We all choose how we relate to stressful situations: pull your head into your shells like a tortoise, or, strike out with a steady pace and win the race, like another, more famous, tortoise. Which do you choose?
The COVID -19 pandemic hit threw us all off balance. It was hard to fathom and understand, but we mostly hunkered down and tried to ride it out. What we thought might be days quickly became weeks and those weeks have stretched into six months with more ahead of us. It’s enough to make you want to pull your head into your shell, close your eyes and hope it will pass. But that is not an option for any franchisor.
According to Dawn Kane at Hot Dish Advertising, people are looking for messaging. In their article. “Rocky Times. Rock Solid Results,” Hot Dish points out, “Not only do consumers want you to talk about your product, they want to see how your brand may be helpful in their lives and what your brand is doing to face the challenges presented today. In our own research, we have found that consumers are invested digitally, and, now more than ever, it’s critical for brands to continue to stay in front of and engage with their customers.”
There are similar results in marketing for franchise development leads. Their article, “Unique Advantages in Capitalizing on Media for Franchise Lead Generation” creates a positive message backed by research and statistics – interest in franchising is up! Done with the uncertainty of the last six months, people are looking for a new and more stable path. With media costs down and more affordable, it’s the time to bring your message to interested buyers.
If you are still unsure about sticking your head out of the shell, remember your obligations as a franchisor. The first is to protect the brand. Make sure the Marks are used correctly and maintain the brand reputation in the consumers’ eyes. Get out there and tell them how you have adapted and worked hard to keep them safe. Drive people into your franchisees’ units by creating confidence as well as desire.
Never forget that franchising is a marketing model not a business model. You increase brand awareness and distribution through the network of franchisees, that requires messaging that drives both trial and customer retention. Your franchisees have worked alongside you to make systemic changes and survive this virus, don’t stop now! Shout your successes and innovations from the roof tops to drive not only unit-level sales, but franchise development leads, too. People are taking notice of the “winners” – the brands that faced this head on and won.
Living with uncertainty exhausted people. They want to follow the leaders – those who stood by their franchisees and made it through this mess. The local successes tell that story and drive people to invest in their futures through your brand. Create that compelling franchise development story and get it out there now. Then show your innovation abilities with creative, remote discovery days.
This is where the investments made into Ad Funds pay off. Use this to demonstrate the value and worth of the franchisor.
If you pared down your marketing department, lean into the experts such as Dawn Kane and Jen Campbell of Hot Dish. Start to peek out of that shell and read what is happening, watch your competitors. It is time to get back in the race. Even tortoises can win!