1. Ask All Your Questions
From Jamie Izaks, president and cofounder, All Points Public Relations
When vetting a PR firm, whether you’re a franchisor or a franchisee, you want to find the best value. Where’s the intersection of quality and cost? To do that, you need to ask a lot of questions. What types of brands do you serve? Who are your longest-term clients? How do you keep them moving forward? Get specific. If you’re a franchisee, ask for franchisee case studies that show how the PR firm helped drive business. If you’re a franchisor, request an example that outlines how much one company paid and what it received in business growth, media impressions, ad equivalency, site visitors, or social media engagement. It’s also important to understand a firm’s role in the industry. Ask: What’s your connection to franchising outside your firm? How intimately are you involved? Ideally, executives will be ingrained in the industry, sitting on boards or attending relevant events. Another thing to consider: transparency. Assess how straightforward the company is and the clarity of its plan. How’s the team’s response time, and what sense do you get of overall work ethic? PR isn’t straightforward; it can take months to get the right result. You need to know an agency is alongside you for the long fight.
2. Be Honest About Expectations
From Neal Courtney, CEO, Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids
Neal Courtney started as a Cookie Cutters franchisee. Today, he’s CEO. The brand has more than quadrupled its size in five years, and PR firm Franchise Elevator helped supercharge his strategic plan with…
Since partnering with the PR firm, Cookie Cutters has expanded from 24 locations to 110 — and Courtney could track the stories it placed in relevant publications with a boost in franchise sales. “I would say 10 percent of our growth is related to the direct efforts of Franchise Elevator,” he says.
“We’re extremely aggressive, and I wanted a firm that really wanted to run with us as a hare,” says Courtney. So before signing on, he had a lot of conversations to make sure Franchise Elevator could keep up with his requests, ideas, and demands.
Courtney wanted a PR rep who genuinely believed in his business. “Especially for emerging brands, you need to know that the partners you’re working with are passionate about what you’re bringing to market,” he says. “Otherwise you’re just another company in their portfolio.”
3. Unexpected Success
From Vinnie Sposari, franchise owner, Mr. Rooter Plumbing
What he expected:Mr. Rooter’s corporate office provides franchisees with PR services through Fish Consulting, but Sposari was skeptical. He didn’t think PR could actually boost business for a plumbing company.
What he got:Name recognition. Sposari constantly meets people who recognize the name Mr. Rooter from articles, and sometimes people even recognize him by name. Plus, the press has helped boost trust. “People don’t always trust the plumber,” says Sposari. “This gives us some credibility.”