FPRA Southwest Florida Chapter serving up secrets on how a handful of events can propel a brand to PR success

February 17, 2017 CONRIC PR

The Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Southwest Florida Chapter will present a workshop luncheon on Tuesday, March 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Edison Restaurant, 3583 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, to give attendees a peek behind the curtain of Firehouse Subs’ private, national VIP media experience. The cost for attending the February luncheon is $25 for members, $35 for non-members and $15 for students. Space is limited so please register early. Guests must RSVP online at fpraswfl.org.

Firehouse of America’s Senior Public Relations Manager Liz Anderson will present this unprecedented look inside the sandwich maker’s Familiarization Tour model and explain how a handful of events gave the brand unprecedented PR success.

Fireshouse adapted the concept of Familiarization Tours, also called Fams, which are used by the hospitality industry. They are organized trips for travel agents, tour operators, tour wholesalers or other members of the travel trade for the purpose of educating and familiarizing them with tourism destinations. By seeing the destinations where they are sending travelers, the travel trade is better prepared to answer customer questions and promote travel to the location.

Firehouse began the Fam Tour process with a series of “Blogger Dinners” to which the company invited influential bloggers for tastings at local franchises. Blogger Dinners were held in nine different markets. Firehouse positioned its events as “dinner with the founder.” Participants had an authentic experience with Robin Sorensen, whose tradition and values as a firefighter are a living testament to the brand.

Blogger Dinners achieved “mega results,” in Anderson’s words, “by creating the opportunity to engage the bloggers with a brand they may or may not have heard about.” These events were enormously successful at building brand awareness through word of mouth, personal hospitality, local support and third-party endorsement.

To introduce its brand to national media, Firehouse expanded its “Blogger Dinners” into something much larger. Building on the Fams model, Firehouse invited nine nationally published writers and bloggers to founder Robin Sorensen’s ranch in Montana. The venture yielded explosive results, including 92 million impressions and close to a $500,000 value in media. 

With more than 273 million total impressions and $1.7 million advertising equivalency from these events, Anderson is excited to share best practices for using similar media events to propel a brand to unprecedented PR success.

Anderson is president-elect for the FPRA Jacksonville Chapter and has been with Firehouse since 2013. Prior to joining the company, she managed public relations for the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association and worked at a national public affairs firm where she garnered public relations and grassroots community support for several clients, specifically American Indian tribes.

Luncheon sponsorships ranging from $250 to $500 are available. Sponsors will receive acknowledgement in news releases, complimentary event admission, table display to showcase promotional items, visibility on electronic and print marketing and more, depending on level. For more information or to become a sponsor, please contact Trish Robertson at trishrobertson@colliergov.net.  

About the Florida Public Relations Association

The Florida Public Relations Association is dedicated to developing public relations practitioners who, through ethical and standardized practices, enhance the public relations profession in Florida. For more information on the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, visit fpraswfl.org.

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