Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Most "Liked" Franchises on Facebook

Back in April at FranCamp 2012, I spent a fair amount of time beginning the conversation of the advantage Big Brands have over Small Brands on Facebook.

Over the summer,  I took some time to do a down and dirty analysis of Franchised Brands' relative rank in Facebook "Likes" compared to their overall size, based on world-wide sales.  I'm not a researcher so this nothing scientific and you could have done it if you wanted to invest the time.

So since I did invest the time, here are the results of simply looking at the top 100 Franchised Brands from the 2011 Franchise Times report and looking at the number of "likes" they have on Facebook.

Some quick observations that may not be very surprising:

  1. Of the Franchise Times Top 100 Franchised Brands, 47 are Food concepts and they completely dominate the top "Liked" Franchised Brands.  
  2. 43 of the Top 50 "liked" Franchised Brands on Facebook are all Food.
  3. The Top "Liked" Non-Food brand is GNC with nearly 600,000 likes
  4. The ONLY other Non-Food brands in the Top 50 "Likes" are Ace Hardware, am/pm, Snap On Tools, Curves and  UPS Stores

Now here's where it got interesting for me.  What's the delta between the brand's rank in the Top 100 (again, based on system-wide world-wide sales) vs. their rank in Facebook "Likes"? 

Note:  I did not include the Lodging and Real Estate Brands in this analysis because, quite frankly, they're a mess.  Most of them have so many different local properties and franchisees with pages that I couldn't come to a simple conclusion on their aggregated "likes" without a ton more time invested (wasted).

Here's my analysis

It's interesting to see the biggest deltas between the Sales rank and the Facebook rank.  These brands are the top ten overachievers:

  • Krispy Kreme
  • Jimmy Johns
  • Five Guys
  • Hooters
  • Bojangles
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Zaxby's
  • Long John Silvers
  • Baskin Robbins
  • Steak N Shake 
Those restaurant brands that have opportunity to grow their "likes" based on their sales rank include:

  • KFC
  • Wendy's
  • Burger King
  • Tim Horton's

Since I started this blog post back in May and finished it in early August, I have another cut of the data that shows the growth of "Likes" for the top brands.   Generally, the growth per brand was between 5-8%.  Not bad for essentially 90 days.

What stood out was the growth that 5 brands enjoyed:

Chick-fil-A  -- Gained 1.1 million "likes" (+22.6%)

KFC  -- Gained 818,000 "likes" (+35.9%)
iHop --= Gained 581,826 "likes" (+33.3%)
Sonic -- Gained 496,962 "likes" (+33.4%)
Applebees -- Gained 592,000 "likes" (+23.7%)

and relatively small, but Red Robin added 164,985 new "likes", an increase of 44.1%

I wonder if the Chick-fil-A growth was due to its recent "Appreciation Day"?  But what about KFC??  Hasn't their marketing been more active recently?

Once again, here's my analysis including the growth.

All in all, this was an interesting project.  The leader of "Liked" Franchise Brands continues to be McDonald's with over 21 million "likes" followed by Subway with 15.6 million, Taco Bell (nearly 9 million), Buffalo Wild Wings (8.2 million) and Pizza Hut (8.1 million).

How's this compare to other brands?

The Top 5 product brands I was able to find are:

Coca-Cola - 46.5 million
Converse - 32.4 million
Starbucks - 31.2 million
Red Bull - 29.1 million
Oreo - 27.5 million

And to conclude, everyone pales in comparison to Lady Gaga who has over 53 million "likes".

If you would like a copy of the complete research, please email me at

And if you are working on your CFE (Certified Franchise Executive), we'll be sharing more about this at the ICFE Special Session on Social Media & Franchising, February 17, 2003 at the IFA's 53rd Annual Convention.


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