While acknowledging that some franchise brands may never return to previous Discovery Day formats to engage prospective franchise owners, there are still many opportunities to achieve success with a little help from PR and ingenuity.
In the past, larger franchisors created entire teams to create and promote Discovery Days in order to close interested franchise buyers. Some brands even created dedicated training rooms and produced programs and workshops specifically to give potential franchise partners an immersive experience. Although these activities could see a resurgence, think about how your franchise brand could change things up and meet interested franchise prospects on their own turf instead.
I’ve had some very successful results for my franchisor clients by helping them hold Discovery Days “Road Shows.” Rather than trying to persuade wouldbe franchisees to spend a lot of money
and time making travel arrangements, booking places to stay, being away from their businesses and families, developing traveling road shows might be a worthwhile option.
How can PR can promote your road show?
Recently, a wireless franchise client expressed its interest in expanding its franchise territories in the Orlando, Florida market. But rather than flooding the Orlando area with promotions trying to
get enough people to sign up for Discovery Days at the franchise headquarters, we decided to try something new. A few experienced team members brought a Road Show to Orlando.
Although the brand wanted to expand with a handful of new franchises, to get a financial return on the cost of hosting a road show, the franchisor only needed to sell one new franchise territory. We developed a PR plan that ended up being so successful, we used this concept for other franchise brands.
How we did it
Every franchise brand is different, and the Road Shows should be designed to appeal to that brand’s target audience. Keeping that in mind, here are some tactics that worked:
• Craft engaging and focused press releases that announce the franchise brand’s Road Show and the opportunity to attend a smaller-scale discovery days event right in the prospects’ back yard.
• Deliver the press releases to media channels that are most appropriate, using previously established relationships with the industry’s local media and journalists.
• Invite local area media (including radio, TV and print) to interview the brand’s franchise experts about the potential for bringing the brand to the area. Bringing new employment opportunities is always a great way to get media attention.
• Place small ads in specific local business publications or other media outlets that have been researched and identified as having good reach with your target audience. These tactics produced great results for this client. Other types of franchise businesses may need a different approach to promoting their Discovery Day Road Shows. For example, when designing a plan for a senior care franchise, we used a slightly different approach.
• Together with the franchise executives, we settled on six potential markets to target, and then researched the best ways to reach potential franchisees in those markets
• With very little financial investment, we focused our PR plan on social media platforms where we could narrow our posts to specific groups.
• Our plan included Facebook ads, and for a small cost, our carefully crafted ads were well-received. Using specific keywords and content, the ads created enough buzz that the road shows
were attended by seriously interested prospects—and the outcome was very successful.
Discovery Days are a great way to seal the deal with new franchisees, but being able to be flexible and adapt to changing times can be one of your franchise brand’s best assets. Do a little brainstorming with your trusted advisors and team members and consider implementing a few Discovery Day Road Shows to test the waters. It could
be the start of a whole new way to expand your brand.
Heather Ripley is founder and CEO of Ripley PR, an elite, global public relations agency specializing in franchising, home service and building trades. Ripley PR has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top Franchise PR Agency three years in a row and was named to Forbes’ America’s Best PR Agencies for 2021. She is the author of “NEXT LEVEL NOW: PR
Secrets to Drive Explosive Growth for your Home Service Business.” For additional information, visit www.ripleypr.com