In a technological age when connecting, learning, and even signing contracts is as easy as a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, are traditional conventions still relevant for franchises? Do the benefits justify the planning, cost, and time involved?
In one word: Absolutely.
Conventions are a time honored tradition where individuals gather based on a common interest. They provide a chance to get updates, hear from leaders, learn about what’s new, strengthen personal connections, and show people what to look forward to in the future. They are pillars of every major movement, including brands, political parties, professions, and hobbies.
For franchises, conventions provide an annual venue to share a specific agenda, network with peers and leaders, sharpen business skills, train on new systems and products, and learn the latest from the corporate office. Though the online world packs plenty of punch and delivers incredible benefits to franchise culture and success, there is no alternative for the power of getting everyone from the team in the same room.
Conventions motivate everyone.
Franchisees have a lot on their plates, from daily chores like making sure the windows are clean to achieving monthly and quarterly sales goals. A franchise is there to provide infrastructure that paves the way to success, but as time goes on, people can get bogged down in the daily grind and lose a little of the spark that first ignited a their passion.
Conventions recharge that excitement and energy. People not only connect with other players on the team, they hear from brand leaders who are excited to share milestones and reveal the next big thing. Hearing directly from the CEO and executive team lets people see firsthand where the brand will be headed over the next few years. It’s the perfect opportunity to cheer for successes, see people face to face, and power up.
A convention reconnects franchisees with the “why” a business is built on.
Conventions are an opportunity to remind everyone of the “why” in a business—the core beliefs behind what the franchise is and what it is not. This is vital for established brands that want to remind people of who they are or introduce people to an updated persona, but it’s equally important for new and growing brands that are still defining their sense of self.
When a brand is new and everyone is working to establish the right vibe, language, and personality a franchise will project, everyone has an opinion about how things should be done. People want to influence or change the spirit of a brand when it’s in its infancy, and a convention is an opportunity to gel what truly sets the original vision apart and makes it worthy of preservation.
Conventions are a practical way to get everyone on the same page.
No matter how many town hall meetings and online teaching resources you have, there’s something unique about sharing information with an entire group in one place. Conventions open the door for sharing updates on tools, systems, and developments that support both daily operations and the brand vision. This is the practical side of what makes conventions so valuable. When everyone is in the same space, it’s much easier to be on the same page.
Franchisees are bound to be a diverse group of people. They’ll come from different backgrounds and geographical regions, and though they’ll share core values that drew them to the franchise family, they’ll each represent different reasons for starting a business under the brand. Diversity is a powerful force that makes every organization infinitely stronger, and as a brand we want every team player to know how much power they have. Conventions provide a platform to share those stories and forge connections, but large group meetings also get people on the same page.
Nothing compares to face-to-face interaction.
When we set out to build our franchise, two of our primary goals were keeping franchisees as connected as possible and making comprehensive training tools available 24/7. Technology made achieving both of those goals possible from the start, allowing us to create social groups through Facebook that let franchisees ask questions and get to know one another as well as provide complete, instant online training tools and documents around the clock.
Although technology is an outstanding tool, there is no substitute for interacting in person. We can learn online and make friends online, but there’s nothing like the connection that is formed when people meet face to face. Seeing people’s expressions in living color, being open to surprises that may become inside jokes for years to come, and engaging with a live-action speaker are things that only a convention can provide. The internet is miraculous, but conventions have no equal when it comes to strengthening relationships that will enrich company culture and make working together more productive, cooperative, and fulfilling.
Kyle Zagrodzky is president of OsteoStrong, the health and wellness system with a focus on stronger bones, improved strength, and balance in less than 10 minutes a week using scientifically proven and patented osteogenic loading technology. OsteoStrong introduced a new era in modern fitness and anti-aging in 2011 and has since helped thousands of clients between ages 8 and 98 improve strength, balance, endurance, and bone density. In 2014, the brand signed commitments with nine regional developers to launch 500 new locations across America. Today, the OsteoStrong brand is staying true to its growth towards a brand with global reach with the addition of more franchise sales and new regional developers.