Early Education Franchise
An SPR Client Case Study
In 2012, unfavorable articles about a national early education franchise surfaced and the franchise was not prepared to speak in front of media, so SPR Atlanta stepped in to train their team how to handle a crisis situation.
SPR Atlanta began working with a national early education franchise, following unflattering news articles about license-exempt child-care programs. Though the articles covered a variety of early education centers in the Atlanta area, this franchise was mentioned briefly. This opened the leadership team’s eyes to their vulnerability. The corporate office and franchisees across the country were not prepared to speak to media following a crisis, much less reaching out to them proactively.
Crisis communication is SPR Atlanta’s specialty. Our main goal was to prepare the franchise’s corporate office and leadership on how to handle a crisis situation. SPR Atlanta wanted to train and educate the leaders of the franchise to give them the tools they needed to address the crisis internally and with the news media.
SPR stepped in to help the franchise prepare for any situation. SPR began by meeting with the corporate office and a few franchisees across the country to learn more about the processes and culture. We created a “Media and Crisis Communications Checklist,” which was distributed to each franchisee. This document, which was laminated and often hung in the front offices, included a checklist for crisis planning, tips for working with the media and phone numbers for the SPR Atlanta team, as well as reminders for the spokesperson at each location.
We also conducted crisis communication training at regional meetings and at the annual convention. At these trainings, SPR reviewed and distributed the Checklists, discussed possible crises, conducted role playing scenarios and garnered possible proactive story ideas for future media relations.
In the months following our training, crises arose across the country. SPR empowered and assisted franchisees throughout each one, which sometimes included media relations, social media or messaging, and other times it included creating eNewsletters or videos. The franchisees were well equipped to manage crisis with SPR’s support, and SPR was able to proactively place positive stories targeted to different regions, demographics and other audiences. Whether the franchisee called SPR at 8 p.m. on a Friday with a question or needed SPR to fly to their location to produce a video, SPR team members were always ready.
A few examples include: