Media coverage in B2B publications, also referred to as ‘trade press’, is something that many businesses don’t link to their franchise recruitment efforts – either mentally or strategically. By now, you may have received our infographic which looks at how all PR affects franchise recruitment. It splits PR into three sub sections – franchise, B2B and consumer – and looks at how activity in each can impact the decision-making process of franchise prospects. The reason we split these out is because the decision to buy a franchise in the first place, and the process to choose which franchise to ultimately buy, is multi-faceted.
If you haven’t received the infographic yet, you can download the full thing here. But before you dash off to read it, we want to shed some light on how B2B activity can have a very real impact on your recruitment process.
B2B PR – that’s activity aimed at generating coverage and producing content for either your own industry media or outlets which target the wider business community – has both a primary and a secondary function. So, let’s start with the most obvious first.
Here’s what the process looks like:
- Your activity begins with a timely news story, thought leadership or advice piece targeted and pitched to the relevant media. Stuck for ideas? You can check out our blogs for advice on where and how to start.
- Suppliers, affiliates and other professional partners see your PR coverage. Why is this important? Milestones and award wins set you apart from the competition whilst specialist commentary and advice showcase you as the experts in your field. The authority you gain through non-paid promotion such as this increases trust and credibility in your brand, products and/or services.
- Referrals into the business – both centrally and to the existing franchise network – increase through greater awareness and heightened buyer confidence.
- Almost simultaneously, this leads to an increase in brand profile and positive band association which boosts overall brand recognition amongst customers, suppliers and wider industry contacts.
- As a direct result, your brand begins to wield greater buying power which it can leverage for the benefit of the existing network. Improved pricing, payment terms and service levels can be passed directly from brand to franchisee, and from franchisee to customer if appropriate.
- Existing franchisee satisfaction increases as your network begins to feel the effects of greater exposure combined with the tangible benefits this can bring. In addition, pride and confidence in both brand and franchisor is likely to increase when franchisees perceive a strategic effort and ongoing investment into raising awareness on a national level.
- We’re sure there’s no need to explain why increased franchisee satisfaction is important, but just in case… franchisees are more likely to positively engage with your recruitment efforts. This can include providing positive comments for franchise-related news stories, agreeing to be profiled for ‘success story’ case studies and even speaking positively to prospective franchisees on the phone about their own experiences with the franchise.
- Throughout their due diligence process, prospective franchisees find and receive a combination of increased coverage, greater brand recognition and positive comments or testimonials from existing franchisees. This builds their trust in you as the franchisor, providing independent validation and social proof that you do indeed live up to the sales messages in your marketing.
- More franchisees join the network. Remember, this is how B2B PR and your franchise recruitment are strategically linked.
- As your network grows, so does the content for your B2B PR activities. Think about creating news stories based on geographical expansion for example. Your new franchisees may also bring knowledge and experience into the network that can support expert-led pieces. And, without a doubt, as your network grows, so will your client base, meaning there’s more opportunity for client case studies and success stories in the future.
The arrow at the end of the diagram signifies the cyclical nature of this process. Quality, consistent B2B PR activity helps to increase franchisee satisfaction and supports new franchisee recruitment.
When we consider its secondary function, you quickly realise that B2B PR shouldn’t be a tactic used solely by B2B brands. It’s highly likely your target audience – some of those people who you know would make great franchisees – are already working in your industry or sector and are likely to read these magazines and online news sites. If they aren’t, but are considering starting a business in your industry, where do you think they might look for inspiration during their initial research phase?
Want to know more about how PR activity affects franchise recruitment? Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram to see the final blog in this three-part series which will be about consumer PR activity. To recap on how franchise-focused PR affects the recruitment process, read part one here.