Out of Sight – Why Your Franchisees Need More Attention
Posted by Fleur Revell
Impact PR director Fleur Revell looks at how owner-operators can enjoy public relations success at a regional level to build their reputation and their local customer base.
Large companies with numerous owner-operators around the country often struggle to manage public relations and branding opportunities for individual stores, on top of their company-wide strategic marketing and PR commitments.
However, raising awareness of brands at a local level is crucial to give operators a chance to tell their stories to their regular customers. And, according to PR and marketing specialist Fleur Revell of Impact PR, it’s often a cost-efficient way to gain consistent coverage of a brand throughout the country.
“Nationwide advertising and PR campaigns can be effective for companies that have owner-operators scattered around New Zealand, but nothing connects with people quite as much as a story about a local store or service,” explains Revell.
Having worked with numerous Kiwi businesses – including House of Travel, Domino’s Pizza, Muffin Break, and Jesters – Revell says offering owner-operators the chance to be represented at a regional level means they feel better supported by head office.
In particular, it can be beneficial for owner-operators contributing to a national marketing fund to see tangible outcomes at a local level, she says. “An outlet may be engaged in a range of activities, from sponsoring the local rugby team to supporting a local charity, all of which can often be leveraged for free in local media using PR.”
“The results of this activity can be immediately measured by the owner-operator in many cases, with customers coming into the store saying, “I saw a story about you in the local paper”, explains Revell.
Additionally, local media are “always more interested in a story angle that is relevant to their readers and community”, says Revell, who has more than two decades experience in the media industry.
“While an outlet sponsoring a fun run might not be something high on the priority list for a countrywide marketing manager with a lot on their plates, it is something that provides an opportunity to tell a positive story to the community about the outlet and the brand behind it,” she explains.
Not only is it likely to secure more coverage than a national press release or event, but it demonstrates a commitment to being a part of the community from the outlet – something that is important for many loyal local shoppers.
“Ultimately, supporting owner-operators with specialist PR help on a regional level will benefit them and the company brand,” says Revell. “If it’s been unachievable from a head office operations standpoint, consider finding an agency that can help by taking care of it on a monthly basis.”
Another way to support regional outlets may be by offering them social media support, something that many owner-operators wish to have more of a presence in but struggle to maintain with in-house resources.
“A consistent and appropriate presence on social media sites such as Facebook could be really valuable for outlets to communicate with customers and promote their community involvement,” says Revell.
Having social media expertise on hand could help make the most out of news or events, and also allow any negative situations to be dealt with quickly and easily in a way that minimises damage to the company brand.
Ultimately it’s important for Kiwi companies to consider how they can support owner-operators best so they don’t miss out on great opportunities to build and grow their brand throughout the whole country, says Revell.
“There are amazing things happening at a regional level that can improve company reputations and form strong bonds within communities that can be overlooked without some dedicated attention. It’s definitely worth considering a new approach to capitalise on that and see some results.”
For more information visit www.impactpr.co.nz