The average American spends more than a third of his or her time at work.
That means that a company’s work-life balance and a willingness to care for and support their employees have become more important in recent years. Especially if you want to attract and retain the best talent.
But if you’re a franchise business with locations all over the country, it can be difficult to capture your franchise culture. Encapsulating that culture so that it spreads out to your various locations and ensuring that it’s understood by consumers and potential franchisees is even more difficult.
Hiring a public relations agency that understands the franchising business can help.
Defining Your Company Culture
For all the articles and social media posts on the subject, the act of finding and defining your company’s culture can be difficult.
There are several factors that contribute to your organizational culture. You will need to review some of the factors that contribute to the development of your company’s culture before you can define it. These factors can include:
- Creating a strong mission statement
- Developing an employee retention program
- Asking for employee feedback
- Defining the way your employees communicate with one another; and,
- Determining your company’s work style
Once you’ve defined your values, set goals and developed a plan to bring that culture into your daily operations, you can then spread your values out to your franchisees.
An experienced PR agency will have dealt with dozens of companies throughout their tenure and can offer suggestions on how to pinpoint your company’s specific style. They can even help you cultivate your brand message so that it can be easily included as part of your franchisee training.
But its not enough to simply tell your prospective franchise owners or potential customers about your culture. You have to show it off.
Internalizing Your Company Culture
For many franchisees, once they’ve determined they have the financial stability to invest in a franchise and a market for the product or service they want to sell, their next step is finding a company that shares their values for success.
A PR agency is a great tool to improve your franchise’s organizational design. It can help your franchise build a positive reputation, evaluate employee engagement and improve transparency.
It’s a PR professional’s job to articulate information clearly. These experts can develop messaging that can be provided internally to franchise owners and employees in much the same way they can develop external messaging.
A franchising public relations professional knows that internal communications is as important to a company’s consistency as external messaging is in generating customer leads. Regular communications reinforces your company culture to your franchise owners, employees, customers and other stakeholders.
For Zoom Drain President Ellen Rohr, celebrating a franchise owner’s public relations triumphs internally can spur positive competition among the other franchisees.
Zoom Drain has more than 50 franchise locations throughout the country. With that many individual owners, Rohr notes that an internal PR strategy can help franchisees learn the best ways to generate positive external publicity.
“When we have someone who has gotten some good PR or done something to bring about positive publicity, we send it out on our intranet so that it can be enjoyed by the other teams,” she said. “When something is successful in one market, we can use it as a standardized blueprint that can be leveraged in all markets.”
She said that when Zoom Drain of San Diego owner Rick Vazza and Zoom Drain of Seattle owner Dennis “Dennis the Apprentice” Hamon issue their ongoing podcasts, she regularly sends their work out to the team as inspiration on how to publicize the company’s culture.
“Not everyone is going to be comfortable doing a podcast, but there are other ways to establish your company’s culture in your franchisees’ local markets,” she said. “Whether that’s doing something meaningful for the community or giving an interview on television, let them know how to publicize the business – simple things like wearing their uniform or standing in front of their wrapped trucks.”
Consistent communications impacts how cohesive your franchisees are with your parent company, and the effects of this communication level is a significant factor in how your franchisees deal with client-facing interactions, such as interviews and media coverage.
Externalizing Your Company Culture
Once you understand your company’s culture and know your franchisees are on-board, you also have to ensure you are spreading your message to the right media outlets to carry your message.
You may have a beautifully crafted message and a creatively constructed press release, but if you aren’t getting it into the hands of the right publications or news outlets, it might not reach the audience you want.
Having a PR professional who has done the research on the media outlets that you should target ensures you are getting the most for your publicity dollar. Pitching a story involves more than simply reaching out to the media with a potential story. It also means doing a deep dive into your industry’s news sources and understanding what specific outlets like to cover and when.
“You need the right people to brag about your company,” Rohr said. “It’s that ‘drip, drip, drip’ of consistent PR that makes the difference. Ensuring that the right eyes are on your brand is a reminder of how powerful a tool the right publicity is.”
So, whether you are attempting to define your company’s culture by highlighting your good reputation, your positive employee engagement or your industry leadership, the right PR strategy can ensure that the message is consistent throughout your franchise locations.
Public relations is about building strong and lasting relationships and ensuring your entire team is on board with your PR efforts is a relationship that can’t be overlooked.
Heather Ripley is founder and CEO of Ripley PR, an elite, global public relations agency specializing in franchising, the skilled trades and B2B tech. Ripley PR is recognized as the top PR agency for the home service industry. It also has been listed by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top Franchise PR Agency six consecutive years in a row and was named to Forbes’ America’s Best PR Agencies for 2021. Ripley is the author of “NEXT LEVEL NOW: PR Secrets to Drive Explosive Growth for your Home Service Business,” which is now available on all audiobook platforms. For additional information, visit www.ripleypr.com.