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“Franchising” May Be More Dead Than I Thought

Scared Man

This past July, I wrote a fairly controversial article entitled “The Death of ‘Franchising.’” In it, I argued that the entire branding of our industry as a series of franchise opportunities was foolish, as empirical data showed a slow and steady decline of interest over the past seven years.

Since then, I’ve received lots of positive and negative feedback on that article. Some people seem to think that I undersold my point, while others pointed to the fact that overall interest may be waning but interest amongst the most important groups was increasing.

Well, I continue to believe in the point I made back in July and finally have another set of data to prove it.

“Franchising” is (once again)dead.

Last month FiveThirtyEight, the renowned prediction website run by Nate Silver put together a fantastic interactive entitled “How The Internet Talks.” * Well, the mostly young and mostly male users of Reddit, anyway. Essentially, the journalists put together a way for someone to compare the relative prevalence of words on Reddit, the ninth most popular website in the U.S.

(We actually wrote about Reddit for franchises way back in the infancy of the Lead Generation Resource Center, you can check that out here.)

Anyway, let’s take a look at the same terms as we did last time. Here’s the chart for “Franchising”

2008-2015 Reddit Prevalence of

Not too shabby and even trending in the right direction. But here’s what happened when you compare it against “Entrepreneurship”

2008-2015 Reddit Prevalence of

Yikes! The picture gets pretty bleak, pretty quick. “Entrepreneurship” is 3-4x more popular. What about “Small Business?”

2008-2015 Reddit Prevalence of

Well now you can barely see the presence of “franchising.” And look, “small business” absolutely dwarfs “entrepreneurship.” (This is a finding contrary to Google’s data.)

And for good measure, here’s what happens when you add in “startup.”

2008-2015 Reddit Prevalence of

Unsurprisingly, it’s as if franchising doesn’t exist relative to startups.

Franchising isn’t dead as a model, but it’s dead as a doornail from a marketing perspective. People just don’t care about it, and it’s time for our industry to adjust.

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