Technology to the Rescue
Turns out advancing technology is not so scary after all. In fact, for many brands this past year it’s been a lifesaver.
After more than a year of the “once-in-a-lifetime” pandemic, more and more signs are springing up that life is returning to some semblance of normal. Consumers are spending, vaccinations are increasing, businesses are hiring (if they can find employees!), and economic indicator lights are turning from red to green.
Many of the technologies introduced during Covid appear to be here to stay—and that’s a good thing. Perhaps nowhere is this more visible than in franchise recruitment. Brands had to rework discovery days to fit the new reality of a remote world. Unable to meet face-to-face with prospects, they turned to videoconferencing (Zoom, Google Meets, etc.) and were able to meet with more candidates.
These virtual discovery days also allowed more brand executives to meet one-on-one with candidates. After all, it’s a lot easier to walk down the hall to a conference room or connect from a home office for a video chat than to deal with the time sink and aggravation of planes, trains, and automobiles.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other ways the accelerated adoption of various technologies is changing not only franchise recruitment, but operations, marketing, strategy, and more at brands across all industries. Examples abound in Helen Bond’s stories on how technology is affecting recruitment and changing consumer marketing. Art Coley’s regular column offers 9 ways technology can help with franchise recruitment. And Sara Wykes takes a deep dive into how brands are dealing with the shakeup—and shakeout—in real estate.
On the consumer side, the role of social media and digital marketing took on an even greater role during the pandemic than it already had—not only for pumping out messages (“Hey, we now offer delivery and pickup services for our new selection of takeout food!”), but also through online engagement with consumers and for gathering real-time data to better understand what they wanted in the new environment.
Covid-19 demanded innovations and created opportunities to refine and improve these processes. It will be interesting to see which innovations and adjustments become permanent. I’m betting quite a few.
Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find C-suite profiles with 1-800-JunkPro founder and CEO Mike Davis and TruBlue Total House Care President Sean Fitzgerald. Both shared their leadership and management styles and their vision for their brands. We also spoke with Checkers & Rally’s CMO Dwayne Chambers, who offered some great insights into the role of data in the marketing department.
Whether you’re talking about franchisee recruitment, operations, support, consumer marketing, or any other aspect of franchising, it’s important to continue to evaluate and measure the role of technology, what’s working, what’s not, and how to make improvements at all levels. It shouldn’t take a pandemic to remind us of that—it just made it all happen faster.
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