"I've been on TV nearly quarterly for the past two years, and it didn't cost a dime," says Indiana Home Instead Senior Care® franchisee Chris Irons. "As an owner, you're crazy if you don't take advantage of the public relationsopportunities that Home Instead, Inc.'s public education programs can create.
Just one year out of college when he became a Home Instead Senior Care franchisee in Indianapolis in 1996, Irons now owns franchises in Lafayette and Noblesville, Indiana. He says television exposure has helped create brand awareness in his franchise office’s local communities. "People tell us they've seen us on the news. It helps to demonstrate our expertise in the senior care field."
Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, has developed a series of groundbreaking and award-winning public education programs. These are quarterly campaigns designed to increase awareness of and stimulate discussion on senior care issues. Each campaign offers customizable marketing materials to help franchise owners garner local media attention and provide community support in addition to the senior care services they provide.
As a long-time franchisee, Irons knows the type of campaigns that have been successful and he felt the most recent Prevent Senior HospitalizationsSM program would be strong in his community. "A PR firm engaged by the Home Instead, Inc. Home Office made the pitch to the media, and our local station called us. I was featured on the noon news where I talked about what families can do to keep seniors out of the hospital. It definitely got some buzz going for us and, of course, the program offers important information."
The Prevent Senior Hospitalizations program offers a variety of online resources for families including aHospitalization Risk Meter, a guide to preventative actions and numerous articles on preventing accidents, as well as videos on improving strength and balance. The program resources were developed based on research conducted by Home Instead, Inc. According to a survey of 400 North American nurses specializing in senior care, nearly half of senior hospitalizations could be avoided.
"As home care providers, we see the kinds of situations where there's potential risk—for a fall, or confusion with medications, for example," Irons explains. "There's no doubt that our CAREGiversSM help to prevent dozens of hospitalizations every year, but it's great to have education for the community as well."
Irons believes that, sales-wise, it's critical for franchisees to differentiate themselves from the competition. "It can be tough to stand out to referral providers, so these marketing tools help a lot."
His advice for potential owners choosing a franchise network? "Call as many owners as you can from franchises you're considering and you'll get a good sense quickly by talking to them. Personally, I'd say go with the pioneer. If you look at the track record of the Home Instead Senior Care network, there's a reason it has so many franchises. We have the training … the support … and franchisees are very happy with the Home Office."