How to Pick a Franchise PR Agency | 1851 Franchise
How to Pick a Franchise PR Agency
How to Pick a Franchise PR Agency

Innovation, team depth, consistency and knowledge are all factors that determine which franchise PR agency is right for your brand.

If you haven’t read my column on franchise development and leads, you should. This is a good starting place for understanding how your brand is going to have to look at franchise sales. Why? Because most franchise brands will use PR for two main purposes: consumer and franchise development. However, as you will learn, the separation of focus may hurt the true solution PR may provide.
When looking for the right agency, you will want to look at the following:

Dedication to Innovation: There are tons of PR firms. If you Google PR agency, you will get 286 million options. When it comes to PR (specifically PR, not marketing, advertising, digital or social), innovation will win the game. Journalists are changing (influencers, the dynamics of the newsroom and speed of content). Newsrooms are struggling financially, creating forced layoffs and restructuring. Thus, if you want PR to be a strong ongoing solution for the storytelling of your brand, you will want an agency that understands these shifts and is prepared for them.

What to ask?

How does your team hunt for stories?

How does your team plan the execution of that story?

How does your team secure press?

What value does the agency put on the interview vs. the secured?

Depth of the Team: In the agency world, you can really break the agency into three categories – small, medium and large (as you can with most businesses). The large agencies will cost a lot, and many won’t understand franchising. The small agencies have staffs under 20 and won’t be able to build up enough momentum to impact your brand in a big way. When looking at a medium size agency, look at the depth of their team.

What to ask?

Do they have strategic vice presidents who will lead the organization and strategic development of your stories?

How many people will work on my account and in what capacity?

How do you approach KPIs?

What is the depth of the executive leadership?

How often does your team meet internally to talk about the success of my brand?

Consistency of Client Base: if you are looking to invest in PR, make sure you are investing in the possibility of forever. This way, your investment continues to count, versus going into a PR blitz that then tails off. Agencies that find a way to continue to build on the success of the previous year are likely to keep the client for a long time. The client turnover rate will be an essential data point for you to understand the strength of the account.

What to ask?

How many clients turn over each year and why?

What is your longest client?

What makes the relationship continue?

Knowledge of Leadership: Leadership should be sophisticated about your brand and your goals. They should be able to impact your brand with knowledge and leadership, so that those who work on your account day-to-day are consistently educated on what it takes to drive awareness that will impact lead generation and consume awareness.

What to ask?

What are the philosophies of the leadership on the value of PR?

How will your leadership impact my brand?

Outside of PR, what else is your leadership team able to do to impact my growth?

Award Winning, Cheapest or Innovation: Brands typically pick an agency based on one of these characteristics. Understanding how the agency can help solve your needs through each of these traits is important to the long-term success of your brand. Rather than asking questions about this, you should conduct your own due diligence to see how the agency tells this story:

What to ask?

Are they active on social media with a message that is impactful?

Do they create content that has a point-of-view?

Outside of industry, do other award-winning sources recognize the brand?

Are they doing anything with technology to inspire you?