Hurry Up & Wait: Brand Change (Part 7)
Hurry up and wait. We all hate it. You feel like you have been standing in the smoke and hearing the rumors for so long now that you are really tired of it and want to get on with your business. In truth, nothing is stopping you except the normal fascination we all have with the unknown. However, you still want to know why it is taking so long.
Throughout the Brand Change series the theme of controlling what is yours to control runs throughout. Companies including franchisors and networks who are executing major brand change do not control everything either. In many cases delays in announcements are not necessarily what they want or would choose. In a perfect world, we could make our plans, create our strategies and make the changes as we desire, aligned with our desired timing. That is only true if it does not involve other people, financial institutions, regulatory institutions and or governmental entities.
Take for example franchising. Franchisors, because they are making a business offering regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), file documents with the FTC which must go through regulatory processes. These documents are then filed annually in the form of a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), generally filed no later than March 31 of every year. However, if you are franchising on a national basis, nearly 40% of the states have individual rules and processes that apply and require approvals. Hence, if you have filed on the federal level, your plans and ability to transact business may be held up by any state or other regulatory entity in the process. Just because you need this for your business, it does not mean that they consider it a priority and your timing certainly is not a consideration. This is just one example of what might create a “hurry up and wait” scenario where even those closest to the fire can do nothing.
On a more localized basis it is often state agencies and county and local governments who have more control than you do in the timing of your companies' changes and being able to make key announcements, changes and moves.
While brand change may be something we are affected by at some point and at some level, perhaps we should turn the tables a bit. Apply the concepts, feelings and suggestions to your own businesses. If your business is in a growth mode, whether it is by mergers, acquisitions, roll-ins, walk-overs, network growth, affiliates or even recruiting of associates and staff, you are a part of brand change and directly affect others. Most likely the same type of feelings, concerns, challenges and opportunities exist for those you seek to become a part of your company, no matter what the method. They, too, will often feel frustrated and anxious when in the “hurry up and wait” mode in which every rumor becomes a point of angst.