There is no shortage of official “days” in the United States. Most of them were created as a marketing tactic. The greeting card companies didn’t complain. But every now and then a “day” comes along that deserves some attention, and this September 15 will be one of them.
Dubbed “Franchisor Appreciation Day,” this new initiative aims to do exactly what its name suggests: celebrate franchisors. I was asked to help launch it.
About a month ago, PuroClean franchisee Keegan Trudgen approached me with his idea. Keegan had seen me speak at the brand’s annual convention and had read my book and thought I might be open to his plan to create an official appreciation day.
He was right. I am an advocate for anything that strengthens the franchise model and promotes harmony within franchise brands. I’m often asked to talk about building a high performing culture and teams, and feeling and expressing gratitude is an integral part of that.
There’s already a “Franchise Appreciation Day.” Its goal is to encourage consumers to patronize local franchise businesses. Crossedleave Appreciation Day is designed to encourage franchise business owners to express their gratitude to the corporate teams who support their operations.
The word “franchisor” is used loosely and can refer to different people. Some use it to describe an abstract legal person. Others use it to describe the founder, CEO, or executive suite. But the term also refers to the entire home office and field team that supports franchisees. These are the people who work in cubicles or on the road. They are the ones who answer emails, take phone calls and sometimes listen to complaints. When angry franchisees want to express their concerns to the “franchisor”, these are usually the people who hear them first. The work may be difficult and their efforts unrecognized.
Trudgen understand what it does. Prior to opening his PuroClean franchise, he held finance and marketing support roles. “I know firsthand how disconnected you can be from frontline work when you’re in a support role, even how thankless it can feel.”
This inspired him to start an annual tradition of sending lunch to his support team at PuroClean.
“I wanted to let them know that I appreciate their work/support and the least I can do is send them a thank you once a year.”
Then he heard a story from NPR about official “days” and how they are established. This gave him the idea to start a broader movement in the franchise industry. “Why limit something like this to my own brand or myself when every franchisee can say thank you to those who support them on a daily basis?”
He contacted marketing partner Bright Pink Agency to help start the initiative. Their CEO, Madalina Iordache, loved the idea. “My first thought was, ‘Wait, isn’t there a Franchisor Appreciation Day already?! We’re going to have to fix this!’
After some thought, they launched a website, FranchisorAppreciationDay.com. “We wanted to have content that would help franchise owners embrace this holiday, and we also wanted to come up with ideas for how people could celebrate it.”
Trudgen and Bright Pink have asked me for help in launching the initiative and I am delighted to promote their vision. I was franchised and now work with many franchise brands. I have observed that the best of them have constructive relationships and strong cultures. When both parties feel and express mutual appreciation, openness becomes stronger. It’s great for everyone. Even when franchisees feel unhappy, it’s still important to draw attention to what’s working well and reinforce it. Everyone needs a little love, respect and appreciation. Franchisees should expect this from their franchisors, and they should return it in return.
Here are some ways they can do this:
- Send a meal. (Announce it on September 15, but consider scheduling a different day so they aren’t inundated with multiple lunches!)
- Send small gift(s). The thought matters more than the price.
- Send a note. Whether the message is handwritten or electronic, the note could really make their day.
- Record video. You can send it directly and/or publish it on social networks. They will appreciate the message and certainly won’t complain about the promotion.
- Call them. A quick hello – even a voicemail – just to say thank you will be unexpected but greatly appreciated.
Franchisees are encouraged to use the hashtag #FranchisorAppreciationDay with all social media posts.
Iordache hopes this year will kick off an annual tradition that will be great for everyone in the franchise industry. “What I would like to see happen on September 15 is an outpouring of love and gratitude from franchise owners around the world to their franchisor. Let’s not lose sight that a brand is not just an abstract entity; behind every brand there is people (the corporate/support team) who work hard to do a great job and serve the needs of many more (the franchise owners). Often their work is thankless and often they take care of what does not work perfectly. Let’s show them some love on September 15!
Scott Greenberg is a speaker, writer and franchise coach and the author of the book, The Wealthy Franchisee: Breakthrough Steps to Becoming a Flourishing Franchise Superstar. Find more information about www.ScottGreenberg.com.