How to Protect and Promote Your
Franchise Public Relations
Whether you think you need it or not, public relations is inherently part of your brand. Just because you’re not investing in it, doesn’t mean you’re not doing it.
There’s a saying in the industry that advertising is something you pay for, while PR is something you pray for. Whether you’re controlling it or not, your public image is out there.
Because if you’re not controlling the face of your company, someone else is, and you might not like what they’re saying. Here are some tips from our friends over at Fishman Public Relations.
Start a reputation to begin with.
People are going to hear about you one way or another, so you want to control how they feel when they do hear about you. If you’re not in the news or they can’t find you online, you’re playing reputation roulette; you can’t be sure if they’ll find good reviews, bad reviews, or just go straight to your competition.
So take control. Begin by publishing your own content, either through blogs, on social media, or with traditional media coverage. Positive mentions from the media is basically an endorsement from a third party people know and trust. If the Washington Post picks up a story about you and makes you look good, everyone who reads that article will have a good impression of you.
“Having a proactive PR strategy in place and being prepared to address crisis situations in real time is vital to the success of any franchise organization, no matter what size.”
Debra Vilchis, Fishman PR
PR raises your value.
There’s value in familiarity. When you’re featured in multiple media outlets with positive mentions, you build your business credibility, exposure and brand recognition. When it comes time for investors, franchisees, or even customers, to spend their money, they’ll view your brand as one they know and trust. Good franchise public relations means your perceived business value increases.
Know what’s out there.
Great, you’re putting the right messages out there and putting your best foot forward. But don’t just pay attention to what you put out there, pay attention to anything and everything people are saying about your brand.
Monitoring mentions of your brand and listening to what people are saying with tools like Google Alerts and Hootsuite is crucial. Work with SEO and marketing teams to raise positive content that comes up in search engines so people are more likely to see that than any negative reviews.
When you publish your own content, you control the message. When you’re actively engaging with customers on social media, you control the experience they’re having.
Self-publish to draw the audience you’re looking for. Give potential franchisees a resource to go to when they’re considering buying into your brand. Share stories about your business growth. Share content that you know will add value to the people reading it, and you’ll end up with good traction in the long run.
Goodwill goes a long way.
“What goes around, comes around.” We’ve all heard it. We all know that doing good things makes us look and feel like better people, so incorporate that into your business. When people hear about how your brand is involved with good causes, you become more trustworthy. Franchisees looking to buy into your business are more likely to consider a brand if they know it has strong values that it acts upon.
Don’t just hand over a check – work with a franchise public relations firm to find a cause that lines up with your business, and do something to support it. Participate in an event. Get your team into costumes. But do something that will get attention, raise awareness and make a difference.
Put the right messages out there.
Train your people. It is essential for anyone talking to the media goes through media training. It’s damaging to your brand, your image and your reputation when given the opportunity for national media coverage and then your spokesperson is stumbling for words or gives a bad interview. Without a compelling story, you won’t get any coverage, so make the most of the interviews you get.
When you make a mistake, fix it.
Though try as you might, you can’t control everything that happens with your brand. Sometimes you’ll have customers who have a bad experience with one of your employees or one of your locations.
If you don’t tell your side of the story, someone else will. Don’t try to cover it up. Admit your mistake, and apologize. Make the wrong right. Don’t let lawyers drive your response, be human in your approach. One bad review can tarnish even the best brands, so don’t let it play itself out. Be active in addressing the problem, and take steps to correct it.
A management system can help in situations where employees go off-book. Accountability is crucial. With a proper system in place, you can track down exactly when and why a situation escalated, and react accordingly.
And on the reverse, when you get good press from an employee representing your brand well, a system can help pinpoint them and you can leverage the good press by rewarding team members who do the right thing.
Whether good or bad, accountability is crucial in a system. Franchise public relations can only go so far to repair a bad reputation. If there’s a problem at the operational level, you need to have the tools in place to fix it from the source. Because the more problems that arise, the less effective your PR team will be when it comes time to fix them.
Still looking to learn more about how to protect and promote your brand with PR? Join our webinar with industry expert Debra Vilchis from Fishman Public Relations!
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For all media inquiries, please contact
The Better Software Company
1 (844) 515-1992
About The Better Software Company
The Better Software Company offers a fully-integrated Franchise Operating System (FOS) to help owners improve and simplify their entire business, using a cloud-based model. Integrated features, including CRM, scheduling, billing & invoicing, reporting & analytics and inventory management, offer business owners simplicity and ease of use that will save time. The software is configured to service small and medium sized enterprises in a diversity of vertical markets. The Better Software Company is based in Ottawa, Canada.