By Lisa Burton, CMP and Kate Godfrey, CMP, Meeting Expectations
Transforming a brand vision into fruitful franchise convention success takes a carefully laid out plan. From budget, to timing, registration and venue, there are a host of considerations to make your event a success.
Franchise conventions offer the opportunity for franchise owners and franchisees to immerse themselves into the goals of the overall brand, to come together to network, share ideas, learn from educational sessions and get inspired. Some franchise events are incentives, where the attendees are treated to complimentary registrations due to their performance or sometimes registration is required, but you might have trouble gauging the engagement.
High performers often attend these events, but what about the others? They are often overlooked. A strategy to increase event attendance is to offer complimentary registrations to first-time attendees. Another is to create specific communication or marketing campaigns to focus on groups that might be overlooked, such as a single-unit franchisee.
Another idea is to establish a networking or mentee program to increase engagement and event attendance. This also has a positive impact on the overall franchise goals – not just the event goals.
Some events also separate how they communicate to corporate owned stores vs. franchise stores. The event might be set up for corporate at the beginning of the week and franchisees at the end of the week. However, there may be a benefit to bringing them together at the event and adding another layer to the program.
Always keep in mind your event goals as you strive to increase engagement during the convention. For example, if education is a big part of your convention’s focus, adopting different education styles and formats can make sessions more fun and engaging.
An educational session style that we find yields big engagement is what we call a “Mastermind” session, where topics are pre-selected by attendees and content is generated on the spot. The session, which consist of 5-15 individual groups, is led by facilitators or “masterminds” with extensive knowledge in the overall subject area. Attendees have a big hand in the discussion, while the masterminds guide and keep the conversation flowing. This education format puts subject matter experts within your franchise, those leaders that attendees like to hear from the most, at the head of a lively discussion topic and gives attendees a chance to voice their viewpoints.
There are several variables to take into consideration when trying to increase the engagement and attendance at your next franchise meeting. Because each franchise is unique, so should be the approach and strategy to strengthen your event. We hope you find our tips and takeaways helpful plan your attendance and engagement strategies for your franchise convention.