The Franchise Centre

Franchise Marketing Forum 2017 Open Exchange Summaries

By Centre Contributor

Franchise Marketing Forum Open Exchange 2017

The Open Exchange is always one of the highlights of the annual Franchise Marketing Forum and this year’s highly-interactive and engaging group discussions were no exception. The hot issues in franchise marketing were put under the microscope and examined from every angle by Forum attendees in an open and frank exchange of ideas. This year’s topics covered everything from motivating and incentivising franchisees to activate LAM initiatives; social media misfires and bullseyes; recruiting, retaining and rewarding marketing support personnel; mystery shopping; and the special topic chosen by attendees on the day ‘Is PR dead?’. Here are the Open Exchange summaries:

 

The Open Exchange Topics


Topic 1: How do you motivate and incentivise franchisees to activate local area marketing (LAM) initiatives? What systems or processes do you use to support LAM? What LAM initiatives have worked best for you?
Topic 2: Social media misfires and bullseyes: Share your biggest social media fail and success, how your franchisees were affected, and what you learned from the experience.
Topic 3: How do you recruit, retain, reward and motivate marketing support personnel? What are the key things you’ve learned about getting the best from staff (or even your own performance)?
Topic 4: Mystery shopping: How often should you do it, what do you look for, and what was your most shocking mystery shopping discovery? What have you changed as a result of feedback from mystery shopping?
Topic 5: Is PR dead? What are some of the challenges for Franchisors and what impact has the Internet and digital media had on PR.

 

Topic 1: How do you motivate and incentivise franchisees to activate local area marketing (LAM) initiatives? What systems or processes do you use to support LAM? What LAM initiatives have worked best for you?

(Topic Captain: Dr. Anthony Grace)

- every franchisee is a local area marketer in their daily interactions with customers

5 steps on how to encourage local area marketing:

  1. Understand there are different types of franchisees who view marketing differently:
    - the superstar
    - the “too busy” franchisee
    - the genuinely trying hard franchisee
    - the uncertain franchisee
    - the rogue franchisee
  2. Focus on the community. Local is king.
  3. Allocate money out of the national marketing fund and if franchisees don’t use it then they loose that allocation for the year. LAM campaigns should also leverage off national campaigns.
  4. Connect franchisees to share best practice. Franchisees will always value other franchisees opinions more than the franchisor. 
  5. Provide guidance. Decide to engage with franchisees and make a commitment to educating franchisees. Empower the franchisee.
  • “marketing is an investment not an expense” 

 

Topic 2: Social media misfires and bullseyes: Share your biggest social media fail and success, how your franchisees were affected, and what you learned from the experience.

(Topic Captain: Sarah Sloan)

Misfires:

  • Misfires can go viral and sometimes the media get involved.
  • The media might start calling head office about the issue.
  • Need to take ownership of the situation quickly and apologise.
  • Needs to be a person responsible for handling misfires.
  • Request franchisee's take down the offending post immediately.
  • Alternatively take down the offending post if you have access to the account.
  • Advise the franchisee on the issue, that day/night as soon as possible. 
  • Control social media with good policy, good examples and franchisee training.

Bullseyes

  • Hugh Chockman chocolate product launch by Gelatissimo.
  • Named for alignment to the Australian actor Hugh Jackman.
  • While no official endorsement or sponsorship by Hugh Jackman.
  • It found it's way to Hugh and he shared the poster on his Instagram, with 'the salted caramel swirl! I'm, IN!
  • This gained exposure (329K likes) and reach to thousands of his followers.
  • This including an article by the DailyMail.co.uk
  • Unboxing a noodle box by Asian Restaurant Concepts.
  • Not many people realised the Noodle Box packaging can become a dinner plate.
  • A demonstration of how to unfold the takeaway box into a dinner plate was created.
  • 'STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING. YOUR NOODLE BOX IS ACTUALLY A PLATE'.
    This was popular on social media and gained 31K views on Facebook.

 

Topic 3: How do you recruit, retain, reward and motivate marketing support personnel? What are the key things you’ve learned about getting the best from staff (or even your own performance)?

(Topic Captain: Kate Turnbull)

Franchisors indicated they are finding employees from the following areas:

  1. Referral
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Agencies; particularly for creative services
  4. Internships for marketing;  allows companies to build and develop people and a “try before you buy” approach
  5. Seeks; however, they did indicate a lot of people apply who are not suitable.

Ways to retain marketing department employees:

  • Give them autonomy
  • Allow them to fail but they must learn from their mistakes
  • Give them responsibility and purpose
  • Give them the freedom to be creative and come up with ideas, campaigns, strategies
  • Give them flexibility in working hours

Show marketing department employees:

  • Leadership; have one on ones, team meetings and have trust in the individual and team
  • Give a clear vision of the company and the direction it is going
  • Clear goals for the team so they know WHY they are doing something
  • You understand that they are the professionals in their role, so don’t come in and tell them what to do.

Reward marketing personnel

  • Set KPI’s for bonuses
  • Give feedback
  • Random acts of kindness
  • Recognition; to senior managers, entire organisation, peers, and one-on-one – depending on what is suitable
  • Rather than offering a big pay rise; offer additional support to ease the workload.
  • Have them spend time in the field so they are familiar with how franchisees operate. 

 

Topic 4: Mystery shopping: How often should you do it, what do you look for, and what was your most shocking mystery shopping discovery? What have you changed as a result of feedback from mystery shopping?

(Topic Captain: Professor Lorelle Frazer)

Mystery shopping is used widely by retail brands and it is regarded as an effective tool for

(a) gaining feedback about the shopping experience and

(b) providing useful information to franchisees about their stores. Some service sector brands have adapted mystery shopping by using it to assess whether staff are following procedures and processes correctly.

The following key points were raised by Forum delegates.

  1. It is important to gain buy-in from franchisees to minimise resistance to the scheme. Tell them why you are doing it and how it will help them. 
  2. Avoid using mystery shopping as an enforcement tool or as a means of monitoring franchisees. Instead, use the information gained to help franchisees make improvements in their operations. It provides the business coaches with useful information for working with franchisees to improve their performance.
  3. Separate store feedback from feedback on individual sales staff.
  4. Don't just provide numerical scores - qualitative feedback is much more powerful.
  5. Ensure the mystery shopping exercise is as authentic as possible. There can be an issue because mystery shoppers are not 'real' customers. They are not a brand advocate or someone who loved the brand and left. Therefore, consider using your actual customers (for example, loyalty card members) to provide feedback on their shopping experience.
  6. Whilst a few delegates mentioned the use of technology to enhance mystery shopping (for example, monitoring social media posts), most felt that the Net Promoter Score (NPS) was effective. The main questions you want answered are: (1) Did the customer have a good experience? (2) Would the customer return? (3) Would the customer recommend you to someone else?

Finally, the most common 'shocking' mystery shopping discovery raised by delegates was the mystery shopper discovering that the store was closed when it should have been open. 

 

Topic 5: Is PR dead? What are some of the challenges for Franchisors and what impact has the Internet and digital media had on PR.

(Topic Captain: Julienne Senyard)

PR is Not Dead:

The Internet it is just an alternate channel which can be used to leverage brand and provide an authentic response to customers needs.

PR is a catalyst to engage within specific contexts and highlight local response and partnerships.

Some of the challenges identified include:

  1. How to measure value and impact
  2. How we assess risk and control messages (franchisees and customers who become brand ambassadors or brand saboteurs)
  3. Brand cohesion and trust
  4. The ways we comment and respond – informal versus formal mechanisms and response times.

Many questioned the roles of PR agencies, given the change with access to digital marketing channels.  With decisions to engage or not engage being shaped by duration of relationship, perceived expertise, increasing transparency, and new ideas and insights about customers. 
All agreed that PR is shaped by strategic decisions of the franchise, the ways it measures impact and resource and timing requirements.

Overall, if used judiciously, PR is an important tool for any franchise and a mechanism for future growth.   

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