Retaining and Improving Brand Equity by Enforcing System Standards

September 23, 2004 Published Work
Reprinted with permission from the Franchise Law Journal (American Bar Association), Volume 24, Number 1, Summer 2004

Brand development is the process of creating in consumers' minds an image, an awareness, and a preference for a product or service. A franchisor typically invests enormous sums in its trademark or service mark and accompanying system, which guide the public to a particular product and service experience and assist franchisees with delivering that experience. Brand development will not be successful, however, until a franchisor ensures consistency across its system. As Barry S. Sternlicht, former Chairman and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., has said, "[a] brand is nothing if it is not consistent in its product and service." For every franchise system, "[c]onsistency is [the] challenge. Providing a great guest experience day after day is [the] solution. Consistency is the only way to keep the consumer's trust, and the key to trust is consistency."