Tag Archives: storytelling

Storytelling and Franchising: Keeping It Simple.

15 May

Multi-Unit Franchising

 

Franchise Update Media hosted another spectacular Multi-Unit Franchising Conference recently in Las Vegas. This is one of my favorite annual business conferences due the diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and interests of the attendees.

The final day included a fantastic session discussing issues impacting small business owners. The International Franchise Association’s Matt Haller moderated the panel which included Catherine Monson of FASTSIGNS, Matthew Patinkin of Double P Corp, Ron Feldman of ApplePie Capital, and IFA Chair Shelly Sun of BrightStar Care. This “A-Team” of business leaders offered their candid insights on many subjects, but the prevailing topic was the National Labor Relations Board and its 2015 ruling on the joint employer standard.

It occurs to me that such non-elected policy makers, as well as some elected officials, journalists, and activists are dreadfully uneducated about the ownership of a franchised business. This leads to the general public being uninformed and in many cases purposefully misinformed.

If we want to correct this, we need tell the story of franchising in simple terms —  so simple, in fact, that a politician and maybe even a journalist could understand.

Here are my two suggestions to properly and simply communicate the role of a franchisee:

1. The Franchisee Is a Customer of the Franchisor

There’s no clearer argument than showing that a franchisee is a customer of the franchisors and not an employee or middle-manager. There are many things small business owners must purchase in order to open their doors. The purchase from the franchisor is just one of those things.

As an example, let’s use a home services franchise brand such as a plumbing, landscaping, or cleaning franchise. There are several things you need to buy If you want to own one of these businesses including:

A) The Franchise.
B) A Truck.

If you buy a Ford F150 for your business, does this mean The Ford Motor Company is a joint employer of your staff?

Of course not. The car brand from whom you purchased your truck is not in charge of your employees.  Also, the plumbing brand from whom you purchased your franchise is not in charge of your employees.

 

2. Not Franchisees. Owners.

While some franchise systems may have specific language that they can or can’t use in some agreements, in general discussions we should refer to owners as owners.

If we, as an industry, had used this terminology more often in recent years, the anti-business Washington bureaucrats, lobbyists, and activists may have targeted a different industry. They would have perpetrated their schemes on a business sector without owners.

 

 

Don’t Redo Your Website in 2016

8 Dec

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“No one’s looking at our website. Quick – redesign it!”  

But if no one’s looking, then why waste resources? With marketers changing jobs so frequently, it’s easy to fall into the trap of changing websites along with the marketing professional.  The new head of marketing joins the company, and his first move is to redo the website. Why?

  • It’s what he knows how to do.
  • It has the old head of marketing’s mark on it.
  • He’s got a long list of loyal vendors or old teammates who can do the job.
  • Refreshing a website is safe, while trying something new is risky.

None of these are good reasons to change your current website!

And, the CEO knows just enough about marketing to be dangerous and say, “Sure, it makes sense to do a new website. The internet is important, right?”  

The problem is that no additional customers will see the new site versus the old site unless you are actively attracting viewers.

 

What should you do instead?

 

1. Turn your corporate website into a blog.

Maintain an active blog page as your “main” landing page of your company’s website. Keep it fresh with new stories about your customers, industry, and brand.

Search engines like articles better than corporate pages. And, so do your customers!

Links to your blog posts give you “stuff” to put on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Seriously, aside from fresh blog posts or articles, what else from your corporate site could you share on your Facebook that anyone would want to see? A link to your “about us” page or your pricing page? Hardly!

 

2. Focus on Facebook

A no-brainer? Yes, to some. But we still see resources going into audience-free corporate websites, rather than the online places where your customers are already living.

Your Facebook page isn’t even the most important thing to focus on.  The posts that you publish – and pay to boost – are what will appear on your customers’ feeds are the key.

 

The 2016 Model of Google +

30 Nov

GooglePlus-logos-02

 

Like an aging car model, Google+ has a fresh new look for the coming new year.

I was a huge proponent of G+ for many years. Since its inception, I have told countless peers, friends, clients, and all marketers that they must get on Google+ now, share your brand’s content, and engage! 

With the new model of Google+, I can tell you now that I’m not so sure how to tell a brand’s story there. And, the chances of engaging with customers are nearly nonexistent.

Of course, there’s still an important SEO factor. But this will be replaced by search results showing consumers your Google My Business page, Google Places page, and your brand’s website. (Until 2017 when we make all websites irrelevant and just drive people to your Facebook page. But I digress…)

Through the lens of content sharing and engaging, Google has succeeded in taking the social out of social media marketing. There’s just no one engaging. And most of all, I don’t see a path for marketers to pull in new fans and customers to G+ pages and compel them to “follow” the pages, when the pages are now harder than even to find. 

 

Recommendations for using G+

I recommend not spending much time or many resources on Google+. However, sometimes when everyone else is going another way on social media, it just might be worth hedging a bit and trying one more time, perhaps from another angle.

So if you’re marketer who’s not yet ready to give up on Google+, or if you’re true Social Geek and want to check out Google+ again, here are a few recommendations and tips:

G+ Tip: Use the mobile version only

It’s mobile or nothing. Maybe you’ll want to use the desktop version to set some things set up but then walk away.  There are just too many areas to make the desktop version usable by anyone. People? Well, business pages are here too. Pages? My business? All of the confusing navigation from the desktop version is missing in the mobile version – and I’m glad!

In the mobile version, there are only 3 areas:

1. Home – feed of updates from your friends and brands you follow (just like Facebook, and just like the “old” Google+).

2. Communities – like a more visual Facebook or LinkedIn Group.

G+ Tip: By sharing things here, we can reach and engage with people without “friending” them and letting them into our personal lives (what many are hesitant to do on Facebook).

3. Collections – like Pinterest or Instagram; you’re sharing images of your favorite things.

G+ Tip: When you add a post to Communities or Collections, it also adds to your timeline with an indicator that it’s also part of the other group. No need to add twice!

G+ Tip: share photos and text from the mobile version, try to avoid sharing links for now. An early glitch shows that when saving a link to a blog post, the photo I chose to be the thumbnail does not appear in the mobile version of the same post.

 

For further discussion on the new Google+, please check out this week’s Social Geek Radio podcast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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