Organising a conference can be one of the most difficult jobs in a franchisor’s head office. At first glance, it can seem like a daunting, overwhelming and perhaps even unachievable feat. It comes with significant responsibility and it’s important to get it right.
Luckily, the expertise and creativity of the International Productions events team takes the stress out of delivering events of any size. With over 20 years of experience in the events industry, here are my insights into delivering the most engaging Franchisee Conference your company has ever seen.
So why have a conference in the first place?
When done well, a franchisee conference can align staff with business objectives, boost network sales and strengthen the franchisee/franchisor relationship.
It is important franchisees remain connected with the overarching brand objective, providing them with a moment to step out of their business and touch base with the company’s strategic direction. A conference provides opportunities for networking between franchise owners and managers, allowing them to share insights into wins and challenges they have faced. It is also a chance to connect franchisees and staff with key suppliers to promote and demonstrate new products to the market.
Conferences are a prime opportunity to activate your company culture and values and to motivate and engage franchise owners and staff with the company goals and expectations. It can also be a chance to reward all levels of the franchise for their dedication and hard work. Happy workers = happy customers.
So how do you achieve this?
1. Recognise your different audiences
Firstly, it’s important that you are targeting the right people with the right message business owners and staff serve two different business functions, and event messaging should reflect this. By doing this, you are able to distil the key messages and objectives for different target markets.
At a recent Franchisee Conference for Harvey Norman, International Productions created two, three day mini-conferences; targeting retail staff across the first three days to embrace key brand messages and the second three days engaged franchisee owners with the overarching business strategy.
2. Prepare everyone to bring their A-game
It is important all speakers and exhibitors bring their A-Game to the conference to ensure an exceptional event is delivered. It is usually their only opportunity each year to participate with their peers, and rightly or wrongly, event managers need to help them get the most out of the experience. External speakers will always be prepared with their presentation and messaging, however many internal conferences also include presentation from internal managers and product representatives – at International Productions we connect with internal presenters prior to the event and, if necessary, provide them with mentoring to ensure high level, engaging presentations.
3. Get creative!
You have the space confirmed, now use it. Work with exhibitors prior to the event to get the best results, invest in attractive stands and really think about the best ways to set out products for live demonstrations. At the recent Harvey Norman conference, International Productions introduced new look Denver stands to the exhibition space. Working with the exhibitors in the months leading up to the event, our team liaised directly with the exhibitors encouraging them to utilise the innovate stands to think outside the box. The simple action of communicating resulted in happy exhibitors creating stands that effectively sold their business, and reaping the rewards with increased sales at the event.
4. Education v. Entertainment
The primary purpose of many franchise conferences is to provide an engaging educational experience that aligns your franchise owners and staff members with the core business direction. However, it’s important the overall conference is a motivating and uplifting experience so, fun and entertainment should be well balanced throughout.
The event is also a chance to reward and thank everyone for their dedication and hard work over the past 12 months. Evening social events provide the perfect platform for everyone to let their hair down and experience something out of the norm – explore nearby locations and venues and provide entertainment that connects with the audience.
At the Harvey Norman conference, International Productions aligned the social evening with the needs of their audience. With the conference based at Sydney Showgrounds, retail staff were treated to an all access tour of the ANZ stadium with evening entertainment provided by comedian Joel Creasey. While during the franchise owner component, guests spent an evening at the Westella Renaissance, enjoying an Arabian Night’s themed dinner and entertainment from comedian Akmal Saleh. Their event concluded with an award evening recognising the high achievers across the company in a relaxed and entertaining environment.
No matter how big your company, International Productions Event Management produces world-class events for any budget or deadline, that will meet your event objectives and communicate key messages.
IP Event Management believes in the power of compelling events with a single purpose, to make the success of the event, your success. A dedicated team are on hand to guide the journey from concept to live event.