As a bootstrap franchisor, there certainly are ways you can gain public attention through your own personal efforts. Ask some franchise PR firms for general advice on how to stir up some publicity on your "franks 'n' beans" budget. They can often help out with suggestions. Their valuable direction may help accelerate your initial PR successes and avoid costly mistakes, so you can use their services in the not-too-distant future! Let's take a look at three franchisors who triggered extraordinary media attention through their personal PR efforts.
1. Margaret McEntire, founder of Candy Bouquet International, was a walking news story. She had the instinct, business savvy, and selling skills to crack into the news scene through her engaging, entrepreneurial determination. The media loved her spirit, the values she instilled, her rags-to-riches journey, and the international franchise business she had created from her garage--and which, by the way, had failed the first two times!
2. Neil Balter, the college kid who started California Closets, hit it big with national news shows from the start. Oprah Winfrey, Good Morning America, radio interviews... you name it, he was in demand. He was a publicity event in the making, the engaging and inspiring story of a student who had created an entire industry based on his senior class project.
3. Dale Young, founder of the Perma-Glaze franchise, definitely used his creativity to foster media attention. Refinishing bathtubs is not the sexiest news item of the day. But this didn't stop Dale from personally taking on the challenge. He created a riveting visual for the media that would arrest any reader's attention--which is what reporters thrive on. For his "dream photo," he donned his classic tuxedo and strutted into his warehouse surrounded by hundreds of refinished bathtubs. Elegantly poised in an antique beauty with engraved claw feet, he raised his crystal champagne glass to the skies, as a photographer shot the scene from 40 feet above. The franchise media went nuts! Full-page four-color stories, brand recognition, franchise calls, and industry buzz abounded. This picture was worth more than a thousand words. The image was dazzling, and it showcased the value of his Perma-Glaze franchise service: transforming worn-out, ugly bathrooms from embarrassment to beauty that every homeowner can appreciate.
If you aren't ready, willing, or able to afford an outside PR firm, a common situation among start-up franchise companies, don't despair. There is plenty you can do to get the word out on your franchise opportunity. Here are some of the tricks of the trade:
Next time: More DIY tips, and how to optimize your online press.
This is an excerpt from my Amazon.com best-selling book, "Grow to Greatness: How to build a world-class franchise system faster." To order copies, click here.
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