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Most Successful Marketing Programs

The most successful marketing programs are the ones that are integrated and consistent across multiple channels, where there is a brand message that is supported at the local level. These are programs that may be developed by corporate marketing, which are enthusiastically embraced by the franchisees and supported with their individual or market co-op time and money.


Small System Marketing Programs

Even small systems can find efficiencies in corporately developed creative campaigns and social/web content that are locally implemented, whether through social channels, web pages, blogs or radio spots. Larger systems can realize considerable buying efficiency when the markets are sufficiently covered to support national traditional or digital media buys.


Reasons for Joining a Franchise

They are entrepreneurs who have started their own business within a franchise concept to leverage the benefits of an existing brand, processes, supply chain optimization, technology systems, marketing power and other factors.


Local Store Marketing

In a franchise system, it is often the case that different locations require different approaches. What works for one location from an advertising perspective may not work in a different region or even with a different local owner. This could involve the offers or discounts being run across different locations, the creative, or even the terminology used.

At the local level, managing Facebook advertising can be a complicated and time consuming process. (Boutique Window)

The balance between local ownership and innovation vs. organizational consistency and efficiency. It is finding this proper balance that makes implementing an effective brand strategy.


Power of Franchising

In our experience, the real power of franchising comes from balancing these seemingly conflicting objectives in order to:

Use the overall size and footprint of the business to achieve economies of scale, out-maneuver local and national competitors and share best practices across the company
Leverage the franchisor’s knowledge of the business and ability to provide cross-company support and resources
Capitalize on franchisees’ knowledge of their markets and empower them to innovate and explore new ideas


Diverse ideas and local Facebook budgeting is a strength, not a weakness

A wide variety of ideas coming from a motivated team is something most companies can only dream of. As a franchise company, you have this capability built-in. The trick is in putting in the appropriate approach to unlock that potential without the result being that everyone runs off in different directions.

We do this with our collaborative and participative approach!


National digital ad strategy with local flexibility

(This is how we operate)

In our experience, a hybrid approach works very well for franchise organizations looking to optimize their Facebook advertising. In this approach, the head office sets the overall campaign strategy and develops the campaign creative (images, photos) and copy. However, instead of developing just one set of generic ads that are used across all locations, in a hybrid approach the national marketing team creates a variety of ad options in order to allow franchisees to have several options to ensure the marketing is pertinent to their customers and local approach. In the best systems, the ad copy itself has some degree of flexibility to allow for variation by location. The more local the copy and relevant the advertisement is, the more effective the approach.

Although the ads may have several options and are localized, they are all still part of the same overall campaign approach. This enables greater coordination and effectiveness across the organization without compromising local flexibility. In this system, the franchisor is able to provide support to their franchisees to aid in their success, while franchisees are able to choose the ads that apply best to them and, where possible, even customize some of the ad copy for their location.


Franchisor Responsibilities

Coordinate the overall campaign strategy:
• Collaborate with the franchise network to surface ideas
• Planning around events (ex: holidays, black Friday, etc.)
• Campaign themes / approach

Develop on-brand campaign creative:
• Ensure logos and images are on-brand and of high quality
• Images are cropped and sized properly for the ad units being used
• Copy is on-brand, of high quality and in the right tone

Provide infrastructure support
• Provide processes and technology to enable easy campaign implementation for franchisees in a way that does not diminish their local flexibility


Franchisee Responsibilities

Develop and execute on local strategy
•Generate local campaign ideas and collaborate with the head office team
• Use the elements from the overall campaign that make sense for the market
• Augment the campaign with organic social media and other tactics

Customize and implement the local campaign
• Use campaign assets developed by the franchisor to accelerate implementation and reduce setup costs
• Determine an approach for the local market (specific offer, incentive, etc.)
• Ensure local terminology is utilized (avoid “generic looking” ads)

Employ technology to lower cost and increase speed


Marketing Opportunities for Continuous Improvement

Analyze overall results and share best practices
• Review campaign performance across the network to provide data analysis and strategic review
• Communicate results with franchisees and share learnings


Advertising Fund Defined

Advertising fund that pays for the development and placement of ads for the company.

In a small system, it would not be responsible to use the limited funds for placement of National Ads.

First off, an advertising fund is standard. We are not an extensive marketer or advertiser, so we employ a minimum advertising fund to develop local marketing materials.

Every franchisee comes into the system knowing they will be contributing to the advertising fund and what the fund can be used for. It's in our FDD very clearly and in our Franchise Agreement.


Cause Marketing: 3Strands

If you Google 3Strands, it has an awareness and direct association with Apricot Lane Boutique that helps provide sustainable jobs for girls who have been rescued from human trafficking; All on Country Visions dime!


How does the advertising fund benefit the system?

It provides a consistency in our marketing/advertising programs that we provide to franchisees to implement.


How does it benefit your franchisees?

They don't have to develop their own programs. They have programs that are consistent throughout the system available to them.

(Know all our services)

We are always improving on consistent and flexible programs which is our strength


Many franchise systems don't have an advertising royalty. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

The fee is not income to the franchisor--it's used to finance a franchisor-led marketing effort designed to benefit all stores in all markets of the system.

Without a marketing fund, there's a high probability systemwide marketing won't be developed. Most good franchise systems have an Advertising Fund!

If an advertising fund fee didn't exist, it would indicate to me that the franchisor hasn't thought through the system's needs or is not willing to lead such an effort.


How much of an opportunity do the franchisees have to contribute their ideas or thoughts?

From our inception we have always appreciate our franchisee's feedback and comments, in fact, we created a program called Brainstorming Meetings for franchisees to participate in the conceptual development of our major seasonal campaigns.


Understanding Advertising Fees

Advertising creates name recognition so that all franchisees may benefit.

It is not considered income of the franchisor but rather funds collected "in trust" for a specific purpose.


What is a brand?

A name, design, symbol that is created by a particular company


What is branding?

Is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to promote a company or product


What is Brand Awareness?

Refers to the extent to which customers are able to recall or recognize a brand.


Pantone Colors

A standardized color matching system.


Lancaster Stores

Mobile AL
Spanish Fort AL
Baton Rouge LA
Baton Rouge 2 LA
Lafayette LA
Lake Charles LA
Mandeville LA
Metairie LA
St. Louis MO
Hattiesburg MS


What is Apricot Lane Boutique?

Apricot Lane Boutiques are a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, uniquely designed and merchandised with the latest Fashion Apparel, Jewelry, Handbags, Accessories and Gifts in the styles and trends customers are looking for.

Stylists in every store are ready to cater to the needs of Apricot Lane’s customers to create an individualized shopping experience. From a relaxed sitting area, guests feel as if they are shopping in their friends' closet. Personalized attention and style tips offered by the friendly knowledgeable staff help to maximize everyone’s own individual look.


What is Trade Dress

A legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the design of a building) that signify the source of the product to consumers. Trade dress is a form of intellectual property.


What is a Boutique?

A small store selling fashionable clothes and accessories.


Our Support

Support, knowledge and services are expansive. The knowledge is over the years of developing the ·brand.· The support starts with pre-opening support. ·We help them with resources for lease negotiation, ·for the build-out and putting together the entire ·store.· It starts with the home training program that ·they can do at home.· It follows up with a corporate ·training program that's a week-long in Vacaville. ·One of those days while they are in Vacaville, they ·go to Los Angeles to meet the fashion buyer in the LA ·fashion district.· It follows up with corporate ·on-site training, as we've discussed.· Ongoing ·support through advertising, marketing, industry, ·trends, buying, discounts, using leverage of the ·brand. · We also outsource to a group called Cambeo ·Group that we hired so that all of their resources -- ·they are a retail consulting group.· We pay for them ·entirely, no charge to our franchisee.· So they have ·free consulting through that group in retail ·operations, marketing, financial, buying, HR.· All of ·those resources are provided to them.· · Our continued support in continuing education, ·franchise conferences.· We do webinars every other ·month on a frequency.· We do webinars on their·primary marketing campaigns.· We give them support of the entire staff of Country Visions. · Our operations manuals, our procedures or ·processes.· Field visits upon request.· And we do ·exclusive buying opportunities during Magic where our ·franchisees can have a private showing from the· vendor and miss the craziness of Magic and all the ·other retailers the following day.
We have visual merchandising, training and
·support and resources both in manual and support in ·the store, if they would like it.


Brand Identity

The Apricot Lane name, logo and trademarks distinguish our stores and products from those of other businesses and retailers. Maintaining this positive and consistent image builds the brand equity for your store and the others in the franchise network. This identity is a combination of store displays and signage, merchandise selection, pricing,
good customer service and advertising promotional/materials. Country Visions has
worked diligently to build the Franchise’s identity over the years.

Today, “Apricot Lane” represents many lines of fashion and accessories and gifts. We
strive to have quality products and excellent customer service. Although our store does
appeal to an upscale customer (higher income and education levels), our primary target
is mainstream America. In some areas, a secondary market includes tourists who
appreciate fast fashion trends out of the L.A. Fashion District.
In order to maintain our invaluable brand image in your area and across the nation, we
ask that all advertising production be done through the Country Visions marketing
department. If you choose to produce advertising locally, please submit the
materials to Country Visions marketing department for review prior to its
distribution for final approval.



Has a Marketing Analysis feature that enables the franchisee and their staff to track campaigns and promotions.


Apricot Lane Brand Guidelines

Trademarked Logos and formats - horizontal and stacked; black and added spotted color on the leaf; spacing, sizing, placement; proper backgrounds.

Typefaces - Despeinada; DINCond-Light and Bold; Proxima Nova and Proxima Nova Condensed - Light, Regular and Bold; Century Gothic; when to apply and use each font;

Color Palette - charcoal gray, coral, teal, chartreuse; light gray; light pink

Design Elements - certain graphics and their usage

Photography - Styles and layouts


Store Location Webpage

As part of our apricotlaneboutique.com website, we provide a store location webpage for each location that enables them to provide all the store's information, social feeds, background information, and an employee application that goes directly to the franchisee.


New $10 Off Certificate Campaign

For All Apricot Lane Boutiques!
The time has arrived to launch one of the most exciting promotions to drive online customers into your store to make a purchase…and Country Visions will reimburse you for each $10 Off Certificate postcard you receive and validate.* That’s right, CV is paying for new customers to purchase in your store!

Here’s how it works:
Starting on Wednesday, December 10th, new online customers within a distance of 50 miles of an Apricot Lane Boutique will receive an official $10 Off Certificate card in their shipment that they can bring directly into your store to purchase any merchandise.

This $10 Off promotion will be entered into POSIM as a method of payment not as a discount that would normally affect your margins. In the beginning of each month, you’ll mail the official cards you collected to Country Visions and we’ll write you a check for the total!

Attached, please find Maryann's instructions on how to set up POSIM to properly enter in this $10 Off certificate and how to ring up the sale as a payment. We have also attached a Log In sheet that you can print and use. If you have questions or issues, please contact maryann@apricotlaneusa.com or erin@apricotlaneusa.com.