The desire for market growth is always a primary factor behind M&A deals. But in today’s uncertain economic climate, unlocking cost-saving efficiencies is just as important.
An expertly executed rebrand implementation can contribute significantly to an M&A deal’s ultimate profitability. Yes, there is an initial outlay of funds to get the brand change rolling. But over time, organizations can see substantial net-positive gains if they build a smart implementation plan and take time to optimize their brand and marketing operations as part of the process.
The investment in managing a brand rollout through a merger and acquisition need not be seen as a sunk cost. Here’s how to increase your rebrand’s impact both now and in the future.
Convert audience-facing branded assets quickly after your merger or acquisition
Maximize the impact of your budget, and the impact of your M&A, by rolling out a cohesive brand identity and communications strategy as swiftly as possible. Having a quick coordinated effort to tell the right story about your M&A as well as a rapid speed to market will increase your ROI.
There is typically a 12-month period after an M&A deal closes during which the associated costs are treated differently on the organization’s balance sheet. Furthermore, early post-deal days set the stage for the way your internal and external audiences will perceive your new brand.
Define the nature and extent of the brand change
Ideally, the terms and scope of your brand change were agreed on as part of the M&A contract. If not, you’ll need to answer questions like:
- How will the new brand be structured? Is one brand absorbing the other? Are we rolling out an entirely new brand that will encompass both (or all) legacy brands?
- If we’re rebranding multiple brands and sub-brands, what’s the best way to organize our brand architecture?
- Will there be a period of time in which we co-brand to preserve name recognition and brand equity? When are we required to fully remove the legacy brand from the market?
Answering these questions early will lower the risk of having to redo work or delay your launch, and prevent potential wasted time and resources. But as you make these decisions, be sure you’re connecting the dots between business strategy (the why) and brand implementation (the how).
Rationalize branded assets for long-term gains
Over time, branded assets seem to reproduce organically and take on a life of their own. When you take a branded asset inventory to ascertain your rebrand’s scope, you’ll undoubtedly discover hundreds — if not thousands — of assets within your purview.
Your new brand is an asset to your organization, not a liability.
It’s highly unlikely that you will transition all of them. Instead, consider:
- Where can we combine, reduce, or eliminate assets as part of the rebrand implementation process?
- Who are the vendors currently producing our branded assets? Are there any shining stars? Should any engagements come to an end? Are we sure we’re getting the best price and quality?
- How can we reimagine the way we produce and use branded assets for greater efficiency? Are there physical branded assets we can convert to a digital format?
Transitioning your branded assets will take up a significant part of your rebrand implementation budget. But if you start by asking smart questions, you can substantially decrease the impact on your bottom line both now and in the future.
Optimize your brand and marketing operations to drive long-term savings
Getting two or more independent organizations to operate as one is an inherent challenge in all mergers and acquisitions. Taking time to level set and establish a new way of working together is paramount to reaching your shared strategic goals.
To forge a new brand and marketing operating model, you’ll need to evaluate:
- Brand guidelines and training. Do employees understand the nuances of your new brand identity? What templates, brand books, and other resources will they need in order to apply your new brand accurately?
- Processes. Are they clear? Repeatable? Documented? Does everyone know how and where to access them? Do your processes ultimately map to your newly established shared strategic goals?
- Roles and responsibilities. Do you have the right people with the right skill sets assigned to the right tasks? Has the M&A led to redundant roles or confusion about who is responsible for what?
- Technology and tools. Is each entity entering the deal with its own MarTech stack? Are any tools clearly more effective than others? Is it time to invest in an entirely new solution to empower your team to do better work?
Your new brand is an asset to your organization, not a liability. But to drive measurable value, you can’t afford business as usual in your brand and marketing operations. This is the time to look at everything you do and optimize for success.
Shape internal communications about your rebrand carefully
It’s natural for employees to feel hesitant about an M&A deal. But left unchecked, that hesitance can quickly devolve into naysaying and skepticism. These attitudes can undermine your M&A and lessen its market impact — especially if unhappy workers share their opinions in ways that tarnish the new brand externally.
So even though marketing isn’t the only department responsible for shaping an organization’s employee culture, you have an outsized interest in engaging employees effectively and making brand change enjoyable.
Careful messaging is critical, and employees need to know specifically:
- How the M&A and resulting rebrand will impact the job they do each day
- Why they should care about being part of the newly forged organization
- What your brand stands for and how to deliver its promise to external stakeholders
It’s also important to be transparent about the timeline for rolling out your new brand identity. Employees need to know when they can expect the legacy brand to be replaced by the new brand. After all, if they continue to see the legacy brand on assets like signs, screensavers, ID badges, and workwear, they might roll their eyes at the brand change rather than see its value.
Communicate clearly to prevent a feeling of disconnect that contributes to disengagement, or worse, employee attrition.
Harness the full potential of your M&A-driven rebrand
The desire for market growth is always a primary factor behind the decision to pursue an M&A deal. But given the current economic climate, finding synergies and driving efficiency are just as important.
Rebranding is the perfect opportunity to look under the hood and make sure your marketing shop can fire on all cylinders. From rationalizing your branded assets to carefully managing change with your employees, you play a key role in driving your brand and your business forward. Don’t miss the potential of this moment.