Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS, values effective communication within her franchise network. So when her appearance on Undercover Boss revealed a slight misunderstanding, she set about improving communications across the global FASTSIGNS family.

As a franchise with over 700 centres worldwide, including 22 here in the UK, effective communication is the cornerstone of the FASTSIGNS business model. As in any healthy business, effective communication, internally, within the team and externally to customers, helps it to thrive. This is something FASTSIGNS understands implicitly and makes a great effort to ensure their customers, staff and franchise network benefit from the most effective communication, possible.

When Catherine appeared on Undercover Boss, just four years after joining the business, she had a clear purpose for doing the programme. “I wanted to gain an understanding of what it was like to work in a FASTSIGNS centre at any level. I obtained learnings and insights that I couldn’t have if I’d not gone through the experience,” she says. “One of the key takeaways for me was in relation to how we communicate down through the business.”

Leading a global franchise, which is successfully established in 9 countries, doesn’t come without its challenges. Catherine has a strong leadership style and has implemented the right leadership teams to deliver the FASTSIGNS vision in each country. “At FASTSIGNS, we have a clear network vision: To ensure franchisees quickly feel like part of the FASTSIGNS family. By creating the right internal communications within the network, our franchisees benefit from our experiences and industry-knowledge, as they build a profitable business. By establishing the right customer facing communication tools, our customers benefit from the FASTSIGNS brand expertise, no matter who they work for within the network. All centres, franchisees and staff are all working from the same page and towards the same goal.”

This attention to effective communication has always been important, however, it was strengthened following Catherine’s appearance on the show. An employee, who was working in a FASTSIGNS centre had felt that our marketing tools were outdated. Her franchisee had believed he had to use all of his old marketing materials before he could start using new collateral. Catherine explains, “As a franchise, we support our network by creating new marketing resources each year – we know how quickly this industry can change, so we provide the relevant tools to help our franchisees stay ahead of the competition. I recognised our communications had not been effective in the case of this franchisee and his team member.”

After filming was complete, Catherine immediately set about making key changes. “I implemented a difference in how we send email communications about marketing and training. We started sending weekly newsletters to our entire network, including franchisees and staff. By including staff, we are able to give a better understanding of FASTSIGNS developments to all team members. As a result, we are building an open and communicative culture that encourages questions and conversations at all levels of the business; delivering a sense offamily within both individual franchise businesses and the FASTSIGNS network as a whole.”