There’s a difference between an emerging franchisor and a new franchisor, and by perfecting the concept inside and out while lining up a toolbox of robust resources from the start, the value proposition of your franchise is immediately stronger.

Prove your brand power with the right people

As your franchise grows, it’s critical to get the right people on board. When it comes to franchisees, corporate team members or even partners and vendors, target those who strike you as early adopters that echo the passion and values of your founder and your concept.

That roster of innovative people will help lead the charge on building a robust growth strategy and brand power.


Dan Henry  is Director Of Franchise Sales, Tough Mudder Bootcamp. With more than ten years of sales and business development experience working with primarily emerging and resurgent brands, Dan Henry is attuned to the importance of building a brand both successfully and sustainably. As director of franchise sales for Tough Mudder Bootcamp, Dan combines his business intellect and experience in leveraging brand equity to spearhead domestic and international franchise growth for Tough Mudder Bootcamp franchise concept.

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