Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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‘How do we as franchisors stay relevant so we’ll continue growing?’

Q: We attended your presentation at the International Franchise Conference of the PFA (Philippine Franchise Association) last July 18 at the SMX Convention Center. We learned a lot from you on your topic, “How to Stay Relevant and Competitive.” But you had to shorten your presentation of each of the two portions because you were given only 30 minutes to present.

In fact, you did not complete the first portion. That’s because the session moderator stopped you from finishing when the clock signaled your 30 minutes were over. Then in the Q&A, the first question from the audience was a request that you be given additional minutes to cover the second portion. The moderator reluctantly agreed but as you were trying to give just the highlights of that portion dealing with how franchisors can stay competitive, again the moderator stopped you when you were exceeding your time.

Our group of attending franchisors decided that we will e-mail you to request if you can please give us a written summary of your ideas about those two real concerns of ours, how as franchisors we can stay relevant and competitive.


A: We share your sense of frustration but we really have no valid reason to put all the blame on our session moderator. He was just doing his assignment and job.

We actually believe we should be grateful. At least that conference gave us the opportunity to share useful and practical ideas. We also are fortunate to have this column as a means for filling up the gaps we don’t want to remain unfilled or, worse, to widen.

In this present column, we have space that’s enough for only the first issue of how franchisors can stay relevant. We’ll take up the other issue of how to stay competitive next Friday.

So let’s go directly to the question of how you as franchisors can be relevant. There are two basic questions about relevance: (1) relevant to whom and (2) relevant for what.

To any marketer, asking the question of staying relevant to whom has a give-away answer. That, of course, is staying relevant to your TMS (Target Market Segment).

The answer is easy if you have, to begin with, already correctly identified your market segments in terms of, for example, their specific needs not only in socio-economic-demographic terms. Consider the case of CDO’s very successful San Marino Corned Tuna.

Because we could not directly find out how that product was developed and how the specific market need segment was identified, our students resorted to applying the archaeologist’s “Deconstruction Research” technique that we taught them. The need segment identified was “fish eaters who used to be meat eaters like corned beef.”

Now here’s the next question of “relevant about what?” That’s relevance about the priority value or values that consumers in this market need segment want in the fish they eat. Insighting this priority value can come out of asking this simple gap-identifying question: “As a fish eater now but as a meat eater before, what is it that you miss most in eating meat, such as corned beef that you somehow wish you’d taste in fish?”


So what did our students’ application of the archaeologist’s deconstruction research technique reveal? It showed that these fish eaters who used to be corned beef eaters were after the tuna health benefits but also wishing they can still enjoy in their fish the corned beef taste. Just imagine that you threw this distinctive consumer value idea to your product development people and then challenged them to translate this product concept into a physical and sensory tangible product. They won’t require rocket science to eventually come out with the “corned tuna” product!

But you may ask (as we’ve also been asked by our own students): “Isn’t CDO a predominantly canned meat maker? So why would they first think of a fish-eating need segment? Why not go first for corned beef eating market need segments.” The question is a research question.  So we threw it back at our students and asked them to apply deconstruction to get a good answer.

Deconstruction identified this specific market need segment:  “Hypertensive corned beef eaters who have been advised by their cardiologists to shift to fish diet.” Then on to the next question of “relevant about what the priority value or values that consumers in this market need segment want in the corned beef they eat.  Insighting this priority value can come out of asking a similar question as in the case of fish eaters who were formerly meat eaters.  Here’s that adapted question: ‘As a corned beef eater who has been prescribed to shift to a fish diet, what is it in fish that you’d wish you’d find in meat?’”

So what did our students’ application of deconstruction uncover? They found that corned beef eaters in need of shifting to a fish diet can’t seem to let go of corned beef taste but wished they can get from corned beef the tuna health benefits. The recommendation? You guessed right: “Come out with a tuna corned beef.”

An animated class discussion ensued on how to choose between corned tuna and tuna corned beef. We’re certain that you will readily appreciate how much technically easier and how much simpler it is for consumers to understand corned tuna over tuna corned beef. We think that’s what happened … if ever there was that choice.

On how to undertake a valid but cost-effective deconstruction research for new product development, you may want to consult Brand Ideas Inc. (a boutique advertising and branding agency). We’ve given this agency’s IEs (Insighting Executives) an intensive deconstruction research training extended to actual implementations.

Keep your questions coming. Send them to us at or God bless!

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TAGS: Business, franchise, franchisors, International Franchise Conference, Marketing, Philippine Franchise Association, staying relevant
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