Get Creative: 5 Unique Ways to Raise Local Awareness

Article by: Lynne D. Shelton

It’s the one part of business that most of us don’t want to deal with, think about, or mention. It’s the tricky, it’s awkward, it’s painful. But it’s also necessary. No matter how much we may want to ignore it, the truth is this: Local Press is vital to the operation of your business.


Whether we like it or not, we need public relations in order to engage in business. The problem is that in many of the emerging Franchisors businesses, are working off of a small branding budget to get the word out to a lot of people, who may even have smaller marketing budgets. So how are we supposed to find the fans we need to get the press out about our franchisees’ businesses and the Franchisees we serve?

Well, we are so glad you asked! When it comes to raising awareness of your local businesses, think of it as a three-part process:

1. Present people with your product or service
2. Give them the vision for their funds and
3. Offer them an opportunity to share or give

Well, the first two pieces of the process will be unique to your specific business, but we can help with the third one! We racked our brains and called our experts to come up with some unique opportunities to offer people and your local community a way to support your franchisees.


Check out these creative and engaging opportunities, that can be hosted by your franchisees, which are designed both to bring in a little more money to the business and help your franchisees engage with their local community while having some fun along the way!

1. Karaoke Competition.
This one is sure to make some memories for your business! Because who doesn’t love a good old fashion sing off? All you need is some room, plenty of tables and chairs, a solid karaoke machine, a good host, and a set of judges. Have your community & employees signed up to sing, with each entry costing a small fee to participate, then let the performance begin! Have your judges score your vocalists on everything from performance quality to Voice to overall entertainment, and be sure to have small prizes for the winner.

2. Creative Auction
This is a great way to draw in the artsy, creative people in your congregation, host an auction dedicated to the arts in your community. This event can include a little bit of everything: Art, for Tiger fee, graphic design, dance, poetry, carpentry, quilters, and more. Maybe someone who teaches dance could offer a few free lessons. Maybe someone who quilts could offer one of their creations. It may be a photographer could offer one family portrait session. You’ve got plenty of creative people sitting around in your local community and coming into your businesses every week, so think about what they do and then ask them to take part. Once you’ve got your list of people together, start planning the event. Keep it classy and cool with live music, funky lighting, and a unique Decor to set the mood for creativity. Display the items for auction throughout the space, including with each One a bidding sheet to describe what the item is and the minimum starting bed. Then let the auction begin! Remember to invite the local radio stations and TV stations to televise and broadcast the event for you. Have people leave their name phone number and bid amount I need sheet at the end of the night announce your winners and make sure to collect the money that people bet as people leave. Then give all the proceeds to a local charity that the franchise system supports.

3. Lawn Ornaments
This one could be a little edgy (depending on the people in your community) so be sure to get the green light from your leadership before you get started. Once you have the OK, by about 30 or so different lawn ornaments. Thank flamingos, gnomes, silly signs – the tackier, the better! Then start advertising in your business! For a small fee, volunteers from your business or kids of your staff members might be great for this, will decorate the lawn at the person of their choice with all 30 decorations. You want to also include a personalized sign that the person paying for the service can put their well wishes on the sign. You want to make sure that this event is for a fun and loving purpose, like “Happy Birthday Uncle Ed, you always make us smile” not as a use for an angry neighbor to try to get even. The catch is this: you can even have the person pay to have the lawn decorations removed and placed in the yard of someone else! The cycle of Lon decorating to go on and on, making your business more money as it goes but more importantly more fun publicity. Now what’s more fun than that?

4. Happy Birthday
Is there a better celebration than a birthday party? People love them! So why not throw one for your entire community, consider it a celebration for the life of your community. Invite the local community to attend and donate the dollar amount that matches their age to pay for an entry fee, so for example a six-year-old would bring $6 while a 45-year-old would bring $45. Set it up just like a real birthday party. Think cake, candles, ice cream, balloons, hats, and streamers – the whole 9 yards. Include party games like pin the tail on the donkey, or a piñata smashing too, and of course end the night with a great Happy Birthday sing-along! Then donate the cash to the oldest birthday person there!

5. Fair Fun
Who doesn’t love the fair? Bring a little of that fair fun to your Community by hosting a little on-site carnival at your business. To make this happen, you’ll need multiple booths set up with a bunch of different games and activities. Charge just a small fee for each game or activity (or sell tickets and charge a certain amount of tickets for each one). Gather a bunch of small, inexpensive prizes to give out to winners at each booth. And think fun! Try renting things like a small dunk tank (because people love to dunk the business owner) or even a little petting zoo (kids love animals, right)? Come up with a creative carnival games (ring toss, balloon darts, knocking down items with baseball, etc). And don’t forget the classic fair food: corn dogs, pretzels, funnel cakes, cotton candy, and more! Whatever you need to do to set the fair mood at your business, make it happen – raise awareness that your business is there for your community!
So what does all this have to do with franchisees and franchisors? Divide the advertising burden, and have fun getting your community to love your brand. Once decided, focus all attention on only that event and then let the media help you with the marketing as well.

Shelton Law & Associates is a full service franchise law firm, who offers outsourced in-house counsel for their Franchisor clients, and swift targeted counsel for their franchisee owners. Shelton Law is best known as speakers at various franchise expos and training facilities and their flat fee pricing structures since 2008. www.SLA.Law