The role of public relations in a successful franchise

franchise media interview concept in studio with two people

When I think of franchises, I often think of sports teams. In particular, I think of the teams that consistently win, year after year. In the 70s it was the Steelers. In the 80s it was the Lakers and Celtics. In the 90s it was the Bulls and the Yankees. Now it’s the New England Patriots and Golden State Warriors.

Love them or hate them, they all have one thing in common: They’ve all achieved dynasty status.

When it comes to your franchise, you’re probably looking to achieve dynasty status as well. One key element to that success is public relations.

What is the role of public relations (and what is it not?)

Marketing, advertising and PR all work in unison to communicate your brand, and they should all be a part of your overall communications strategy. The differences between these three strategies, however, is enough that they must be understood individually to get the most out of their combined efforts.

Marketing and advertising are both fundamentally important for any business, and there’s no shortage of websites out there that can inform you of their purpose and how they can be used to garner results. But marketing and advertising alone are not enough to grow your franchise into a dynasty because both, at their roots, are paid messaging.

What makes public relations different is that the strategy revolves around convincing trusted third party sources (journalists, reporters, etc.) to tell their audience about your business, without paying them to do so. We in business call this earned media.

By obtaining earned media mentions through public relations, you’re able to improve the image of your brand in a way that no paid message can.

How PR enhances franchise brand recognition

Your brand is more than just your name and logo. It’s a combination of values and behaviors. It’s what you believe, what you stand for and how you interact with people — both vendors and customers. It’s your vision, it’s your position in the community and it’s your identity.

It can be hard to communicate your brand simply and clearly, but that’s exactly what public relations aims to do. By placing positive, newsworthy information in the news media to attract attention, we can shape the minds of your prospects and customers about what your brand is, and just as importantly, what it isn’t.

With the right franchise public relations strategy, franchise prospects call your phone and customers walk into your stores because they understand, and aren’t just told directly by you or by someone you paid, about why you’re worth doing business with.

How PR protects your franchise brand

Public relations also has the added benefit of protecting your brand in times of crisis. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when a crisis will occur for your franchise. In the event of a crisis, PR is able to create high ranking positive mentions that rebalance the scales in your favor.

Time is critical, but with the right strategy and expertise, PR can be used to protect your brand, even in the midst of something that’s completely out of your control. And because you’ve built up goodwill with your ongoing public relations efforts, you have a bank of social capital to rely on: All the positive media mentions, all the relationships built. People have already decided who you are and formed that in their minds, so your customers and business prospects are less likely to overreact in a bad situation.

No other communications discipline simultaneously promotes and protects your franchise brand and reputation like public relations.

If you’re interested in learning more about how PR can take your franchise to the next level, give Ripley PR a call today at (865) 977-1973.

Joel Davis, Content Supervisor

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Public Relations