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Dotting the i's and crossing the t's.

Legal compliance image.

In many sectors, a brand’s local partners, whether branches, retailers, dealers, franchisees, or affiliates walk a tightrope with regard to regulations, rules and legal obligations.

Sectors involved with big ticket items that require finance such as automotive, estate agency or travel, as well as highly regulated sectors such as financial services, insurance, legal services and accountancy operate with a national network of franchisees, sales agents or brokers. The personal touch with customers that a local agent can add comes with one or two difficulties, alas.

Compliancy hangs over their every move. And, so it should.

Thankfully, long-gone are the days when outrageous claims and near-fraudulent practices were the norm. A number of government-sponsored authorities now police these spaces, and transgression can be very costly.

It’s not just these business sectors that are affected, either. Any business that sells its products with the support of a financial product is also subject to the rules. A new fridge on interest-free credit? An extended warranty or servicing plan on your boiler? Insurance and financial regulations will require any marketing material to be legally compliant.

So what are the sins?

There’s only one ‘compliancy’ sin when it comes to local marketing – abandonment.

When a brand abandons its network of local partners, agents, partners and retailers to fend for themselves (and walk that tightrope alone) it’s asking for trouble:

•    Penalties for non-compliance can be targeted at both the agent or store AND the brand.

•    Lack of confidence on compliancy rules can limit local marketing activity or drive repetition of activity known to be compliant (yawn!)

•    Non-compliant activity can seriously tarnish the brand, unforgivable in the age of the ‘online reviewer’.

•    HQ could be swamped with compliancy queries from the network, ‘specially when campaigns or terms are changed, say at quarter-end.

Redemption can be found in correctly training your network. If they know what to do and how to do it, none of the problems would come to pass.

There’s a slight issue with training in the traditional sense though. Legislation is changing constantly, and often, so is a brand’s network of partners. It’s almost impossible to find a balance.

Having a website that hosts up-to-date training modules that can be attended remotely, along with video or PDF ‘How-To’ guides can solve most of the problems.

But to make a real difference, it makes so much sense to deploy a fully-functioning Local Marketing Hub with a strong agency team on-board in these sectors. Yes, they can create and host the training modules and ‘How-To’ guides, but compliance issues are all but eradicated by providing a suite of  great local marketing templates.

It means that the brand can be in control of the content that requires compliancy, and still allow the local partners to personalise the areas that the brand allows them to.

It’s not even a compromise, everybody is happy and everybody can be sure that no rules have been broken.

To make matters even better, a Local Marketing Hub can integrate or be part of the CRM platforms that local partners in these sectors are likely to be using to make marketing workflows seamless.

Imagine… a confident network marketing freely, with no compliancy issues or sign-off queues and all creating consistent customer journeys. Heaven, at local business level! Get in touch to find out how we do it.

Or alternatively read more about Local Marketing on our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog

#marketing #branding #localbusiness 

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