Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association, explains how franchisees can manage marketing and PR effectively
At the British Franchise Association, we have spoken to franchisees to identify the most common issues they face in their businesses.
In the next few issues of What Franchise, we’ll name these issues and suggest the best ways to overcome them. To kick off, we’ll look at marketing and PR.
You may be wondering what the difference is between marketing and PR. To put it simply, marketing is generally the promotion, direct communications and advertising of your products or services. PR focuses on reputation management through positive media coverage and communicating with stakeholders.
Some franchisors will have measures in place to manage marketing and PR on behalf of their franchisees. This allows the franchisor to control the messaging that’s being used to promote and publicise its brand, ensuring there are no accidental faux pas made by a well meaning or disgruntled franchisee that could damage the core brand’s reputation and affect the local reputations of the network.
Other franchisors will manage national promotion of the brand for the benefit of the entire network, while local promotion of a franchise territory will rest with the franchisee.
This leaves a requirement for franchisees to market their businesses within their local area and manage PR through local media and their social media channels. This can be intimidating if a franchisee does not have previous experience using social media for business or using marketing tools and identifying media contacts.
As you would expect, there are companies who specialise in marketing and PR to help businesses make the most of these opportunities and avoid common pitfalls, thus allowing the franchisee to focus their attention on their business.
These services come at a cost, so may be attractive to a business with a substantial profit margin and healthy income. However, many small homebased businesses or sole operator businesses would feel the pinch paying these fees.
If you’re interested in finding a company to manage your marketing and PR, take a look at the bfa’s directory of recommended suppliers online.
Rest assured, there are ways to manage marketing and PR for yourself without using too much time or spending too much money.
Firstly, network with franchisees and small business owners to find out what works for them. Why waste time or money on a marketing tool that doesn’t attract the right kind of attention in your area?
By networking with like-minded business owners, you can share knowledge and experience that will help you identify ways to reach your target market.
Secondly, expand your knowledge, as there’s always more to learn. With constant updates to social media channels and use, as well as the needs and expectations of consumers always changing, it’s important to adapt your way of working to maximise your rewards. A great way to do this is to consider investing in ongoing training for yourself and/or your staff.
Keep an eye out for the next issue of What Franchise to find out what the second biggest challenge is.