Mergers, Splits, and Spin-Offs: What Should You Do With The Brand?
Too often, in our experience, due diligence on the front end of merger, acquisition and spin-off deals does not include a thorough-enough analysis of post-deal brand integration, equity and architecture.
According to research from KPMG and McKinsey, almost 70 percent of mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs actually reduce shareholder worth or have no impact—even though those organizations have spent significant time and resources on finances, operations and logistics.
So much is at stake when companies merge or split—for the companies, employees and shareholders. Which means that it pays to start brand analysis early—before the deal is done.
[In all transparency, Cohesion is often hired when the deal has been completed and the organization faces an uncertain future, because little (or no) brand/messaging planning was completed upfront.]
If your organization is contemplating, or going through a merger, split, or spin-off, it can pay dividends to analyze (upfront) the following key issues:
What Does The Brand(s) Mean To The Business? What is your current and future brand(s) worth? What contribution do brands make to your bottom line now? What revenue contribution can/should they make post-deal?
What Is The Context For Your Brand(s): Direction, Platforms & Architecture. Brands don't sit in isolation. They live in larger porfolios, internal and external landscapes, and amidst other branded and non-branded assets. Understanding contextual 'fit' allows organizations to better build/refine overall business, brand and marketing architectures.
Should You Revisit Naming & Nomenclature Systems? Names help companies tell a new story. Often, merging companies keep the name of the stronger brand—other times, a new name conveys transformation. In conjunction with a realigned architecture, a more refined naming and nomenclature system can enhance current equity and alleviate future naming issues.
Should You 'Tweak' Or Revise Logos & Visual Identity? Does identity reflect new vision, purpose and promise? Will changes to identity send the right signals about the deal?
What About External Brand Experience? Are experiences consistent and optimized across channels? How should brand experience evolve to support business goals? Are you doing the most to deliver clear, simple and relevant messaging for each audience?
Have You Developed Internal Champions? Employees that support and advocate new brands can be the most important audience during a merger or other deal. However, an estimated 20% of employees voluntarily leave companies soon after merger announcements. Losing valuable talent at vulnerable times endangers your ability to deliver on new as well as old strategies. To reduce unwanted talent losses, help employees embrace new visions and keep them engaged post-deal.
How Will You Launch The Brand(s)? Every organization is different and understanding the nuances of management, employee and organizational culture and style are critical to a successful internal launch. Likewise, understanding the external-internal connection to customers and brand are equally critical to a successful external launch. Whether it's a big splash, or a soft buy-in, the right launch is necessary to gain momentum.
Every situation is different, but many common situations exist. At Cohesion, our deep experience in helping organizations work through mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs can help reduce mistakes. For more than 20 years, organizations have entrusted us to successfully develop (and redevelop) positioning and messaging for brands, businesses, products, services and ideas.
Cohesion. | The Strategic Brand Consultancy
Cohesion is a strategic brand consultancy that helps organizations position, package and articulate the essence and direction of businesses, brands, solutions and issues. Since 1999, our work has created new value and revenue for more than 150 organizations, including Fortune 500 corporations, mid-market companies and innovative small businesses. To learn more visit cohesioncompany.com, or contact Brian Creath, president, at firstname.lastname@example.org.