IFA 2021 | Virtual Annual Convention Recap

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The International Franchise Association’s (IFA) annual convention is franchising’s biggest event of the year and Location3’s most important engagement for business development. The decision to move the convention to a virtual platform this year didn’t come as a surprise, given the pandemic, but it did make us think – what would we do to make the most of our virtual experience, and how could we approach networking in an authentic way?

We Got Creative

Everything is Local

With the incredible talent of our Senior Manager of Franchise Growth, John-Hilton Revell, we produced the first (of surely many) Location3-IFA jingles.

Cooking with Chef Capon

With the objective to network in an authentic way and avoid virtual burnout, we knew we had to pull off a one-of-a-kind virtual event, to replace our yearly, invite-only IFA happy hour. Enter Chef Josh Capon.

Picture of Chef Josh Capon

Capon is an award-winning chef who has been featured on the Food Network. And he teaches virtual cooking classesCapon provided our exclusive IFA guests with an unforgettable experienceHe hosted with charisma and jokes, and if you can believe it, he even had us singing! We learned how to make Capon’s pizza and famous Bash Burgers, and each attendee was provided with all the ingredients and needed materials in advance. And without presenting a single pitch, we had a successful night! 

Learn more about events with Chef Capon!

Our IFA Partnership 

Our long-standing partnership with the IFA is important to us – it goes beyond event sponsorship. We feel supported by the culture of education and leadership of the franchising community. The IFA has provided us with opportunities to be a leading voice on franchise digital marketing and to connect with our audience in meaningful ways, and we’re grateful for their efforts in supporting franchising as a whole. This year, we hosted three official marketing-track events, secured a keynote speaker from Google to present a session, and we showed off our services and chatted with clients and prospects in the virtual booth. Here’s more on how Location3 took the lead at IFA: 

Expert Tips to Maximize Your Local Marketing Mix and Grow Revenue 

In his session, Location3 CEO Alex Porter provided insights into local digital advertising for franchise brands. By leveraging data, customer feedback, and marketing channel insights, brands can better optimize their marketing mix to maximize ROI. How is your brand’s digital presence structured? And how are you spending your brand’s advertising dollars? Alex’s talk provided actionable steps to enhance digital efforts to drive incremental revenue.  

Digital Marketing Success, a Business Roundtable Happy Hour 

Our VP of Partner Performance, Crystal Ware, hosted a happy hour dedicated to digital success. Attendees had the opportunity to collaborate with peers to develop and further refine their 2021 marketing plan. 

A Virtual Scavenger Hunt with the IFA 

Location3’s VP of Marketing, Josh Allen, led a scavenger hunt virtual event that took attendees around the world to places like Machu Picchu and the Salvador Dali museum in Figueres, Spain.

Google Keynote Session

Google’s head of Local and Geo Advertising, Ali Turan, lead a keynote session titled “How to Reach Local Customers in a Dynamic Market:  Optimize Your Digital Marketing to Help Your Business Recover.” Attendees learned tips and insights to help them plan for the path forward out of the pandemic and increase sales for their local businesses. Insights were also shared regarding how consumer behaviors have changed over the past 12 months and how franchisors and franchisees can better connect with local customers, no matter what lies ahead.

Networking on the Virtual Platform

It goes without saying that one of our favorite parts of IFA’s Annual Convention is getting the chance to see so many friends and colleagues in franchising in-person each year, and sharing stories of success and challenges faced. It’s no secret that every one of us missed that this year. That said, we applaud the efforts of the entire team at the IFA in helping facilitate networking virtually through the conference platform and virtual booths, virtual happy hours and networking events, and virtual lounge. Running a large-scale event in a virtual format isn’t easy (speaking from experience), and although Zoom will never replace a good conversation over dinner after a long day in the exhibit hall, kudos to the IFA for creating a great virtual event. The upside to the virtual format, is that anyone reading this blog can watch every single session from IFA 2021 on their own free time by visiting Franchise.org for the on-demand version of the convention. In the meantime, we’ll be planning for IFA 2022 and remaining optimistic that we’ll all be together again in San Diego next year!