PR and comms plans – we’re always banging on about them to, well, anyone that will listen if we’re honest. The fact is, having a plan isn’t just sensible and a nice to have – in the busy and competitive world of franchise recruitment, it’s essential to have one in place.
At its most basic, a PR and comms plan is a way of knowing, as a brand, what you are saying, who you are saying it to, where and when. Simple, right? It should be. But so many brands are getting it wrong.
And so, in true Rev style, we’ve put together a no-nonsense guide on creating a PR and communications strategy tailored for franchise recruitment in the UK. This guide is designed to help you navigate through the complexities of franchise recruitment, leveraging national awareness dates, industry-specific events, and newsjacking techniques.
Let’s start at the very beginning.
In this dynamic and competitive market, understanding your target audience, whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, is key to successful recruitment. We’ll start our journey in January, a time of new beginnings and renewed focus, and explore both internal and external communications strategies.
Understanding your audience/s
Regardless of whether your franchise operates in a B2B or B2C end-user market, one thing remains the same – people buy from brand which they know, like and trust. This is way is going to motivate 99.0% of your target audiences.
Showcasing the success of your model through franchisee stories, network growth, business development and innovation are all proven ways to generate a solid and reputable foundation. Add to this mix a strategy to set yourself as the expert in your field and you are one step closer to generating that all-important currency – trust.
In addition, think about:
B2B focus: For businesses targeting partnerships and investments, it’s crucial to communicate the tangible benefits of your franchise. Emphasise metrics like return on investment (ROI), support systems, and proven track records of success. Tailor your message to appeal to the pragmatic, results-oriented nature of business clients.
B2C approach: When your franchise is consumer-facing, your message should resonate on a more personal level. Highlight aspects like customer satisfaction, brand ethos, and community involvement. Storytelling can be a powerful tool here, using real-life examples of how your franchise positively impacts customers and communities.
Setting clear objectives
Before diving into tactics, set clear, achievable objectives for your recruitment drive. Are you aiming to increase your franchise numbers nationwide, or are you targeting specific regions for growth? Perhaps your goal is to enhance the quality of your franchisees rather than just the quantity. Setting these goals upfront will guide your strategy and help measure its success.
Timeline and key dates
Here at Rev, we work in six-monthly schedules so that there’s plenty of opportunity to build and execute a multi-channel strategy as well as scoop up the quick wins when they happen. Your PR and comms plan should be easy to read, split into monthly activity and messages and be crystal clear – find a way to indicate what is in progress, what’s already happened each month, what’s moving due to external factors and if any themes or messages have been rejected by external media.
Don’t forget to include things like:
January kick-off: Capitalise on the new year’s momentum. This is when potential franchisees are most open to new opportunities and business ventures.
National awareness dates: Integrate your campaign with relevant national dates. For instance, aligning with ‘National Entrepreneurship Week’ can increase visibility and relevance.
Industry dates: Participating in franchise expos and industry events is crucial. These are not only platforms for recruitment but also for understanding market trends and networking. Don’t forget your own industry will have its own calendar too – get to know everything from award entry deadlines and events to new report releases and industry-wide campaigns you could be a part of.
Seasonal considerations: Be mindful of the seasonal nature of your industry. For example, a food franchise might focus on specific times of the year when consumer interest peaks.
Newsjacking involves injecting your franchise into current news stories to gain media attention. This requires staying abreast of news trends and being quick to respond. For instance, if there’s a rising trend in sustainable business practices, demonstrate how your franchise is contributing to this movement.
However, it’s important to approach newsjacking with sensitivity and relevance – the goal is to enhance your brand’s presence without appearing opportunistic.
This could look like a ‘Breaking News’ or ‘Current Affairs’ section in your PR and comms plan – however you frame it, make sure its visible to keep it front of mind so that all stakeholders have the chance to spot an opportunity!
Crafting your message
Develop clear, compelling messages tailored to your audience. Test and refine regularly throughout your comms. Remember, consistency in messaging across all platforms reinforces brand identity and aids in memory recall.
Channels of communication
Some work for all audiences and some for just one. They’re all equally important!
Internal comms: Engage existing franchisees with regular updates, informative newsletters, and interactive meetings. Keeping them informed and motivated is crucial for brand consistency and positive word-of-mouth.
External Comms: Utilise a mix of traditional and digital channels. Press releases, social media platforms, industry publications, and podcasts can be effective in reaching potential franchisees. Tailor your content and channel based on where your target audience is most likely to engage.
Develop a content calendar aligning with national awareness days and industry events. Content should include success stories, franchisee testimonials, informative blog posts, and thought leadership articles. Visual content like infographics and videos can be particularly engaging on social media. Ensure your content is informative, engaging, and, most importantly, authentic to your brand’s voice.
Measuring success of your PR and comms plan
Set specific Key Performance Indicators like coverage numbers, backlinks, website traffic and social media engagement. Regularly review these metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your communication efforts. Be prepared to adjust your strategy based on these insights.
Adjusting your strategy
Stay flexible and ready to adjust your strategy based on ongoing results and feedback. The franchise recruitment market is dynamic, and your strategy should be too. Regular reviews will help you stay on track and make necessary changes to ensure your PR and comms plan remains effective and relevant.
Crafting an effective PR and comms strategy is a vital component of successful franchise recruitment. But if all of this has made you feel a bit light-headed or, as is often the case, you simply haven’t got the time to dedicate to this mammoth task given all that’s involved in running franchise business to stat with… give us a shout. We’d love to have a no-nonsense chat about your brand and how we could help. No BS, guaranteed.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07921 572554.
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