Should You Franchise With an International Brand?

When you see a franchise for sale that has the potential to go big globally, it feels like a perfect opportunity for growth and easy profit. But buying a franchise from an international brand could make things complicated, especially if there’s a gap in communication when it comes to politics, branding, or values. Even if you’ve done your research and still want to franchise a foreign brand, you have to make sure you’re prepared to put out some fires and take some risks. Like any franchise opportunity, it takes a lot of skill, strength, and savvy to get to the point where you’re making money rather than losing it. If you’re interested in expanding an international franchise in your city, here are some things to know.

Assess the Need for the Product in Your Country

Going global is more than the latest business trend. It’s a legitimate way to create a huge demand for a product in a number of different markets. For franchisees looking to expand, figuring out how well an international product or service will translate it their home country will help with establishing a new, yet consistent brand narrative. If you’re looking into bringing a foreign brand overseas, the first thing to figure out is whether or not the product has the potential to thrive in a completely different market. It doesn’t matter how good the product is or how trusted the brand is overseas. If it doesn’t translate for an American audience, it simply won’t survive. The best way to figure out where you stand is to run a few marketing studies and surveys with a test audience. You’ll be able to quickly get to the root of any misconceptions or negative ideas your customer base may have about a specific foreign brand right off the bat. Once you have your information, you can work to change the perception before franchising, or figure out a marketing strategy that will put you in a great position to tackle any criticism or opposition that might come your way.

Think About Foreign Rules and Regulations

International brands come with a lot of specific rules based on their home territory. If you’re going to be transporting a lot of product or simply working with franchisors in a different time zone, you’ll need to be prepared for some communication gaps. Get familiar with the business regulations in your franchisor’s country, and make sure the brand is cleared for jurisdiction in the U.S. before signing any paperwork. Doing as much research as you can about the brand and the product or services themselves will help you avoid costly mistakes in the future.

Consider Quality Loss and Quality Control

You may have gravitated toward a certain brand out of a love of what they do or the product they offer. However, it’s important to consider that bringing a brand overseas could result in a type of dilution of what they’re famous for. For instance, as one of the most famous franchises, McDonald’s exists as an easily-recognizable brand in cities and towns all over the world. However, to counteract the problem of quality control, each location has different menu items to reflect the local community or the cuisine of the country. If you know that you’ll need to make certain adjustments in order to sell the product to an American audience, think about creative ways that will allow you to do this without sacrificing quality or compromising brand identity.

Research the Brand’s History and Marketing Campaigns

Certain companies that thrive in their country of origin have a much harder time making it in the States. Whether this is due to cultural differences, political conflicts, or a checkered past, many businesses simply can’t find a way to gain traction with American consumers. If you’re interested in buying a foreign franchise, you’ll need to know every part of your company’s history as a brand. Spend some time researching brand publicity and coverage over the past few years both in the country of origin and in the United States. If you see anything that you know will be hard to spin, try to come up with a way to change the conversation, either through a great new marketing campaign or a press release that tackles the issue head-on. If an international brand seems stuck in the past, figure out a way to update its image in a way that will help engage a new audience. Whatever your brand has been through in the past now is the time to reckon with it so that you’ll have the advantage of starting with a clean slate.