How PR can help your company grow

Rev PR are very pleased to be speaking at the British Franchise Association’s Women in Franchising conference on 16th November. We’ll be sharing the stage with Catriona Berry from Merry Maids to discuss using PR to raise your brand profile and how to deal with enquiries.

This blog is a quick intro to explain what PR is and why you should be using it in any business to support growth.

What is PR?

Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation and, in its most basic term, it is someone relating to their public. With PR, we aim to earn understanding, create discussions, and influence opinion and behaviour – whether focused on an individual or an organisation.

There are many activities a PR campaign can contain but they may include a pitch to a newspaper journalist, a celebrity-backed launch event, or an expert advice article like this one. One thing is for sure, PR works best when it is planned and a sustained effort is made to establish and maintain communication between an organisation and its public.

So, why do you need to think about including PR as a regular activity for your business? Every organisation, no matter how large or small, ultimately depends on its reputation for survival and success. Customers, suppliers, employees, investors, journalists and regulators can have a powerful impact. They all have an opinion about the organisations they come into contact with. These perceptions will drive their decisions about whether they want to work with, shop with and support these organisations.

Franchisors can use PR to build their brand, generate interest in their franchise opportunity with the right prospects and to support nation-wide sales. Franchisees and business owners can do exactly the same to generate interest in their product or service with consumers whether that be on a local, national or international basis.

In today’s competitive market, reputation can be a company’s biggest asset – the thing making you stand out from the crowd and giving you a competitive edge. Effective PR can help manage reputation by communicating and building good relationships with all of your stakeholders.

And woe betide you if what they think about you is negative, especially in these times of instant media gratification through social media – in a recent survey by Dimensional Research 54% of respondents who had shared a bad experience said they shared it more than 5 times! So, PR is also about reputation and crisis management which is another whole conversation – ask our resident crisis PR expert at #TeamRev, Sally if you want to be prepared with a crisis PR plan.

Want to know more?

For the ladies out there – I hope you can join us for the bfa event on 16th November. Our talk is suitable for anyone looking to grow their business and effectively deal with new business enquiries, not just franchisors. If you’re a woman in business who would like to become a supplier to the franchise industry or franchise your own business, you’ll get a great introduction to franchising from the whole event – more details here: https://www.thebfa.org/events/women-in-franchising-2017-2017-11-16

For the chaps – sorry you can’t come to this event but you can find more of our PR advice on our blog or you can contact us.

What is the value of PR? Well… what is the value of your reputation?

In the fickle world of business, your success or failure often hinges upon a somewhat unquantifiable metric: the relationships and reputation you have developed over time and now carry with you.

In today’s online marketplace, scorecards such as your net promoter level and the ratings achieved on sites such as TripAdvisor (or your industry equivalent) help prospects gain an insight into how trustworthy and expert you really are. But they do rely on an important element which is by no means guaranteed; the action of positive reviews and commentary by your clients.

Whilst many businesses are doing great things, in most cases, they will at some stage muck something up or be afflicted by factors beyond their control. The net result being that a client’s experience is less than perfect. It’s a sad fact that when anything like this happens, a far greater proportion of consumers will complain than those who offer praise or thanks when things are going swimmingly… and not to you!

In reality, you do hear about it when things go well. Clients contact you and say thanks or, if you are lucky, provide a pleasant missive via email or letter. If you are exceptionally lucky, they’ll talk about you on their social media or blogs. But more often than not, they’ll limit the audience for praise to the person who provided the service. After all, it’s nice to say thanks!

So, the balance of appreciation or damnation is decidedly private or public, in that order. But what if you wanted to change that?

That’s where PR comes in. The public showcasing of your brilliance and the ability to minimise coverage of your mistakes until there’s a solution to talk about, is becoming ever more important. Particularly as the channels for promotion and public flogging are that much more instant and effective than has ever been the case before.

The value? Well… what’s the value of a reputation? It might be more than you think…

Contact us to find out how we our PR services can help with reputation management.

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.