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In Focus SAnDerSon & ASSocIATeS The founder of the ORIGINAL franchise PR firm explains how franchising PR has changed in the last 30 years.ByrhonDA SAnDerSon oThose days are rare now. that social media is the new way to reach your customer. How-Bloggers and other specialty influencers. Social Media is a bigbuzz term—and it can drive traffic to your site or sites. Still I willnot believe you can sell a franchise solely because it has a Face-book page! There is so much more to it. But there is no doubtFranchising in the early ‘80s was a booming,h how I long and pine for the day that I wouldpick up the phone and get an INC editor on theline within a few minutes and pitch him a story. burgeoning growth method with many different segments in- ever, it’s also an opportunity to really make a huge mistake—so volved. Restaurants were big then, ranging from full service to it’s best if PR professionals, who should know the buzz words quick serve such as Subway, only a fledgling company compared that help your business, handle these sites for you. to its enormous eventual growth and success. It boils down to good old fashioned operations. Provide an There was a reason for that growth. Fred Deluca, the founder amazing product or service to the public. Check your franchi- had a vision and he didn’t stray off that path, nor did he allow sees and your operations diligently for best practices. . Not only franchisees to stray off the path. He took charge and led his fran- because they need to understand franchise law, but because they chisees to growth and success. should be well respected and well known But many industries were growing and among the reporters and editors, producers still are via franchising. Mobile businesses and bloggers who write about retail, small such as CertaPro Painters and Spring- business and franchising. Green Lawn Care thrive. Elder care is huge A perfect example of some of the new with companies such as FirstLight HomeC- stars in franchising is Jeff Sinelli of Which- are and ComForCare leading the charge to wich, whoGourmet magazine named as one offer primarily baby boomers help in caring of the Top 25 People who Have Changed the for their elderly parents. Way we Eat. This is an amazing honor given Sometimes a category seems hot but the the fact that Jeff is very young and is in the model just doesn’t work. Such is the case company of the likes of Wolfgang Puck in with meal preparation franchises. This is this piece. also where one can see how PR helped this And the industries entering franchis- segment boom, with companies like Dinner ing are diverse and new. Take for example by Design receiving a ton of press. The next Liquid Capital, an international network of time we turned around there were about 15 franchise owners or “principals” who help of these franchised concepts. Google this small- and medium-size businesses grow segment and see what’s left. and succeed through “factoring,” a special- PR always worked well to grow franchise ized financial service that provides immedi- systems, but if the model isn’t viable it just doesn’t matter. And PR ate financing secured by credit-worthy account receivables. for the franchise community is changing. One of the biggest chal- Another great segment you didn’t see until a few years ago, lenges for PR firms in franchising is that the client or franchisor but one that is booming, is the game truck. In fact, the company thinks that what they are doing is so unique that they should be that founded the concept is called just that, GameTruck, found- making big news. Unfortunately, from the larger view of the me- ed by Scott Novis and based in Tempe, AZ. dia, this is not the case. And the media is shrinking, so they now As the world of PR is changing, so must every company re- have less staff to write about anything other than hard news. evaluate their needs and understand that PR isn’t only about The other changes, and the basis for us introducing a whole leads. PR is about branding, awareness, image, messaging, per- “new” PR firm at Sanderson & Associates, are positive changes. ception and so much more. If franchisors keep that in mind, Where it might not be easy to land every client in theWall Street there is much more bang for your buck with PR than with any Journal, it is an era where leads are driven by and to the internet. other marketing discipline. We have added a bundle of new services, video production to use YouTube for clients, internet marketing, etc.. Rhonda Sanderson is the founder and president of Chicago based We are now writing press releases embedded with SEO terms Sanderson & Associates, the Original PR firm specializing in fran- and planting them where they need to go to do the job of driv- chising. For more info go to: www.sandersonpr.com or contact ing leads to the client. We are working much more with Mommy Rhonda at Rhonda@sandersonpr.com 18Opportunity World • November/December 2012 www.OpportunityWorld.com


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