Celebrities: Finding Your Recipe for Success: Bringing a celebrity into your franchise is not always an instant winner.

Author:Irvine, Robert
 
FREE EXCERPT

Where does an iconic fitness brand find a celebrity chef who wants to become a franchise partner? It's no big secret. They find each other... at the gym. That's how it happened in my case, anyway.

As an avid fitness enthusiast, and a regular at Gold's Gym for many years, I felt right at home at my local gym. But I'm also an active traveler with business obligations around the world. That means I've seen firsthand the power of the brand at location after location. In short, I've seen the power of a global franchise. So, when it came time for me to seek new investment opportunities, it made sense to align my personal passion with a brand I knew so well.

Watching Gold's Gym grow exponentially over 50-plus years (now with more than 700 locations in 28 countries) presented an attractive opportunity to invest in becoming a franchisee. As I began studying the franchise business model and the company's overall commitment to help people achieve their potential through fitness, it made it easy to move forward.

A WINNING RECIPE

Of course, it's an old business story: the customer liked the business so much, he opened one. A good franchisor wants devoted franchisees. But in the case of celebrities, they often have the financial ability to make an investment in a franchise that not all existing customers can bring to the table. In addition, they can bring an uncharacteristically large built-in audience to the equation. That creates an outstanding opportunity to take that relationship to the next level when a natural connection has already been made. From the outside, the addition of such a celebrity would seem to be a win for both the franchisee and franchisor. That hasn't always been the case, however. The franchisor-celebrity partnership is not an instant recipe for success.

Franchisors must carefully evaluate these prospects with that fame factor in mind. Based on my experience, here are four ingredients that I believe are critical for such a relationship to work.

Recipe 1:

THEY MUST KNOW THE BUSINESS

It's important that a celebrity understands the business and is not just a face to lend to a business he doesn't even frequent. That transparency is immediate in what the person says and does for a brand. And it makes the decision to invest in a franchise opportunity, for lack of a better word, believable. Hypothetically speaking, an international fitness franchise wouldn't have a lot to gain with a celebrity franchisee who didn't value exercise, no...

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