There are two big reasons why the news media means so much to franchises. Firstly, they are in a far better position to attract masses of free media attention. And secondly, they have far more to lose when reporters come knocking for the wrong reasons.
Why can franchises attract so much media attention?
A major benefit franchises have when it comes to attracting positive media attention is their franchisee network. What this means is that national campaigns can be set up at head office and franchisees can run them locally and involve local media.
This may seem link lots of work, but it doesn’t have to be. All it requires is a campaign idea, such as fundraising for a worthy cause in your niche. Then a generic press release is created at head office where all franchisees need to do is fill in their name and location. This can either be done by them or someone at head office, before the release is sent to local media in the different franchisee areas. There are a few more details to organise, but that’s the gist of it. I’ve created similar campaigns myself, leading to many thousands of dollars worth of free publicity. It’s well worth it and not difficult to organise.
The second reason why it’s easier for franchises to get positive media attention is because of the credibility a franchise immediately offers. As a former daily newspaper reporter, I can assure you that when I received media pitches from anyone, I was always dubious about who was sending it. This was never an issue for franchises because once I knew they were a franchise, I knew they were genuine. That’s a big deal for media.
What’s the second reason the media means more to franchises?
The other reason the media means so much more to franchises is because of the extreme damage that can be done. One small franchisee that receives negative press can badly affect the entire franchise. There have been recent examples in Australia, and who can forget the Jackie Lang disaster for Subway a few years ago. The sacking of one worker in Dunedin saw every franchisee in New Zealand lose between 15 and 20 percent of turnover in the following two weeks. It also made the news in Australia and around the world.
The key to avoiding this is to be ready. This requires a crisis communication plan with things like staff guidelines, media statements ready to send out at a moment’s notice and guidelines of what to do in what situations.
Most franchises never think anything will happen, but there are countless things that can go wrong. Most are out of your control, but that doesn’t stop them happening.
This reminds me of a famous quote from Warren Buffett. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”