Industry Awards Can Boost Your Franchise Development Results
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Industry Awards Can Boost Your Franchise Development Results

Industry Awards Can Boost Your Franchise Development Results

Winning a business award or ranking high on a “best of” or “fastest-growing” list can be a thrilling and fulfilling feather in your franchise brand’s cap. It can provide your executive team with some bragging rights and make your employees feel as though their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

Awards also can increase your brand awareness and boost your credibility when franchisee prospects are researching your brand online. So, if you’re not doing it already, include submissions for awards as part of your company’s marketing strategy.

After all, if you could experience a 63% increase in operating income and a 39% growth in sales, wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity? According to Best Business Awards, that is what small to mid-sized award-winning companies can expect compared with non-winners. With this in mind, here are three ways awards will help your company.

1) Increase your employee morale

In our current business landscape, one of the most difficult challenges any organization faces is attracting and retaining the best talent in the market. To help overcome this challenge, you must improve employee engagement.

Engaged employees are not only more productive, they also are more likely to stay with your company longer. In addition to increased longevity, employee satisfaction means your workers will outperform their competitors and will sing your praises to potential employees. Positive sentiment is infectious and translates into a larger talent pool for both franchise headquarters and your franchisees’ locations.

When your franchise wins awards for providing the best service, or because it is one of the best places to work, you give your employees a sense of accomplishment. They feel part of an award-winning team.

2) Improve your publicity

Since many industry award programs focus on tangible accomplishments, winning a prestigious award can instantly boost your franchise’s credibility. When you win an award, not only are you featured by the organization that presented the award, you also can parlay that achievement by sharing it on your own social media. You can issue a press release that might get picked up by your local media or your industry’s trade publications and post that on your company’s website.

The more your company is mentioned in a positive light, the higher your company name will rise in online searches. This not only helps your main location with its online presence, it also can be beneficial to your franchisees. Helping the owners of your various locations show up higher in their local searches is an added benefit you can tout to appeal to potential franchise owners.

In addition to all the free publicity you receive in the media and in online searches, you also receive one of the most important types of effective public relations: word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth publicity is important because of its impact. More than 92% of consumers trust what they hear from other people over any advertising campaign a company can mock up on a storyboard. When people talk about your award-winning service or your show-stopping products, other people listen.

As the former marketing and public relations manager for Clockwork Home Services, my ability to promote awards for Clockwork—along with its franchises Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, and Mister Sparky—was a boon to our public relations plan. We would showcase our awards front and center for prospects to see when they came to our office for discovery days.

In 2009, when all three franchises made Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list, we were able to capitalize on these honors in press releases that were mentioned in both the news media and in trade publications. This news helped catapult the brand into national recognition. By 2010, Clockwork was such an attractive brand in a variety of substantial markets that it was acquired by Direct Energy, one of the nation’s largest energy and service companies, for more than $180 million.

In addition to the Franchise 500, franchise brands can pursue placement on the Inc. 5000 list, the Franchise Times Top 200, and Franchise Business Review’s Top Franchises and Franchise RockStar Awards. There are many more industry-specific awards your team can consider within your market, as well. (Editor: Franchise Update Media has two annual award competitions: MVP (Most Valuable Performers) for franchisees, and the Innovation Awards for franchise brands.)

So, when you win a prestigious award, make sure you write a press release, alert your local media, post the win on your social media channels, use it in your advertising, and post it on your website. Don’t keep it to yourself. Use it to enhance your public relations efforts.

P.S. – Just make sure that when you write your release, you either use AP Style or hire a professional writer who can ensure that your release is news outlet–ready.

3) Bring in new business

With your improved publicity and increased credibility comes the ability to bring in new business. You learn about your company’s untapped potential since the application process for an award naturally compels you to view your brand from a different angle. You must consider what sets you apart from your rivals and evaluate your company from the standpoint of your customers. Simply doing this makes it easier to give your customers the goods and services they want. They become more devoted to your company as a result.

It also helps you bring in new contracts and customers. We all know the saying that everyone loves a winner. This is never more true than when you are winning awards. Customers want to work with a team that is seen as a winner in your industry.

But be forewarned: Pursuing awards can be time-consuming. And, if you don’t have a wordsmith on staff, putting your best foot forward can be difficult, especially on award applications that rely on storytelling.

Therefore, if you need assistance choosing the appropriate awards and ensuring that the application shines, one of your best options is to employ a PR agency, especially one focused on franchising or your specific industry. In addition to hiring experienced writers, PR agencies have a wealth of experience in both applying for and winning prizes. They also know how to promote your business once you have won.

Apply for awards, but don’t leave winning to chance. If you know how to appropriately market your achievements, awards can make your bottom line, your customers, and your staff the ultimate winners.

Heather Ripley is the founder and CEO of Ripley PR, a global public relations agency specializing in the franchising, skilled trades, and B2B tech industries. Ripley PR has been listed by Entrepreneur magazine as a Top Franchise PR Agency 5 years in a row and was named to Forbes’ America’s Best PR Agencies 2021. It is also recognized as the top PR agency for the home service industry. She is the author of “Next Level Now: PR Secrets To Drive Explosive Growth for Your Home Service Business,” available on all audiobook platforms. For additional information, visit ripleypr.com.

Published: September 4th, 2023

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