A colleague recently shared with me that her company is facing an acquisition. Although she remains positive, there is always a certain amount of trepidation that comes along when merging brands. I know! I’ve been there, and helping companies face the branding challenges inherent to mergers and acquisitions is one of the reasons we’re in business.
Although it’s never too late to update a brand strategy, most of the time people do think about it too late, especially in the context of mergers and acquisitions. Here are my top five reasons — there are more! — why any merger or acquisition must keep the brand strategy front and center from the very beginning.
Why merging brands must think ahead about their strategy
- It’s important! Very Important! Brands represent the emotional connection a company has with its customers and their employees for that matter. Leaving it to chance is like proposing marriage then disappearing for months before the wedding. Your customers, your future customers, your employees, and future employees all need to know where they stand with you. If you leave it to chance, you will be left at the alter.
- How do you know it’s worth it? Brands carry with them a value, a quantifiable dollar value. How do you know if what you’re buying is actually worth the money if you do not understand all its assets?
- Understand the full costs. Signage, physical assets, web design, even swag: depending on the size of the business, rebranding can be significant. It’s best to understand from the very beginning how much time and money your merger will require early on. In fact, if you can build it into the cost of the deal, you won’t have to take funds away from operational marketing budgets (read: lead gen).
- Focus. Similarly, if the mechanics of a rebrand are created in advance, your team will not have as many distractions once the deal goes through. They will already have their hands full with day-to-day operations and brand strategy implementation. At least you can relieve them of the planning element.
- Savings! Planning ahead brings a ton of savings in the form of both real and opportunity costs. Creating and protecting revenue streams just after a merger or acquisition go far better when the brand strategy is working in tandem with your marketing strategy and not simply in parallel with it.
Although difficult, try not to fear mergers and acquisitions. Having a brand strategy in place before all the real fun starts can really help.
— Douglas Spencer