1) Hire a PR company. This is a smart move, even if you think your brand is small enough to manage its own PR. A professional PR firm will have more connections to get the right people in your doors and talking about your brand, and will also be able to pitch these stories to media. Elevation Burger recently hired Maloney & Fox, (the same PR company with the LinkedIn account) to leverage their brand messaging.
2) Create buzz around your events, such as grand openings. A PR company can help here too. For the L.A. opening of Freshii, the brand got Ryan Seacrest and Ashton Kutcher to tweet about it. Something as simple as this allows you to reach a huge fan base (Ryan Seacrest and Ashton Kutcher have over 15 million followers combined on Twitter), getting the word out that much faster.
3) Supply food to an event. If you cater a charitable event, a radio or TV station party, or a number of other things where celebrities will be present, it will be more than easy to get a quick snapshot of a celebrity digging into your food.
Example 2: Elevation Burger catered lunch to a radio station where Danny Bonaduce was DJing, and he was quoted as calling it the “Best Burger he ever had”!
4) Open in the “big” markets, and practice 4 walls execution. The “big” markets being NYC, LA, Miami, Las Vegas and D.C. – also known as “critical areas”. The press loves these areas and they are where celebrities are most likely to be found. However, simply planting yourself in one of these locations is not enough. You have to be a standout – exceptional product, cool environment and excellent customer service – in order to get people in your doors and keep them there. Examples of where this has helped food franchises retain notable clientele are Michelle and Barack Obama being photographed in Five Guys Burgers & Fries, and Shawn Springs, formerly of the Washington Redskins, openly speaking in an interview about loving Elevation Burger (while eating at an Elevation Burger) – both in D.C. A quote from People Magazine talks about Megan Fox eating at Freshii in L.A.:
“A solo Megan Fox grabbed a healthy lunch at Freshii in L.A. The actress stopped into the chain's South Fairfax Avenue location, where she ordered a customized wrap for herself and was "really sweet to the staff," an onlooker says.” – People Magazine
And finally, Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe mentions in an interview with MTV that he thinks zpizza is the “Best Pizza in New York”.
5) Help out with a celebrity's charity or organization. Here you strike double the marketing gold. While giving back, doing something worthy and contributing to your company’s social responsibility, you are also bound to receive props from appreciative celebs who want to encourage people to contribute to their causes – and a little cross-promotion never hurt anyone!
Example 1: Christy Turlington tweeted a ‘Thank You’ out to Fransmart after we donated to her Every Mother Counts cause (see photo).
These are things which you can post onto your website and social media sites, showing all your followers what great company you keep.
Utilize every bit of celebrity publicity you can – in a celebrity obsessed culture, this is the mother of all PR. With Twitter, and news platforms such as TMZ that are round-the-clock eyes, celebrities are more accessible than ever and having one seen with your product is not impossible.
As Founder and CEO of Fransmart, Dan Rowe has turned dozens of emerging restaurant concepts into national and global chains. Mr. Rowe is a franchisee, master franchisee, franchisor, consultant, strategist, and private equity investor. He has published several expert opinion articles and spoken at numerous restaurant and franchise industry conferences. Dan is also a guest blogger for CNBC through his membership in YPO - Young Presidents' Organization. Connect with Dan Rowe on LinkedIn
As Fransmart's Vice President of Marketing, Kristin Martonik directs the global franchise marketing strategy for Fransmart’s portfolio brands. She has led franchise marketing for more than twenty regional, national and global chains. Connect with Kristin Martonik on LinkedIn
As Vice President of Fransmart, Al Rowe matches qualified franchise candidates with innovative franchise opportunities. Mr. Rowe specializes in international franchise development, and has spearheaded the growth of multiple US-based chains in high-growth international markets. Connect with Al Rowe on LinkedIn
As a Senior Director of Development, Paul Tran manages the Fransmart's emerging concepts division and is involved in recruiting franchise operators, raising capital, and territory development. Connect with Paul Tran on LinkedIn
As the Vice President of Operations for Fransmart, Kathy Thombs works closely with new franchise candidates, franchisors and the Fransmart development team to ensure seamless and successful new franchise partnerships. Her areas of expertise include franchise compliance including federal and state franchise regulations, marketing research and strategy, analytics, and customer relationship management systems. Connect with Kathy Thombs on LinkedIn.
As a Senior Director of Development, Ryan Durishin helps food operators build wealth by expanding their portfolio with high growth, emerging restaurant brands. Ryan is also a Master Franchisee for Tossed in the Washington, DC Metro market. Connect with Ryan Durishin on LinkedIn
Mark Treptow is a Director of Franchise Development at Fransmart, and founding shareholder in a privately held QSR concept. Connect with Mark Treptow on LinkedIn