A Franchise Brand Crisis: Why You Need a PR Management Plan

How do you know if your franchise brand is facing a public relations crisis? By the time you’ve figured it out, it’s likely already too late.

In fact, a crisis that could negatively impact your franchise brand is probably brewing right this minute—either at one of your franchise locations or at your corporate office.

If not, consider yourself fortunate, but don’t let your guard down. You can count on one happening in the coming weeks, months or next year.

In This Case, Size Doesn’t Matter

Whether you have two stores or hundreds of units, the combination of franchisees, customers and employees provides fertile ground for crisis situations to occur with certainty in every franchise system.

That’s why if you don’t have a crisis management plan, you should drop whatever you’re doing and create one—or at least delegate the task to a PR pro or other qualified member of your franchise organization.

What is a PR Crisis?

A crisis can be loosely defined as any type of incident or circumstance that threatens the reputation of your brand. That could be a food poisoning, an employee or customer posting accusations—true or false, it doesn’t matter—on social media, a legal dispute, a criminal act, a credit card security breach, or an accident or injury that can be attributed to your brand.

In and outside of the franchising world, PR crises are pretty easy to spot, and for all the wrong reasons. Just recently, the pen manufacturer Bic launched a social media campaign for Women’s Day in South Africa that told women to:

“Look like a girl, Act like a lady, Think like a man, Work like a boss”

As you can imagine, this didn’t go over very well—helping to label the brand as misogynistic and out of touch.

The Ripples Are Worse the Pebble

In most cases, any one of the above situations occurs, but the real crisis starts when the public or media feels you or your franchisee didn’t react appropriately. It’s the adverse media attention or badmouthing over social media that creates the true damage.

That’s why you need to have a general plan of attack ready to put in action at all times, for any situation. The plan should always be easily accessible with both print and electronic versions, guaranteeing that no one has the chance to claim ignorance.

The real curse of a PR crisis isn’t the fact that it happened, but that your brand wasn’t prepared.

Learn more about how franchise PR and content marketing pros can help you create a strategy for any impending crises…


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