Archive for the 'Fantasic Sams' Category

13
Sep
12

Health Care and Franchising – A Growing Business Model

ImageHealth care in the United States continues to evolve. With changes forthcoming, and past obstacles still being overcome, health providers are looking for ways to provide better patient outcomes and manage a sustainable business model. However, these are irrelevant if there is no access to care. Coupled with one of the largest issues to come out of the 2011 Healthcare Franchising Conference is the fact that more doctors are retiring than ever before, leading to increased opportunities to deliver a number of health care services through the franchised business model.

In my opinion, franchising give us the access to care, provides quality assurance and creates a sustainable business model for the business owners and providers.

Franchising is at the cross roads of health care and business.

Franchising has successfully evolved thousands of from thriving local businesses into iconic household names. Think: McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts. The food industry possessed the beginning of the franchise era however, over the years franchising has branched out to include product distribution and services:  The UPS Store, Fantastic Sam’s, Curves. Today we are continuing this evolution. Everything we know about quality assurance, billing, marketing, and program development for franchising is being transferred into health care. It is time to put a greater focus on this transference of knowledge.

When we follow best practices in franchising, we can deliver quality assurance to patients. We can provide practitioners – physicians, nurses, medical assistants and licensed practitioners in many fields, with the ability to focus on service delivery rather than business operations. We decrease costs for service delivery and expand access.

The senior care industry jumped into franchising with great force, and the opportunity can be traced to the aging population. According to A Profile of Older Americans: 2011 developed by the Administration on Aging (AoA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; By the year 2030, one in five Americans will be a “senior citizen.” From 2010 to 2030, the number of baby boomers age 65-84 will grow by an estimated 80 percent while the population age 85 and older will grow by 48 percent. In addition, between 1994 and 2020 the nation’s population of 85 years and older is projected to double to 7 million, and then is projected to increase to 19 – 27 million by 2050. With the number of prospective clients growing exponentially, the franchise home health care/senior care industry is booming and will likely continue to grow.

Other health industries such as emergency care, dental services, chiropractic care, primary care, mental health companies, drug testing business and surgical centers are all growing in prominence in franchising. In essence, any effective healthcare business can replicate its model and begin franchising.

I do not believe we can or should solely rely on the federal government to provide us access to affordable health care. We are a country full of the entrepreneurial spirit and we house some of the best health care providers in the world. When you combine these traits, we have the opportunity to develop great health care franchises that will solve many of our cost and access issues. These solutions are right at our fingertips.

Weise Communications, along with Faegre Baker Daniels and Management 2000 will sponsor the second annual Franchising in Health Care Conference, October 24 – 25, 2012, in Denver Colorado. At this conference, we will cover challenges unique to this industry, including compliance and regulatory issues when across state lines. If you are interested in attending this conference visit our conference site for more information. http://www.franchisinghealthcare.com/ Hurry, the Early Bird pricing ends September 15, 2012.

For more information about how Weise Communications can help your health care company franchise, contact me at tracy@weiseideas.com.

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.

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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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