How Emerging Franchises Can Use PR to Build Their Brands
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How Emerging Franchises Can Use PR to Build Their Brands

How Emerging Franchises Can Use PR to Build Their Brands

Is your emerging franchise growing as fast as you had anticipated? If not, perhaps you are missing a key ingredient in your franchise development plan: public relations.

Emerging franchises are usually defined as brands with fewer than 50 locations or those whose franchise program is younger than 5 years. FRANdata reports about 300 companies launch franchise programs each year. Yet, with more than 3,000 franchise brands in the U.S., fewer than half have more than 50 locations, and some of those have been franchising for more than a decade.

So why aren't some of the emerging franchises growing faster? An article in Forbes says two of the most common obstacles are a poor franchise development strategy and franchisees who are not meeting their financial goals.

Public relations can address both of these issues. A strong PR strategy speaks to your target audience and informs or persuades them to take action. An emerging brand's target audiences would be potential franchisees and potential customers, and PR provides an effective vehicle to communicate with both those groups.

Why should you invest in PR?

Yes, resources are limited for emerging brands. But just as you should invest in a well-designed website and strategic digital marketing, you also need proactive PR to get your message out. The three should work hand in hand to tell your story.

Telling your brand story is a top priority for an emerging franchise. PR can get your story in front of the people you most want to hear it... through articles, blogs, news releases, podcasts, and more. When franchise prospects begin their research a steady stream of "good news" about your franchise and the success of your franchisees will go a long way. Increased brand awareness will help you attract better candidates because they already will be familiar with your business and your mission.

PR also can help get your brand on high-profile lists of best investments or fastest-growing franchises, which will get your franchise in front of candidates who are researching opportunities.

Strategies for emerging brands

You understand that PR is important and you are ready to invest in it and to leverage coverage to grow your franchise. How do you do that? You can use PR to do the following.

  • Sweeten your franchise package. Entrepreneurs who are just launching their own businesses will appreciate a corporate-funded PR program that raises awareness in their communities and attracts customers. Make the PR program part of your franchise support package.
  • Share your success stories. Public relations can help you get good news about your franchisees in local media or trade publications. Successful, happy franchisees are the best brand ambassadors.
  • Expand your footprint. Regional growth is an effective strategy for emerging brands. By concentrating your PR efforts in a certain state or region, you can maximize the exposure to potential franchisees and customers.

Public relations is an essential component to a complete franchise development plan. PR effectively increases brand awareness - especially for newer brands. It also gives you control over your brand story and provides outlets to share it in. Be proactive with PR and let it help you grow your brand.

 Lora Kellogg is president and CEO of Curious Jane, an ad agency specializing in franchises. With more than 15 years of experience and a portfolio of top brands, she and her team work with established and emerging franchises to grow sales, increase traffic, build brand awareness and generate leads.

Published: June 3rd, 2019

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