Brazilian health and well-being franchise chains focus on personal care and innovation during the pandemic
Healthcare, one of the most crucial industries during the pandemic, has been undergoing a revolution in the past few months. The focus is on hospitals and urgent care centers, and health franchises are reinventing themselves and adapting to provide essential services safely. Applications, e-books, special offers, investment in digital media and new safety protocols are some resources used by franchise chains like Onodera, a company specialized in aesthetic procedures; Magrass, a brand dedicated to healthy weight loss; and Coife Odonto, a dental clinic franchise that started operating in China last March. Results have been extremely positive.
The chains mentioned above are members of Franchising Brasil, a sector project for the internationalization of Brazilian franchise brands carried out by means of a partnership between the Brazilian Association of Franchising (ABF) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).
Coife Odonto has 28 years of experience and over 200 operating units, and now it has decided to expand to the Asian market, which lacks that sort of service. Because the dental clinic franchise was in the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, it faced an extra challenge and had to make difficult choices. According to Rodolfo Magalhães, global CEO of the brand, giving up on opening the Chinese unit was never an option, so the support from the Brazilian team was crucial for the success of the business. “We took all the recommended and required safety measures and strictly followed all the safety guidelines the local government established, and we also learned a lot from observing how other businesses and people were acting during the pandemic”, says Rodolfo.
To go through the crisis, Coife Odonto also followed a series of internal steps that resulted not only in a successful business but also in the alignment between the Brazilian and the Chinese teams. “The ideal is to create a crisis management committee, focus on the solution instead of the problem, and promote the union and understanding among the managing board, employees and franchisees”, explains Rodolfo. “It’s also important to help raising the awareness of people by promoting safety and hygiene measures, because they will be crucial to ensure everybody’s safety even after the stabilization of the virus spread”.
For those interested in expanding to the Chinese market, Magalhães explains that participating in fairs and doing networking are basic requirements. In the case of Coife Odonto, the company identified a deficit of dentists in the country and studied projections — the population in China is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2030, with a middle class exceeding 400 million people. “Studying and understanding the cases from the segment in which your company operates to see how other companies dealt successfully with similar difficult situations in other countries and in Brazil is an excellent way of achieving the results you want. Then you just have to consider what is the best approach for your company and put it into practice”, he completes.
Founded in the city of Jundiaí, in the countryside of São Paulo, the Coife Odonto chain had 9 Seals of Excellence in Franchising awarded by the Brazilian Association of Franchising (ABF) and its team is composed of 2,200 professionals. Besides the Asian market, the franchise brand is currently investing in Portugal too, and now it has 1.4 million patients being served worldwide.
Body care during the quarantine period
Magrass is one of the largest franchise chains in Brazil dedicated to the healthy weight loss and has been operating for 11 years. Like many other businesses, the company had to reinvent itself during the pandemic. To fulfill the needs of its customers, the brand changed its way of providing services and went online, and since then it has been offering follow-up to its old customers and also attracting new ones via the Nutri Virtual application. Luiz Calado, managing director of the brand, states the market has a huge potential, especially in times like this, when staying healthy is crucial. In addition to the app focused on weight loss, the brand also made available to its customers e-books including healthy recipes, and the strategy has paid off already. “Company’s earnings increased by over R$ 300,000.00 just a few days after strategy implementation”, says Luiz.
Aiming at improving the connection with its franchisees and those interested in its products, the company launched the “Fadas Empreendedoras” (Entrepreneurial Fairies) project, which includes 5 thousand job opportunities. Direct employees of the company have been contacting online those interested in being part of Magrass to help them in this new venture, and online training has been also being offered to such professionals. “Universidade Magrass Franchising (Magrass Franchising University – UMF) became an amazing e-learning platform, thus bringing together franchisees and franchisor’s employees”, says the director. Luiz also states that, following the guidelines from healthy authorities from all parts of the world, the employees have been working from home.
“The most valuable piece of advice I can give you is: pay attention to the market now. Sometimes innovation opportunities have been right in front of you all the time, but you didn’t notice, and now they are more evident. Magrass has innovated but kept the essence and the purpose of the brand: to change lives!”, completes Luiz Calado.
Onodera Estética has also been a role model on how to keep the loyalty of old customers and get new ones during the pandemic. Since its units are temporarily closed, the brand started selling packages and vouchers that can be used by its customers as soon as stores are open again. On Mother’s Day the company gave 2,500 massage vouchers to its customers, including to healthcare professionals, for them to redeem the gifts after the quarantine period ends.
Showing the importance of communication, the brand has been keeping contact with customers via social media channels, like Instagram, for example, where it posts suggestions of what people can do at home to cope with this difficult moment.
Created in 1981, Onodera started its operations by providing aesthetic procedures and promoting self-care be means of dance classes, for example. In the year 2000, the company started its franchising process and expanded quickly. Now it has over 50 units spread over 10 states in Brazil.
About Franchising Brasil
Franchising Brazil is a joint project of the Brazilian Franchising Association (ABF) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), which aims to support the internationalization strategy of Brazilian franchise networks and their international commercial promotion. The initiative was designed to promote this recognized business model in the main international markets.