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last updated 27/08/2016

Lessons from the 2016 franchise conference

last updated 27/08/2016

This year’s Franchise Conference in Tauranga was generally regarded as one of the best ever. Here's our review.
Karen Dovey of Exceed and Sarah Archibald of Speedy Signs took it upon themselves to gather some video reviews of the conference, starting with David Dovey.

Over 120 people attended the sold-out event to be enlightened, entertained, encouraged and enthused by a line-up of top speakers from some of New Zealand’s top franchise brands. The theme this year was Building Your Brand and while there were a lot of wise old heads in the sessions, it was particularly good to see so many young people involved, bringing a fresh perspective and energy to the topic. The future of franchising looks bright.

Some particular highlights were:

Karla Brennan, who shared some insights from McDonald's demonstrating how they have moved their staff and consumers to an emotional relationship with the brand. They have educated their employees to be proud of a brand which exports $210 million of New Zealand products off-shore each year and developed an internal slogan to get staff to take action if they see a potential problem:

  • Got it –I have seen the problem
  • Up for it –I will seek help to resolve
  • On to it – I am taking positive action to resolve.

Jewli Turier of Franchise Relationships Institute returned with her own personal brand of enthusiasm and shared more about the psychological contracts of franchisors with their franchisees.  Jewli introduced the 5 pieces of the puzzle: listening, engaging, leading with credibility, recruiting and mentoring.

Keran McKenzie from MYOB introduced us to APIs. An API is a geeky tool to get two pieces of independent software to talk to each other so that just about any process can be automated. Keran’s presentation was anything but geeky, though, with interactive games and stories updating us on using APIs to save time and money and make daily life more manageable. With implications for everything from health and safety, payroll, staff management and rostering to point of sale and geolocation of people on the road, it’s a very exciting field.

The International Achievers panel was a definite highlight with four highly-experienced exporters in Stuart Deeks, Aaron Toresen, Tim Alpe and Bruce Speers. They shared the successes and challenges of international expansion in a very candid fashion, raising laughs and gasps from the audience. As Stuart Deeks said, ‘The only reason [NZ franchises] are not all over the world is that we go, “Oh, it’s too far, it’s too hard” – but it’s not! It’s mind-blowing how easy it is.’ You can listen to the whole session here - we've divided it into two parts to make it easier to download:  
International Achievers Podcast Pt 1   
International Achievers Podcast Pt 2

Read more about the panellists here.

Mitre 10 is one of the biggest names in New Zealand retail, operating as a co-operative which shares many of the same issues as franchises. General manager of retail operations Ben Leduc talked about the depth of commitment to the Mitre 10 brand of its people, the values it operates by and family environment that the approach has fostered.

Bruce Ross of Ignite Business Leadership was an energiser pill for everyone and had some very practical insights into how the brain works and how a leader can pick up their energy levels and influence productivity in the work place when they understand what is influencing their mood. Mat Wylie of Customer Radar gave us some great stats on how to get effective immediate feedback and what to do with it (did you know that Sunday is the worst day of the week for customer service?) and finally Greg Murphy discussed the challenges of being a top driver and still delivering to the brands he represented. 

One of the recurring themes of the weekend was the use of social media, which came up in many of the popular workshop sessions. It was also the topic of a fascinating and sometimes scary presentation by Peter Webster of Columbus Coffee which left everyone thinking.

Also featuring networking sessions and fun events at Hobbiton and Mills Reef Winery, the 2016 conference was a massive success. Next year’s conference dates will be announced shortly by the Franchise Association.

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