Franchise Update Media Reveals Franchise Innovation Award Winners

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1st Annual Contest Honors the Best Innovators in 17 Categories

Overall Award Winner IHOP

Overall Award Winners from IHOP

The goal of these annual awards is to identify and recognize the franchise brands that are creating and implementing the most original and successful innovation strategies and tactics.

Franchise Update Media has announced the winners of the inaugural Franchise Innovation Awards, recognizing the best innovations in franchising in 2018.

The goal of these annual awards is to identify and recognize the franchise brands that are creating and implementing the most original and successful innovation strategies and tactics. Winners were chosen by a panel of 9 judges who evaluated the objectives and results of more than 90 entrants.

Franchise innovators, game-changers, and disruptors competed in four categories: Marketing & Branding, Products & Services, Operations, and Human Resources. This year’s winners are:

Marketing & Branding
IHOP — Best Big Budget Campaign
Edible Arrangements — Best Limited Budget Campaign (Under $1 Million)
European Wax Center — Cause Marketing Champion
Handyman Connection — Local Marketing Leadership
Camp Bow Wow — Best Social Media Campaign
Goldfish Swim School — Best Digital Campaign
Labor Finders — Best PR Campaign

(Tie) Dunkin’ Brands, Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery — Most Innovative Building Design, Remodel, or Prototype
College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving — Most Innovative Franchisee Support
(Tie) Checkers & Rally’s, Dream Vacations — Most Innovative Use of Technology

Products & Services
Two Maids & A Mop — Most Innovative Use of Technology: Services
Little Caesars Pizza — Most Innovative Use of Technology: Products
Pinch A Penny Pool Patio Spa — Most Innovative Use of Customer-Facing Digital Tools
Conserva Irrigation — Most Innovative Service Introduction
Topper’s Craft Creamery — Most Innovative Product Introduction

Human Resources
College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving — Most Innovative Employee Retention
Dog Haus — Most Innovative Employee Training

The judges for this year’s awards were Darrell Johnson, CEO of FRANdata; Jon Chang, IBM Watson Product Marketer & New York University Adjunct Faculty of Social Media and Web Analytics; Adam Pierno, author and Marketing Strategist; J.B. Bernstein, CEO of AviSight; Michelle Rowan, President and COO of Franchise Business Review; Theresa Huszka, Senior Consultant at MSA Worldwide; Therese Thilgen, CEO/Co-Founder of Franchise Update Media; Diane Phibbs, Chief Content Officer of Franchise Update Media; Eddy Goldberg, Managing Editor of Franchise Update Media; and Kerry Pipes, Executive Editor of Franchise Update Media.

Winners in the Marketing & Branding category were celebrated at Franchise Update Media’s annual Franchise Marketing Leadership Conference in Atlanta, June 18–20, 2019 (

The overall winner in this category, IHOP was revealed during a special awards dinner on June 19. The four finalists for the Franchise Marketing Leadership Award are: Camp Bow Wow, Edible Arrangements, European Wax Center, and IHOP. Each finalist will be invited to share their innovation success stories at the conference.

About Franchise Update Media
Franchise Update Media has been a leader in the franchising space for more than 30 years. Founded in 1988, the company produces online franchise opportunity and educational websites, two print magazines, five newsletters, four conferences, independent research, and books, all focused on franchising. Targeting franchise audiences online, in print, and in person, Franchise Update Media delivers a unique combination of educational and lead generation sources to help franchisors, multi-unit franchisees, opportunity seekers, and suppliers achieve their growth objectives. For more information, visit

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