29
Jul
09

franchise public relations. integrating national and local pr efforts.

From my experience, franchises implement public relations programs across their systems in a variety of different ways, depending on their needs and budgets.  A few PR scenarios I’ve encountered include the following:

1.    The franchisor has a national PR agency and hires, like many franchisors do, locally-based agencies in order to have boots on the ground in specific regions.
2.    The franchisor has one agency that manages national PR but has no local support.
3.    An agency creates PR support work that franchisors provide to local franchise businesses with implementation instructions.

I understand the purpose and need for all of these PR scenarios. But I wonder if, in the age of integration, how relevant each of these scenarios are or if there is a better way altogether to implement effective PR for franchises. I don’t know that I have the answers right now, but this is something I will continue to look into and I will determine best practice scenarios. What I do know is that franchisors should be paying attention to where they are spending their PR money and what results they expect to gain from those tactics.

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Man speaks in megaphone

Here are some things to consider:

National PR: National PR was traditionally used for brand building and reputation management.  Now, unless you are in a crisis or trying to rebuild the image of your business, your PR company should no longer be doing national PR for brand building and reputation management only.  PR pros should be helping you become the thought or service leader in your industry. The agency should be developing programs that get people into your stores or using your service. The people working on your account should be creating online dialogue opportunities and events that drive people to local franchisees. We are not currently in an era where many companies have the money to spend on merely “getting your name out there.” PR should be just as much about sales as advertising is.

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Dunkin' Donuts Twitter Messages

Dunkin' Donuts Twitter Messages

I love what Dunkin’ Donuts does from a national communications standpoint.  They Twitter all day, and their posts make me want a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and a donut. If they would just come to Denver already…

Local PR: Whatever is being done nationally needs to be focused like a laser in your local market. How are you communicating with your customers on a local level? How are you retaining them and increasing their loyalty to your brand? The local PR program needs to help position your brand as the most important and the most valuable to your target audience. And it needs to get people talking.

Yesterday I found an entire string of Twitter communications about Fantastic Sams. Unfortunately, Fantastic Sams is not currently responding to them on Twitter a la Dunkin’ Donuts communication style. Participating in this dialogue can help increase and retain customers.

Picture 4

Twitters about Fantastic Sams

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Local PR Support Tools: A few questions for franchisors providing these PR support tools (i.e., templates, recommendations, etc.): do your franchisees use them? Do they implement them? Do they care that you provided them? If they do, then job well done. I, however, see these as propaganda from the franchisor -“We provided you the tools you need. You can’t complain that you don’t get the PR coverage you want.” This is bogus. Move some of your national or regional PR funds to help support local outreach where it’s needed. When you have national conferences, train the franchise owners on what they can, realistically, implement on their own that will get them results. Remember, most of your franchise owners are not going to have the skills, the time or the inclination to implement PR programs on their own. Or, alternatively, work with an agency than can provide discounted rates to your franchises and implement nationally approved programs.

What is your franchise system doing that works? What isn’t working? What changes would you like to see made in your franchise PR (or marketing) programs. If you could get some PR support on the side, what would you want?

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5 Responses to “franchise public relations. integrating national and local pr efforts.”


  1. March 6, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Nothing grows a business like high quality national media coverage. National publicity delivers the greatest impact – enhancing lead generation, raising awareness and increasing customer count. On the local level, the right publicity can quickly turn around stagnant sales for existing franchisees. A reputable public relations firm will assist and prepare its clients to maximize all the available PR opportunities.

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