Focus on Your Brand's Audience
By Tom Kaiser
Situational awareness is one of the keys to success in life—whether it’s appropriate behavior at a cocktail party, realizing when an opportunity is knocking on your door or promoting your brand at in-person events. I say this as I pack my bags in the wake of this year’s Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas.
Our team and attending audience heard presentations from 33 franchised brands before an audience of industry professionals and large-scale financiers. Sitting in the back row furiously typing notes, it was interesting to note the many different approaches by brand’s touting their strengths, storied pasts and plans to grow in the coming years.
Without calling out anyone specifically, some were better than others—and many were extremely successful.
First, the best of the best: brands that realized who was sitting before them in the audience. Our conference is not filled with prospective franchisees or marketing professions. Rather, this was a crowd that wanted raw numbers, a convincing plan for growth, details about behind-the-scenes restructuring efforts and, above all, believable reasons why this is a brand of the future.
Companies that married these vital stats with on-stage personality won the days hands down, and likely went home with contacts or signed deals to help the company achieve its growth strategy.
Then, there were a small number of brands that seem to miss the mark with the crowd, whether by displaying a lack of enthusiasm or by focusing too strongly on things like community outreach or the brand’s founding story—charming, but not relevant in this setting.
It’s hard to present before an audience of one’s peers. Trust me, the sting wears off with time, but even a lack of showmanship can be easily overcome by understanding what the people you’re talking with are interested in.
Just like I don’t (generally) share my thoughts on politics or plans for how lazy I’m going to be once I get home from the conference with new contacts and friends at the show, brands that want to convince an audience of lenders to sign on should remember who they’re talking to, and take an extended moment to consider what they care about—and cut out everything they don’t—before pushing “Save” on that PowerPoint.