According to the Franchising Council of Australia, ‘franchising is a business relationship in which the franchisor assigns to independent people the right to market and distribute the franchisor's goods or service, and to use the business name for a fixed period of time.’
While there are many different types of franchises operating in Australia, each share common business trading mechanisms and require consistent communication between franchisor and franchisee. A 2015 report by Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends identified 10 top challenges faced by franchises, and highlighted an increased focus on culture from franchisors in relation to recruiting franchisees. In his article “Maintaining Culture in a Fast-Growing Franchise System”, Andrew A Caffey confirms;
“The best franchise companies use all of the cultural teaching tools at their disposal, and they are relentless at spreading and reinforcing the message of their organization’s culture.”
Franchising parties are often dispersed nationally or internationally, so they need an efficient and cost-effective way to frequently spread or reinforce their ‘cultural’ message far and wide. According to Caffey, one of the USA’s leading franchise legal specialists, there are several ways to successfully deliver a consistent cultural message.
Sharing valuable information
Training, innovative and impassioned leadership, a company purpose to live by and annual franchisee conferences are some of the ways franchisors communicate with their franchisees to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.
Ensuring franchisees are across product updates, licensing information, franchise agreement amendments or new franchise location openings all need to be delivered to franchisees to keep them engaged with the brand they’ve invested in.
When franchises are geographically separated by hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres around Australia and each franchise needs to receive the same important information at the same time, how does the franchisor execute a flawless delivery?
Jim Bugg, Jr., president of Interiors by Decorating Den, a national franchisor of mobile interior decorating business, says they recently “began a bi-weekly, all-franchisee telephone conference call where we offer a system-wide update and highlight the accomplishments of particular franchisees who have been succeeding in this recession. It’s been very well received.” Taking the bi-weekly, all-franchisee telephone conference call a step further, offering franchisees the opportunity to meet online to discuss business, operations and new initiatives is now a necessity for many commercial operations. Having an easy-to-use, reliable and secure solution to deliver such information will ensure each franchisor can receive, assess and action information without leaving their store or office, no matter the location. Here are three different forms of web-based (online) communication services.
Different forms of web-based communication
The term ‘webcast’ is a combination of the words ‘web’ and ‘broadcast’. In its most basic form, a webcast allows a video or presentation to be shown over the internet, just as TV shows are broadcast into a home. Webcasts are not interactive - they are a one way form of communication.
As webcasts are a non-interactive form of communicating, they are suitable for large-scale events or reaching out to a vast number of people. For a franchisor, this may be a useful method when changes to licenses or consumer trading laws are put in place and need to be delivered to franchisees. Such topics are final verdicts from the government and thus are not open for discussion. Guests are invited to observe the webinar and learn about the topic, but interaction is unnecessary.
Webinars are online conferences conducted over the internet. They allow for a presentation to a large number of viewers and include interactive features. These can include screen and file sharing, live polling and text-based chat functions. Given the large number of participants, webinars are not particularly conducive to dialogue.
For a franchisor, hosting a new product launch via webinar is a great way to engage franchisees and educate them about a product’s special features or functionality. Webinars allow the franchisor to complete a presentation without being interrupted, and then allow franchisees to ask questions, vote or provide feedback when needed.
When there is a need for collaborative visual communication in a group of people, a web conference is an ideal solution. Using a telephone service for the audio combined with the internet for visual, web conferences allow groups to communicate and collaborate visually in real time, regardless of location. Unlike webcasts and webinars, which focus on one presenter and multiple viewers, web conferencing is more geared towards group communication and collaboration.
A quarterly board meeting is an excellent reason for a web conference to take place. Often the board of a franchise will be made up of a group of geographically-dispersed people (franchisees) that do not always have the time to travel interstate for meetings. Hosting a web conference for board members to meet and openly discuss trading results, financially review the franchise’s position in the market and plan for the next quarter is a sound solution for those with travelling concerns.
Which is the best solution for your franchise?
In order to choose the online collaboration tool that best suits your franchise, an evaluation of the business’ communications needs to take place. Whether it be less frequent and non-legislative topics, or frequent discussions regarding new products, there are many different ways to connect and collaborate with franchisees near and far.
When choosing a virtual meeting provider, be sure to choose one that can offer multiple solutions to suit your business’ varying needs.
If you would like to learn more about the web-based communication services Eureka Conferencing offers, call 1800 735 260 to speak with one of our virtual meeting experts, or follow the link to get in touch with us and continue learning about web meetings.