Jeff Sturgis Joins Fish as PR Firm Launches Franchise Consulting
Lorne Fisher, left, CEO and managing partner of Fish Consulting, brings in Jeff Sturgis to help franchise clients drive unit growth.
Lorne Fisher has worked with countless franchise brands since he launched public relations and marketing firm Fish Consulting 15 years ago, and one recurring need kept surfacing: they wanted help specifically to drive unit growth.
“There’s so much more to offer than one tactic—PR is just one tactic,” said Fisher. “In conversations with brands we worked with it became apparent that if we found a cultural fit,” then a franchise development service was in demand.
Enter Jeff Sturgis, formerly the chief development officer at Fazoli’s and McAlister’s Deli, and senior VP of development for Fantastic Sams, who’s bringing his expertise to Fort Lauderdale-based Fish as it offers franchise consulting services to its clients.
“We want brands to succeed as a business,” said Fisher. “We tend to look at our clients as partners. I know a lot of people say that, but we’re not here just to get them some ink, some broadcast stories … the priority is to help a partner with their business, to grow long term.”
Sturgis will consult with emerging and mature brands alike, but address their development needs in different ways. “So it could be a mature brand that needs to evaluate its sales team and process and ultimately award more franchises,” he said. “Or it could be an emerging brand that really isn’t sure how to establish their sales process. I’d address if they have the right infrastructure in place, for example.”
Communications and PR, Sturgis continued, should be incorporated as part of a broader franchise development strategy, and this partnership with Fish Consulting will do just that.
“A lot of franchisors are just implementing tactics,” said Sturgis. “Our goal is to help franchisors think more strategically. It’s not just selling franchises.”
There’s a lack of “congruence and continuity” in many franchise systems, noted Sturgis, something he saw at multiple brands where he worked and in his experience leading his own consulting firm. “A lot of times what I saw is the sales team was looked at as in their own world,” he said. “The sales strategy wasn’t congruent with the rest of organization.”
An understanding of that reality and experience helping brands align their sales efforts within the larger franchise system will allow Fish Consulting to service its clients in new ways, said Fisher.