Bad news travel faster

You’d better believe it!  

And these days it’s not just word of mouth you have to worry about. The likes of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook never sleep. Boundaries have been broken down and now anyone can (and will) share their views and experiences with others, be it good, bad or ugly.

We often make the mistake of thinking that we’re smarter than the people we’re selling to. Fall into this trap at your peril. Today’s buyers are savvy and are on the lookout for any hint of negativity or unrest in the network or potential problems with the product or service they’ll be expected to provide.

What is bad news?

Different issues cause concern for different people so ‘bad news’ can mean one of many things. Disgruntled franchisees, dissatisfied customers, poor sales, a stagnant network. None of it is a laughing matter and ALL of it is guaranteed to have a negative impact on your franchise recruitment and growth.

Things go wrong, they’re bound to from time to time. Addressing them quickly and directly is crucial for a positive resolution. Particularly if it’s initiated publicly. The key in this situation is not to panic and not to let emotions rule common sense or good business strategy. Dealt with correctly, even a mistake can be turned into a positive PR effort.

PR = Public Relations, so remember:

Be polite at all times: rudeness will immediately damage your brand and reputation. Be polite, not condescending and try to genuinely relate to the party feeling injured to understand what went wrong and how you can fix it.

Respond with facts: this can’t be stressed enough. Facts and facts only. Not opinion and not an emotional response other than to express an apology for inconvenience. Respond with what you know, not what you assume.

Apologise if you got it wrong: crucial for public image. Know when to say sorry. You’ll be amazed at how this can diffuse a situation.

Small gestures go a long way: be seen to be trying to put the situation right. Money isn’t always the answer. Understanding your customer profile will help you to offer a solution that will be best received.

When managed correctly, these resolutions are just as powerful as your good news and success stories. They clearly demonstrate that as a brand and as a franchisor you are open, honest and, most importantly, care about those that you do business with.

You could be forgiven for wondering how this fits into your franchise recruitment strategy. Well, the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what you’re spending on print, exhibitions, online listings or eshots in order to entice prospects into your pipeline. If things fall down at due diligence stage then it’s been a waste of money, pure and simple.

Contact us at spark@revpr.co.uk to find out more about managing and utilising PR to rev up your franchise recruitment.

Good news travels fast

But do you know how to harness the most powerful recruitment tool available to you?

Good news and success stories are incredibly useful for franchise recruitment and also to maintain a buoyant consumer market. It’s as close to stating the obvious as we’ll get but being able to take a step back and identify the positives in your network is something that a lot of franchisors tell us that they struggle with.

It’s a simple concept that’s not always easy to execute. In order to progress smoothly and with any real pace or purpose, prospects need to see and hear relevant positive stories at every stage of the recruitment process. Here are a few easy tips to help you to do just that:

Give them a reason to compliment you: believe it or not, a happy by-product of social media is that people are more inclined to offer praise and compliments when they have a great experience. So give them one! Ensure your social media forms part of your PR campaigns, interact with prospects and customers without trying to sell to them. You’ll be amazed what comes out.

Blow your own trumpet: franchisee smashed their sales target? Products won awards? Helped a family achieve their ‘mortgage free’ dream? Shout about it. Press releases and case studies should be used to promote these positive stories at every stage of the process. Being able to identify with an existing franchisee and see themselves emulating that success is one of the most powerful tools of persuasion for converting a prospect.

Make it about them, not you: people will buy because of what your brand can do for them. Not you. It’s great if you’ve had multiple sign ups or beaten your own targets but that shouldn’t be the main focus for your PR. Instead focus on how those that have already bought your franchise have benefitted and how those who haven’t yet, stand to.

Happy customers = happy franchisees: What makes a happy customer? Great products and great service. Your franchisees will undoubtedly be providing both so you need to help them really get ahead by pushing that message out to the rest of the world. Linking consumer PR to franchise recruitment is a trick some franchisors are still missing. Boosting brand awareness amongst target consumers will ultimately lead to more sales for franchisees. And have you met a franchisee with a profitable, growing business who is likely to give negative feedback to anyone at due diligence stage? Didn’t think so.

So what am I saying today? Using PR effectively is about more than just understanding what you need to say; you have to know when to say it too. So, remember to look for those positive stories. And once you have them, feed them into focused PR campaigns that hit prospects in the right place at the right time.

To make the most of the successes happening within your network (or to get help finding them!) contact us for more information at spark@revpr.co.uk

PR that pays its dues

How can PR really make a difference to a franchisor’s peace of mind? Well, do you ever get that niggling feeling when a prospect gets to due diligence stage? Maybe you’re not quite sure what mood your franchisees will be in when they get that call from your prospect? Will they rave about the business and their success or not?

If you have faith in your recruitment process, have the best franchisees in your network, communicate well between you and have a great product or service, then there is just one more thing you need to complete the jigsaw – sales. Sales come from brand awareness and customers feeling the need to buy – so how do you draw those customers in?

We’ve all heard the facts and a recent Neilsen survey said that 84% of global respondents across 58 countries still consider word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family as the most influential driver for them to buy. Closely linked with personal recommendation are online consumer reviews at 68% and editorial content such as newspaper articles at 67%.

So the next question is, how do you get your brand recommended, in consumer reviews and published in the media?

PR gets people talking about you! Decide on the story you are going to tell about your brand and then get telling it! Send it everywhere: blogs, social media, print and online press, broadcast media – anywhere that you customers will get to hear it. Refer back to my blog “PR Power” to get more ideas on what your story could be and how to tell it.

And don’t forget, you can’t build brand awareness with a one-hit wonder! Many people think of PR as huge stunts, events or a single press release but an effective PR campaign is much more than a single activity. You need to plan your PR campaign for the long-term, repeating your brand messages in fun, engaging and informative ways.

And to all those media salesmen out there who wish to battle their corner – don’t worry! Traditional print advertising is actually gaining in trust by consumers – in 2011 a similar Neilsen study showed 56% of respondents trusted this form of advertising “completely” or “somewhat” whereas latest figures show this has increased to 61%. In fact, my advice is not to cut out advertising and replace solely with PR, it is just to distinctly separate the two so they are clearly defined and work well as a combination of complimentary marketing and PR activities.

Contact us to find out how you can rev up your PR.

The biggest mistake in franchise lead conversion

Time kills conversations. There, we said it!

For better or worse, we’re living in the age of ‘now’. It’s a time of ‘instant’, of ‘on-demand’ and ‘on-the-go’. We’re no longer tied to our desks, offices, homes or even our computers to do business, conduct research and say YES.

There’s no escaping the fact that digital and social platforms have built an expectation amongst consumers (that includes your prospects remember!). An expectation that their immediate needs for information and contact can be gratified… instantly.

FACT: Response time is key on initial franchise conversations

Yet many franchisors tell us that they struggle to keep up with this insatiable desire by prospects who want a more social and interactive response to their enquiries. Sound familiar?

You’re certainly not alone but you do need to rev things up. Here are a few crucial points to help you move into the fast lane:

Respond instantly: No more setting time aside once or twice a week to sift through enquiries. Respond in kind as soon as that lead hits. You don’t need to be sending war and peace, it’s the contact that counts. Say hello, say thank you and offer a few nuggets… take it from there.

Get personal: Don’t be a robot. Auto-response is easy but a prospect will appreciate the time taken to respond in a way that shows you’re a person and that you understand they are too. Consider personalised video responses for a ‘wow’ factor.

Follow their lead: Ensure your method of communication mirrors that of your prospect. If they’ve chosen to email you, that’s where they feel most comfortable so don’t expect to pick up the phone for a chat just yet. Email them back to open dialogue.

The takeaway here is that response time is key. You can be sure that if you aren’t following up on your leads promptly and enthusiastically, someone else is.

For more advice on how to revive your lead handling process or for an experienced hand to take things up a gear, contact Dan Archer at spark@revpr.co.uk

PR Power

Have you ever thought about public relations and how it can make a difference in your business?

PR campaigns can help raise the profile in your business and can be seeded with messages to increase consumer purchases or franchise sales – or both!

Public relations is all about communicating with your public audiences so all you need to do is decide who you want those audiences to be and create a campaign that will captivate and cause a reaction. Sound simple? It’s something that we specialise in at Rev PR so here are just a few pointers to start your own PR power campaign:

  1. Identify your target audience
  2. What message do you want to communicate?
  3. How do you want your audience to react?
  4. Brainstorm some fun ways to engage them through suitable media platforms – they can be as whacky as you like as you can always make them practical later!
  5. Who can you get involved to help spread the campaign far and wide?
  6. What can you put in place to make your audience response measurable?

There are so many different ways to create a campaign. Here are just a few to start you off:

  • Competitions
  • Sponsorship
  • Celebrity endorsements
  • Affiliations with charities
  • Surveys and their results.

If you’d like to find out more about how we create PR campaigns then please contact us

How to utilise PR to generate franchise leads

It was once believed that PR didn’t generate franchise leads and it was placed at the nicety not necessity end of the franchise marketing spectrum. Then franchisors started getting smart with how they reviewed their lead sources.

In today’s consumer-savvy marketplace, more and more franchisors tell us that brochures, flyers and online listings just aren’t cutting it when it comes to engaging quality prospects and that great storytelling is the key to improving their lead conversion ratios.

PR is now considered one of the most effective franchise recruitment tools. So, how can you utilise it to your advantage?

  • Be everywhere they look: it is well known that a prospect needs to see your brand at least seven times before they will engage with you and in the case of buying a business, this is likely to be much higher. Regular, positive PR ensures that no matter what the media channel, a consistent brand message that supports your USPs can always be found. When a prospect is ready to make a decision, you’ll be first in line.
  • Set yourself as the expert: contributing to or producing your own bespoke expert editorial pieces is a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors. Giving non-salesy, valuable advice will cement you as the industry expert in the eyes of your prospects. And let’s face it, who are they more likely to buy from?
  • Recommendations: only 14% of consumers trust advertisements. Trust in peer recommendation on the other hand tops a staggering 90%. Don’t think this trend is limited to consumer products and services. Your franchise needs to be represented by your prospects’ peers in the form of case studies and PR with strong testimonials.

As you’ve no doubt experienced for yourselves, online leads are down and something else is driving those all-important enquiries. That something else is the trust, credibility and brand awareness generated by a comprehensive and strategic PR campaign for your franchise opportunity.

Look for the great stories in your network and find a way to tell them in an engaging and newsworthy way. Understanding what matters to your ideal prospects and how to communicate with them will significantly boost your recruitment efforts.

Contact us to find out more about using PR to rev up your franchise recruitment.

Harnessing the power of your consumer brand to aid franchise recruitment

No matter what sector your franchise operates within, consumer public relations that promotes your product or service is a great strategy to reach your prospective franchisees. A lot of franchisors tell us that some of their best franchise leads come from referrals and, in particular, those who have been customers of the brand.

Here are just a few reasons why consumer PR can revive the growth of your franchise network.

  • Generates awareness: providing newsworthy information to target media raises the profile of the brand, its benefits to the customer and allows the seed to be sown about the franchise opportunity itself.
  • Establishes trust and credibility: customers will begin to recognise your brand as long as you keep your messaging consistent. Highlighting just a few key benefits within your PR will create a brand identity that starts to harness brand loyalty. Franchises with loyal customers are always going to be a more attractive option to a prospective franchisee. The media savvy general public understand the difference between advertising and PR. Brands pay for advertising but editors publish or broadcast PR for free – clearly one is more credible than the other.
  • Creates “buzz”: according to Nielsen’s global research on consumer trust in what is known as “earned advertising” more than 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family and anywhere from 20-50% of purchases are the result of word-of-mouth. Clearly, consumer PR can be a catalyst for franchise referrals and that positive buzz must be an essential part of your recruitment strategy.

So, consumer PR for your brand has a two-fold result that many franchisors should consider – especially when their consumer and franchise recruitment teams can often be working as two completely separate teams. Get more customers and receive more of those quality franchise referrals by combining your PR efforts.

Contact us to find out more about harnessing the power of your brand for franchise recruitment.

Rev PR opens its doors for business

We’re pleased to announce the arrival of Rev PR, the PR company that moves your brand forward through effective PR campaigns and marketing activities. Our team has over 30 years of experience in the franchise industry in the UK and USA, making a real difference in the growth of their franchise networks and businesses as a whole.

UK franchise industry experts Lucy Maisey and Sally Anne Butters have been joined by Brad Fishman of US franchise PR giant, Fishman PR. Our collaboration brings a drive to help franchise brands gain momentum in their desired markets. Contact us to find out more!