As an emerging brand in 2013, Mosquito Joe didn’t have an especially sexy product or any big celebrity endorsements, but it hit first and it hit often when it came to marketing their franchisees.
The leadership team at Mosquito Joe, a 335-plus-unit mobile pest control franchise backed by multi-brand franchisor Neighborly, knew from the beginning that to get any bites on franchise sales, they would have to create buzz.
The brand started as a local business in Virginia Beach, VA that killed mosquitos in lawns and outdoor spaces around the local community. When the brand’s leadership team decided to go bigger, they knew they needed to put themselves in the public eye. That’s exactly what they did, and that’s how the brand grew to more than 300 franchise locations.
The first lesson to learn from Mosquito Joe’s deft media strategy is the need for clarity of vision.
TELLING THE RIGHT STORY
The brand knew it’s product — killing mosquitos — wasn’t the sexiest service or one that would easily get people talking. They knew they needed a stronger story, and a strong partner to tell that story.
Mosquito Joe’s strategy to grow its footprint started with Mainland — then called No Limit Agency — a Chicago-based PR firm specializing in franchise development.
Once the brand’s franchise operation gained some traction and started selling units in 2013, Mainland helped Mosquito Joe focus on grassroots marketing and participating in community events when training franchisees. Event marketing and public events gave franchisees the opportunity to get active in their markets.
Once Mosquito Joe’s franchisees established themselves in their communities, the public relations opportunities started to pile up. Every piece of earned media that showed Mosquito Joe franchisees on the news gave new prospective franchisee candidates the chance to visualize themselves as the successful entrepreneurs they were seeing on the news.
In 2016, one of the biggest news stories of the year was the rise of Zika, a deadly virus that is spread by mosquitos and caused a panic in the U.S. when 40 states reported travel-related cases. Mainland and Mosquito Joe quickly moved to position the brand as a critical preventative measure against mosquito-transmitted viruses, including Zika, in the U.S.
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR PR
Mosquito Joe franchisees always looked good in their earned media coverage, thanks in large part to the brand’s heightened marketing training, which equipped franchisees to make the most out of every PR opportunity.
Since it wasn’t coming out of franchisee’s pockets to do media engagements, they happily took to contributing their stories and ideas. Meanwhile, Mosquito Joe shopped the brand’s voice and message, constantly tweaking it for different markets and target audiences.
By combining a content marketing strategy with an impressive reel of earned media, the brand entered new markets with the rock solid credibility third-party coverage can provide for a new brand.
BUILDING ON MOMENTUM
Mosquito Joe’s results speak for themselves. From the time the brand engaged mainland in 2013, to the time its ownership changed hands in 2018, the brand jumped from 14 franchisees to just over 150.
Now Mosquito Joe is a household brand around the U.S., and many customers and franchisees got their first exposure to the business through grassroots marketing and local media organized and secured by Mainland.
Therein lies the value in spending smart on marketing and media strategy. Businesses that devote considerable resources up front to marketing can reap the benefits for years to come. Mosquito Joe put a solid marketing team in place early and partnered with a PR firm that shared its values from the start.
Those efforts made Mosquito Joe one of the most popular pest-control brands in franchising, eventually catching the eye of Neighborly, the multi-brand franchisor whose massive portfolio includes more than 4,300 franchisees across nine countries. Neighborly purchased Mosquito Joe in 2018, cementing the brand’s role as a leading player in the home-services segment and demonstrating just how far a brand can go with the right communications strategy.