Using Storytelling Techniques for Franchisee Buy-In

As MOOYAH was entering its 10th year in operation, the company had plenty to celebrate. From the first moment they challenged the better-burger-category, this brand embraced the agility and resourcefulness of a typical startup. They had grown to almost 100 locations and built a powerful brand committed to quality along the way.

But as the corporate team started to look forward, they knew that what got them this far, wouldn't get them where they needed to be. It would take infrastructure. And more importantly, it would take investment from the franchisee community—in the form of talent, operational sophistication, marketing innovation, and enterprise-level intelligence.

The Challenge

In order to gain this level of buy-in from the community, the corporate team would need to rally their franchisees and truly empower them to succeed on a local level. Luckily, the annual franchisee conference, MOO Con, was right around the corner. But unluckily, presenting was not the corporate team’s strong suit. (To quote one member of the executive team: "We suck at presenting.")

Some members were young in their careers, and some clung to outdated entrepreneurial habits. Some had never taken the stage at MOO Con. Some had never taken the stage, period. Since MOOYAH’s future success hinged on its ability to leverage this yearly conference as a franchise community motivator, they called in the experts.

To be considered a success, the corporate team was measuring three key components:

1. Are our presentations effective? Does our audience stay engaged?

2. Does the audience understand our presentation topic?

3. Will they come back?

Beefing Up Presentation Skills

We made it our mission to take this team from boot-strappy to buttoned-up in time to make this the best annual conference ever. So, three months prior to MOO Con, the corporate team began with an immersive Campfire Training. With GatherRound’s guidance, they:

  • Evaluated their strengths and opportunity areas.
  • Assumed classic character archetypes that would guide the development of their content and their presence at the conference.
  • Examined influential audience members and developed personas to tailor their deliveries along the lines of empathy.
  • Studied narrative structures that would make their presentations easier to prepare and more memorable to the audience.
  • Found opportunities to leverage the environment of the venue to reinforce their message creatively.

Now enlightened by The Campfire Method®, the MOOYAH team found themselves in an entirely different frame of mind. What used to take countless days to prepare, now practically wrote itself. Thanks to structure, definition and open lines of communication, this team rose above slide preparation and found themselves with the most valuable asset: Time.

New Corporate Conference Recipe

Now that the teams’ tools of communication had been refined, it was time to put them to use for the greatest MOO Con ever. We worked together to dissect the components of a successful franchisee conference, and we found that in reality, most fall flat because instead of focusing on the franchisees, they celebrate corporate’s accomplishments.

To succeed, we had to think differently. If the franchise partner was going to be the hero of this event, we needed to look for every possible way to highlight them and their stories; the constant dance of balancing high-quality food and high standards in operations, and the relentless commitment to a great guest experience.

Shattering Expectations


Together, we broke the mold by forgoing traditional “breakout sessions” in lieu of new “Super Sessions,” where we invited franchisees to participate and share their success stories. Clever environmental details reinforced the leadership team's messages, while welcome gifts and scattered recognition surprised and delighted attendees throughout the day. An entertaining mix of multimedia and live performances helped to tell the motivating stories typically left to boring slides.

Moo Con was a huge success—just ask the attendees. GatherRound conducted pre- and post-conference surveys of the audience, revealing many important insights and impressions, including, “this conference was the best one.”

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