Some years ago, a client of mine was featured in Entrepreneur magazine. The story generated thousands of leads, which, in the course of the next year, accounted for 70 franchise sales and, shortly thereafter, the sale of the franchise company for more than R12 million – all without ever spending a cent on franchise advertising. Press Sells.
Public Relations as a Lead Generation Tool
For the vast majority of franchisors, public relations is not responsible for a significant portion of franchise sales leads. But while the numbers of leads produced is likely to be smaller than more traditional sources, such as the Internet or print media, few methods of lead generation provide the quality of leads generated by publicity.
Leads generated by publicity carry the weight of a third-party endorsement, and as such, have one of the highest closing rates of any leads. Research into this area shows that PR is second only to referrals in terms of its ‘close rate’ – the rate at which new leads convert to franchisees.
Generating Franchise Press
The first rule in generating press is that you have to have a story. The second is that you have to have an angle – the slant that presents the information in the story with a unique point of view. Perhaps just as important, the story angle should be timely and topical.
So, if your franchise really does have a story or two in it, what should you do first? While you might be tempted to try to generate your own press internally, this is generally not advisable. Unless you have talented writers with sales skills on staff, you should probably hire a good PR firm that specialises in franchising.
A good PR firm specialising in franchising has numerous other advantages over internally generated PR. In particular, a good PR firm will:
- Understand how to create a story and an angle that sells.
- Have contacts within the industry who will take their calls when they’re pitching your story.
- Have knowledge of editorial calendars, as well as what has run in different publications over the last year, so it can tailor stories to a publication’s specific needs.
- Have the creativity and the instinct to ‘create news’ by tying your franchise – and a story surrounding it – to topical trends or hard news events.
- Provide a full-time and dedicated PR effort for the franchisor, and have the ability to turn up the jets when a big story arises.
Moreover, a PR firm can provide PR both for you and for your franchisees with equal effectiveness – providing your franchisees with increased value both when they first open their doors and on an ongoing basis.
The Press and Your Franchisees
One way to create news is to sell and open franchises. Fast growth through franchise sales is news.
By its very nature, the sale and opening of a franchise also presents opportunities for press at a local level. In addition to stories on the opening of a new business, a skilled publicist can also use this event as an opportunity to sell profile pieces on the franchisee and trend pieces touting the market served by the business.
At the unit level, one of the most effective tools for generating this press is through the use of a grand opening event. These events, which often occur after the actual opening (called a ‘soft opening’), are geared toward publicising the franchisee’s business, both by targeting its future customers and by inviting local notables and the press.
And, since the story is local, it is generally easier to obtain this publicity based on the angle of ‘local entrepreneur makes good’ and ‘look who showed up.’ While grand opening techniques vary based on the type of business being promoted, they are often a vital mechanism for jump-starting unit-level sales and profitability.
Finally, good publicity achieved for your franchisees will have the incremental benefit of promoting good franchisee relations. Franchisees who get off to a good start are, of course, happier. Seeing their names in the newspaper and knowing the franchisor was partially responsible for placing that story engenders early enthusiasm.
Since nothing sells franchises as fast as satisfied franchisees, franchise PR is integral to many franchisors’ development strategy.
Muscle And Grill Is Your Daily Chef. We Provide Fresh, Nutritional Food At Affordable Prices
It isn’t always easy to stay in tune with both body and mind. We do all the prepping for you so that you can keep up your pursuit of greatness.
- Brand: Muscle and Grill
- Established: 2018
- Website: www.muscleandgrill.co.za
Muscle and Grill is a healthy fast food establishment based in South Africa. In the face of modern South Africa, lives spent on the go require a fuel to match their aspirations while maintaining a delicious, fast and fresh service.
As our lives swirl into life’s vast depths of opportunity, our bodies are often the product of poor health habits, while trying to keep on the move to achieve our goals. Muscle and Grill challenges this. We want to be able to support the South Africa of tomorrow by offering the food your body needs to keep reaching new heights – to keep pushing the boundaries of accomplishment with health food convenience.
At Muscle and Grill we’ve got you covered. We provide nutritional fast food that is fresh and affordable. We have your health at heart. You could start your day off with some free-range scrambled eggs or fresh oats – for lunch a mixed bowl of rice, protein and fresh vegetables – or to round off your day, replenish your mind and body with a hearty health-infused burger and all its wholesome goodness. We have not forgotten that home constitutes a hungry family who have all been active, so grab a lean beef pasta salad with some greens on the side to go.
Related: SA Fast Food Franchising On The Rise
It isn’t always easy to stay in tune with both body and mind. We do all the prepping for you so that you can keep up your pursuit of greatness.
It was once said that great ideas are born from ones’ frustrations. That is exactly how Muscle and Grill came about. Having no real on-the-go option to stay healthy, or having the time to prepare to be healthy, became a huge frustration for us. We struggled to find enough hours in the day to keep up with a busy lifestyle and still eat healthy while on the move. Our work came first and our lifestyles suffered.
The vision for Muscle and Grill is to make it possible to stay healthy on the go. We want healthy food to be easily accessible for all walks of life.
Our mission is to provide quality, healthy fast-food. The food we provide is delicious and will keep you coming back for more.
Muscle and Grill works on an almost self-service basis. The point of sale system is customer operated where you can select what meal you would like to have. Once payment has been processed electronically the kitchen staff will receive the order and prepare it to spec. Muscle and Grill will be a completely cashless business, making it super-efficient for consumers and business owners.
The concept of Muscle and Grill is partnered with Puré Frooty. Puré Frooty is a self-service smoothie bar which prepares smoothies for you at the touch of a button. You can have a store with or without a machine – the choice is yours. Both concepts look to promote the idea of healthy living on the go.
We’ve looked to compliment our values by looking after that which grounds us. Our packaging and utensils are all eco-friendly, as we believe ‘going-green’ is not just a choice of eating but of the environment too.
So, when you are ready to join the next revolution in the fast food industry contact Muscle and Grill at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.muscleandgrill.co.za to inquire on our franchise options today. Achieve your goals, stay on the move and look after yourself through Muscle and Grill.
Nando’s Is Firing Up The East
Carlos Duarte has been part of the Nando’s brand since inception. When his brother Fernando co-founded the flamed grilled chicken brand in 1987, Carlos soon participated in its success and today owns four highly successful franchises in Johannesburg — three in the east and one in the south. Here’s how it all began.
- Player: Carlos Duarte
- Franchise: Nando’s
- Position: Franchisee
- Visit: www.nandos.co.za
What were you doing before becoming a franchisee?
I was in the audio visual technology field, as an employee. Then I joined Nando’s as an assistant manager in the Savoy and Rosettenville corporate stores. Franchising was my first experience of entrepreneurship.
Why did you decide to become a franchisee?
When my brother, Fernando Duarte, launched Nando’s in 1987, I noticed its quick growth and wanted in on the action. Being assistant store manager prepared me for when the opportunity to run my own store came along soon after.
What prompted you to partner with Nando’s?
I joined Nando’s in 1991 as a joint venture partner. At the time, Nando’s hadn’t yet franchised its operations, and the JV partnership meant the brand owned 51% of the business, while I owned 49%. My first franchise store was in Edenglen in 2001.
Describe some of the challenges of running not one, but four franchise locations
At the Edenglen store, we initially battled with sales and getting feet into the store. To be honest, I think the area was overtraded at the time, so it wasn’t the best location. Since acquiring the store in Lambton, Germiston, another in Greenstone and a third in Comaro, I’ve learnt to be cleverer in how I do things — and how I handle some of the same challenges — and learn every day from the brand itself.
Name some of the benefits you’ve experienced as a Nando’s franchisee
Nando’s is 31 years old this year. We’re in 30-odd countries worldwide with thousands of stores across the globe. As franchisees, we leverage off the dynamism of an operational business that’s known for its marketing — customers talk about our ads and they love our food.
What kind of support do you receive from Nando’s as a multi-unit franchisee?
Besides the popular marketing campaigns that attract customers, Nando’s has an extensive training manual along with a skills development training consultant who comes to the store for two days to help staff understand and implement it. The training is really effective — it has to be as this industry involves a very high turnover of staff and new skills need to be taught often.
Why is it important for a franchisee to have a good banking partner?
As a franchisee, your bank should understand your business — from operating costs, to overdraft needs and revamping expenses — so it has cash available for loans that can be approved quickly, with minimal hassle. On the technical side, a reliable mPOS device is imperative, especially for us, because 30% of our sales volumes are from home and office deliveries. It’s a fundamental method of payment every bank should provide its customers of a similar nature.
What advice do you have for budding franchisees on seeking out a good franchise brand and banking partner for their business?
- Do your research to ensure you’re partnering with a brand that is established, well-known and expect to pay a fair price for that franchise.
- Be aware of how the franchise brand is perceived in the market and what location opportunities are available to you as a franchisee.
- Choose a banking facility that always has the funds available to grow your business.
- Ensure the bank understands the brand’s business model and where you’re falling short.
Make Your Business A Good Neighbour
Take your business from invisible and struggling to a thriving neighbourhood landmark.
Is your business invisible to your customers? You may have fewer customers than you would like because your business does not seem relevant to those in your neighbourhood. This is an even bigger mistake than not being able to reach beyond your direct trading area.
To appeal to people – customers – you should also present your business as a group of people who help other people. This can be helping supply them with goods they need to buy, helping provide them with loans or simply being a reassuring and consistent presence in your neighbourhood.
As our Local Area Marketing Manager, Juan Botha, tells Cash Converters’ franchisees, this is about blending and fitting in like a neighbour. It is about give and take. And all of that adds up to community engagement.
Here are six of his top tips:
- Introduce the family: Cultivate a friendly, welcoming atmosphere in your shop or office. Introduce new staff to regular customers. Make sure that new customers can get to know staff through your in-store welcome boards and name badges.
- Find your partners: Identify the gatekeepers in your community and create partnerships with them. Think about approaching sports clubs, schools, church groups, sewing circles and book clubs.
- Snatch some selfies: If you have local celebrities as customers, take a selfie and post it on your social media: “Guess who came to say hello today . . .” Build relationships with local heroes and you will be able to call on them to host your in-house fun day or charity drive.
- Give back to business: Be involved in local business chambers and groupings as more than a participant. Show you are a good business neighbour by facilitating speed networking, hosting a speaker or sponsoring a sound system or catering for the next meeting.
- Adopt a cause: Identify a local charity and rally support for it.
- Help the community: Launch or participate in a community project – anything from an area clean-up or helping repaint school classrooms to planting trees or a community vegetable garden.
Building relationships helps you build your business’s reputation. That is because you can make people start to feel a certain way about your business and influence them positively towards you. Then, when they need something that you supply, you will be top of mind.
That neighbourhood warmth creates a sense of ownership. These prospective customers will already know how you can benefit their lives and so are more likely to become your regular customers.
They will be acting on the fact that people remember you for the experience you give them. As top American writer Maya Angelou said, their memories will be shaped by how you make them feel – not how or what you make them think. Relationships may be intangible but they can bring real value to your business.
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