Brand integration in the M&A market takes time and attention, it doesn’t just happen. Despite the apparent simplicity of a business integrating their acquisition into the corporate brand, the reality is far more complex than it appears on the surface.
From a brand perspective there is a triangle of communication that needs addressing. The three points of the triangle are: first, the internal team; second, key clients and the wider client base; and third, the marketplace.
Internal branding is deliberately placed first, as it is critical to take the team with you when undertaking significant change. Consigning a well-established brand to history and changing the name and identity to your brand is a major and emotional change for the new team to absorb after they have been purchased. Even when they see it as inevitable (and not everyone will do) it is still difficult for them to deal with. The logical approach for many companies in this situation is to place the focus on external communications and underplay the internal branding. This is a big mistake. The last thing you want is the new team to be demotivated or worse still to exit stage left and you lose good people. That sends entirely the wrong message to your clients and can impact sales.
In order to achieve a seamless brand integration in the M&A market you need to plan and project manage the process carefully.
The external branding splits into Client Comms and Marketplace Comms. It is vital that key clients see no negative impact from the brand change. Business as usual. Rebranding of this type is commonplace in most sectors so there is no reason to make it a drama. To achieve this requires planning and a systematic approach to good client communications. In addition, you also need to send the right brand messages to your full client base. Most groups or companies have a large database of clients and a specific major clients list within this total. It is advisable to consider them separately when developing your Client Comms.
Then on the third point of the triangle is the wider marketplace. This can be a series of social postings, advertising and PR briefings that make sure you are in control of the story. The exact mix of brand communications is dependant on your main communication channels and, of course, budget constraints. Most important is that the storytelling is thought through and fits with your corporate brand strategy.
You want the marketplace to see your rebrand integration as a logical, managed and positive change.
By using an M&A brand methodology based on detailed planning, project management, creativity, storytelling and effective communications the process can be smooth and seamless. This is always the primary objective in any brand integration project.