As a franchise business, you likely advise your local franchisees on ways they can stand out from their competitors and get local customers to notice them. Even with the support of co-op dollars, franchisees can no longer rely on traditional media options like buying TV or radio ad time to reach their local audiences, as more and more consumers are opting for streaming media and other digital services.
In light of this shift, encourage your franchisees to take a personal approach by getting involved in their communities. There are inexpensive solutions that can bring visibility to a local franchise business and also help them give back - a clear win-win! Here are three ideas you might suggest to help your franchisees get started. These are tried-and-true ways for your franchisees to become involved with their communities, "oldies but goodies" worth remembering in this overly digital world.
Kids love sports, and parents love businesses that support sports teams. Sponsoring a local team is usually inexpensive and many youth organizations are also nonprofit groups, so franchisees may receive a tax break for their donation. Sponsoring also garners exposure for the business (and the franchise organization) by getting its name on scoreboards, team uniforms, and local newspapers. And where do you think they might eat after a game? Or their parents might stop in for lunch or an auto repair? More importantly, this kind of involvement builds goodwill, marking your franchise company and the franchisee as making positive contributions to society, creating patron loyalty.
A charity event is another way for your franchisees to establish rapport with the local community. Encourage your franchisees to identify needs that exist in their communities and focus their resources there. A building supply franchise could donate tools to a lower-income housing initiative. A restaurant could host a dinner during which some percentage of profits goes to a local food bank. A senior care brand could work with local hospitals or hospices to raise awareness, as well as funds. Urge your franchisees to encourage their employees to volunteer, which will help cut down on the costs of local involvement and foster a sense of community spirit among staff. The key to success here is choosing charities and causes that align with your brand, locally, regionally, and nationally. Working with charities is excellent opportunity to meet people who may be interested in your product or services, as well as with like-minded local business owners who can work with your franchisees in mutually beneficial collaborations.
Many communities have at least one annual parade or festival. Your franchisees can inquire about marching in the local parade or even having a float in it, or setting up or sponsoring a booth at an annual town festival or fair. Being visible in the community doing these civic-minded activities creates unique chances to interact with customers and build loyalty.
Even with tremendous support from your national franchise organization, your franchisees need to engage customers on a local level to ensure that their business thrives and the national organization maintains a strong local presence. If your franchisees make their neighbors their allies through genuine, committed community involvement, the ensuing long-term awareness and customer loyalty will pay great dividends, not only for the local franchisee, but for the national organization as well.
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