One of the most difficult challenges of expanding a brand is generating awareness in new markets. Perhaps that’s why an increasing number of franchisors have turned to public relations to educate consumers and potential franchisees about their brands, particularly when trying to establish a name for themselves in new regions.
When executed properly and integrated with a cohesive marketing plan, PR has proven to be a powerful tool to help generate qualified franchisee and customer leads.
Throwing Your Weight Around
When the goal is to influence audiences to take action – such as to encourage trial of a product or service or drive prospects to investigate a franchise opportunity – public relations has a proven track record of success. When potential prospects see a brand’s products, services or leadership team featured in the media, it lends tremendous third-party credibility.
How does it work? Included in this coverage are media outlets such as TV news shows, reality shows, consumer morning shows; business or consumer magazines and newspapers; radio shows or prominent news websites and influential blogs.
These placements, which traditionally come as the result of a carefully thought-out media relations plan, can immediately raise traffic on franchise brand’s website, contribute to SEO and provide the third-party endorsement that franchise organizations need to stand out from their competitors.
Where the Rubber Hits the Road
After being featured on a morning TV show to discuss the demand for healthy, gluten-free food at restaurants, a fast-casual brand received over three dozen franchise lead inquiries and customer sales spiked that week to an all-time high.
Similarly, a profile story about a former banker who invested in a home-repair franchise on a national business website drove not only multiple leads, but led to the sale of two multi-unit territory deals.
Both examples of media coverage were not paid advertising, rather the result of strategic media relations conducted for the franchisors by a specialized PR agency.
Especially in already crowded markets, it can be incredibly difficult to get a brand name in front of consumers and prospective franchisees. A strategic PR and marketing campaign that bridges smart use of multiple media outlets with an informational, educational message help franchise brands that are trying to grow their influence.
Next week, we’ll look at four types of PR media coverage that can help you improve franchise lead generation.