Why Your Franchise Needs a PR Strategy

24/04/2018 08:00 | Start a business

Franchise PR strategy article

Ask any business owner about the importance of having a robust business plan in place, and they'll tell you that it's essential to the success of every venture. But ask the same entrepreneurs if they have a PR strategy in place as part of their business plan, and not many can answer positively.

But by failing to have a PR strategy in place, you could be missing a trick. PR tends to be much less expensive than marketing but can be just as effective. It can provide your franchise with credibility and help you to distinguish your business from the 900 plus franchise brands that are currently operating in the UK.

Successful franchises can build positive awareness of their businesses which goes above and beyond the service they provide and the products they sell by implementing their PR strategy. You too could create a plan for PR activity, which will not only establish the tone for your brand, but that will increase media presence and improve social media engagement.

So, you can compete with the famous franchises by using PR to grow your business. Heres why your franchise needs a PR strategy.

Stories Sell

Telling your story can help deliver consistent brand messaging for your franchise. Share your journey of why you franchised your business and how youve arrived at where you are today. This will enable you to explain how your companys vision and values were established which in turn will differentiate you from your competition.

It doesnt have to be the most exciting story in the world, but youll inspire and attract your target customers with an honest account of your journey. So, whether your business was started from your spare bedroom or you decided to become your own boss after being made redundant; its a story worth telling.

Lets take the story of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Harland Sanders, or The Colonel as he was known, was 62 years old when he started to make a profit from his chicken recipe. Hed had many different careers but decided to start selling chicken from a roadside stop in Utah in the 1930s and began to find success. Now KFC is one of the most famous franchises in the world and is ranked the 5th largest franchise in Europe today.

Impressive as the KFC story is, franchise brands dont need the equivalent of The Colonel to appeal to prospective franchisees and potential customers. Telling your story, whatever it may be, will increase your brand recognition and generate more leads; which results in increased sales and projected growth.

Encourage testimonials

Successful franchises make the most of customer testimonials to help expand brand visibility, improve credibility, and if collected online, increase SEO authority from external links. This is the type of marketing that money can't buy, and if your customers are leaving testimonials on their social media accounts and websites, they're effectively doing your PR on your behalf.

Another way of getting others to do your PR work for you is to leverage the power of influencers. If theres an industry expert, celebrity or blogger that has a large number of followers, you could approach them to ask if theyd endorse your franchise. If they agree to do so, youll gain almost-immediate access to their audience, increasing your brand awareness significantly for next to no effort. Many famous brands use this approach but remember to choose your influencers carefully. If your chosen influencer is telling their audience how great your products are one day and then on the front page of the tabloids for all the wrong reasons the following day, it may not be great for business.

Give your marketing campaigns a local feel

As a franchisor, you may choose to charge your franchisees an advertising fee, just as many other franchise brands do. The contribution that your franchisees make to your marketing fund enables you to produce nationwide campaigns which generate a considerable amount of brand awareness for the entire franchise network.

But what's equally as crucial as nationwide coverage, is giving your franchise a local feel. Encourage your franchisees to subsidise your advertising with local marketing activity that is relevant to the area and target audience. Very often customers buy from people rather than brands so encourage your franchisees to play an active part in their local communities.

Urge your franchisees to sponsor a local sports team, volunteer at charity events, or hold regular networking events at their franchise premises. By doing activities such as this and then promoting them in local newspapers and radio stations, your franchisees visibility within their local markets will improve therefore increasing visits and sales.

But more than this, successful franchises understand that its not just the sales and profit made that matter; for the longevity and continued success of franchise brands, relationships must be built. This will result in a loyal customer base that returns again and again and becomes advocates and promoters of your franchise.

Take advantage of social media.

There are many different ways you can promote and market your franchise to raise brand awareness, but perhaps the most relevant and cost-effective method is to use social media. Targeted social media campaigns are an essential element when developing your brand authority. The power of social media will enable you to reach new customers and build your brands reputation.

You can choose different platforms depending on what your objectives are. For example, Facebook is great for engaging with customers, whereas Twitter gives you the opportunity to express your brand personality. Instagram is an excellent platform for influencers to endorse your products, while LinkedIn is more suitable for business-related content.

Each piece of content shared should have a purpose and be informative and interesting. Most importantly your content should always reflect your brand image. Be creative, produce the content that your customers want and dont be afraid to be different.

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