INTRODUCING MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO YOUR BRAND: How to get your representatives to visit your franchise location and remember its importance.

Author:LLombardo, Lisa E.

Franchising is a collection of team members' stories that depict how your partnership with a brand has played a part in changing the trajectory of lives and communities.

Back-of-house refers to bringing elected officials and their staff members to your brand to see the internal happenings of your business and gives them a chance to connect intimately with the lives that their votes, bill filings and co-sponsorships effect. Behind the scenes tours also lend themselves to meaningful conversations specific to your business--it's mission and impact--and the significance of the franchise model. This is an example of the power of brands.

Personal relationships and visits to The Capitol can certainly be helpful in advocacy, but they become even more impactful when those in office get to know business owners and teams on the home front. How can you arrange for such a visit?

First things first, know who your elected officials are.

There are several websites that make identifying your delegates easy and even a good of Google search can get the job done. Take 30 minutes of one day a year--consider making it just after elections--to identify your elected officials. Capture information such as phone numbers, emails and office locations. Remember to include local elected officials as well.

HDG Hotels felt the benefit of having a connection to all three levels of government when a local city ordinance unexpectedly threatened to negatively impact business. Prior to the issue arising, HDG had held a heart of the house tour with the congressman, was present at a small meet-and-greet for a state senator and established a positive relationship with the city manager. All three levels of government advocated from their unique positions to help influence the direction the ordinance would eventually take.

Had those individuals not been able to speak from experience regarding the hotel that would have been impacted, things could have ended differently!

You've identified your delegates. Now what?

Even if you have a personal relationship with the elected official, learn who the staff member is that helps schedule visits. It makes a difference.

Two things to remember:

  1. The ball is always in your court. If you don't hear back from the office, wait a couple of weeks and then try again. Keep trying.

  2. Along the way, keep IFA in the loop. IFA is a wealth of information.

The ask might go something like this: We'd love to host the Congresswoman for a...

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