A Tale of Brand Compliance Rescue

A Tale of Brand Compliance Rescue


The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

Jake started his career as a general manager, working at his former employer’s fitness studio.  He connected with the community and ran the studio like a well-oiled machine.  Years went by and because Jake ran the studio so well, the community actually thought he was the owner.  He was proud of his frugality and ability to confront and fix anything without hiring a specialist.

The thought that Jake’s hard work and the sense of community that he built was going unnoticed by the owner was starting to eat at him.  Despite his hard work, at the end of the day, he was making more profit and building more brand equity for the owner of the fitness studio than for himself.

One day, Jake approached the owner with a proposition to buy the fitness business.  After some negotiation, they struck a deal and Jake was now the proud owner of the neighborhood health hangout spot.  Jake found that he had created and documented systems so well that the fitness studio ran like a well-oiled machine.   He shared the secrets to his success with some friends who worked downtown and they saw more potential in this individual location and Jake’s system and suggested that he build a franchise.

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

A decade went by in the blink of an eye – and during that time Jake built his franchise to 54 fitness studios.   Life was good.  After more than a decade, it was time to refresh the brand.  As part of “Jake’s Fresh Refresh”, he updated the brand guidelines and specified all of the new requirements that his franchisees would need as part of the refresh rollout.

Jake provided each of his franchisees with a huge binder that contained specifications on budget, brand standards, colors, sizes, manufacturers, placement, channel letter component colors, brick demolition tips and tricks, as well as landscape and workout regime changes.   The binder also contained vendor contact information where each of the new components could be bought and a list of approved sign vendors, installers, and a list of the required permits.  Although there were a lot of branded components that needed to be changed (9 external signs, 8 internal signs and the printing of new studio workout sheets), Jake felt confident that anybody could pick up his binder and follow the instructions to knock out the brand refresh in just a few months.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Jake’s altruistic sentiment was quickly crushed when franchisees started calling him.  Initially, they didn’t see how they could possibly run their fitness studios, order all of the rebranded items, coordinate sign vendors, pull permits, and teach new workout routines to their employees – and they were right.

Many of the fitness studio owners were also savvy business leaders and they figured they could ‘comply’ with the new brand standards by producing materials locally and hiring local handymen to install the signs.

“I Should Have Left ‘Well Enough’ Alone!

Jake was excited to start visiting the newly-branded locations.  Unfortunately, what he found instead was a disaster.   Of the handful of local studios that he visited, almost none complied with the new brand standards.   Signs were in the wrong places, manufacturered in the wrong colors, and in some cases, evidence of the previously removed sign was still visible.   Once inside, Jake found that even some of the new workout instructions were printed with the old logo.

“This will never do!” thought Jake.   “We invested all of this time and money and the end result is worse than before we ever messed with anything.  And on top of all that, our franchisees were pulled away from running their studios in order to do these tasks.  I should have known better.  No one was sitting around with nothing to do before we decided to rebrand.  How could I think they could take this on on top of everything else they were already doing?”

Light At The End of the Tunnel

Frantic, Jake and his team began scouring the internet searching for brand compliance rescue companies and anybody who understood their dilemma.  What he found was a video about a company called Implementix that could help them implement and maintain brand consistency across multiple locations:

  • Cost Certainty – research and up front planning guarantees a set price for the entire project
  • Supply Chain – qualified supply chain experts are vetted so the work is done right, by the right people
  • Execution – by managing the removal and installation of all assets through to completion, the brand is refreshed per the Franchisor’s exact requirements
  • Ongoing Management – identification and documentation of all branded assets are maintained on a cloud-based portal
  • Brand Compliance – Brand Guardians identify brand compliance gaps during changes or moves
  • Workflow Tasks – Brand guardians are able to create workflow alerts and corrective action tracking for brand compliance and usage issues

Even If You Are On The Right Track, You Will Get Run Over If You Just Sit There

At first, Jake was skeptical of a company that could make outrageous claims like guaranteeing the price per franchise unit but the clock was ticking and his brand was suffering every day that the old mismatched items were in place – not to mention the growing frustration of his franchisees.

Jake engaged Implementix and within 4 weeks, every single location in their system had the old assets removed and the new ones in place, exactly as Jake’s new brand standards specified:  interior and exterior signage as well as their marketing collateral.

The online compliance portal was an added bonus.  With one point of contact, the portal allowed Jake and his studio owners to share the burden of brand compliance so that everyone spent more time in their studios and less time on tasks that don’t generate any revenues for the system.



This article was contributed to the National Franchise Institute by Colin Thomas with Implementix  (888) 831-2536.