June 07, 2019

Aligning your brand after mergers and acquisitions (and 3 other considerations for long-term success)

Mergers and acquisitions are a key part of many B2B growth strategies. But if you’re not experiencing the market impact you expected, and internal efficiency and cost savings you planned, you’re not alone. After a series of multiple acquisitions or mergers, many brands find themselves with a diluted value proposition, unclear positioning and internal confusion. At Cross-Border Communications, we’ve seen how a strong branding strategy, integrated through internal and external branding and marketing, can play a crucial role in ensuring a B2B brand’s long-term success. Here are four things to consider as your brand goes through this complicated process.

1) Challenge your current brand hierarchy

A key first step post-merger or acquisition is a thorough evaluation of your portfolio strategy as well as your future brand hierarchy. The brand hierarchy, or 'brand architecture', is the cornerstone of a targeted go-to-market approach and serves as both internal guidance and external customer navigator. The spectrum of brand architecture ranges from a ‘house of brands’ made up of multiple, individual brands to a ‘branded house’ that uses one, overarching brand. You may, however, find that a combination of different scenarios is the right fit for your business.

2) Align your brand and business strategy

It’s important to reflect on what factors have been driving the acquisitions or mergers. If your brand and business strategy are out of step, it’s harder to occupy a strong position in the market. Your business strategy should inform your brand strategy, and the route you take in handling the brand, the brand architecture and the transition post-acquisition or merger.

3) Consider your positioning    

Mergers and acquisitions will, naturally, affect your position in the market – it’s time to revisit your positioning, value proposition and the messaging around those promises. This is also a chance to take stock of your brand: Is the company culture aligned with the brand promise? Does the look and feel of the visual Identity mirror your strategic intent? Are the customer and employee experience aligned with your brand promise? In short, consider the merger or acquisition an opportunity to revitalise and strengthen your brand and business.

4) Make your organisation live the brand

Simply put, it’s hard to get people to change. But your brand and brand communications can support the change management process. Your brand can provide a common set of goals and values to align on as you begin to combine two often very different cultures and ways of working. And ultimately, you need all employees on board with your brand before they can credibly live and deliver your story and value proposition.

A successful one brand process

Cross-Border Communications has the experience and process to help you create the right brand strategy, from redesigning your brand identity platform and architecture, to a creative brand communications concept. See how we helped Novo Nordisk rebrand an acquired company, FLSmidth unite multiple branded entities under one brand, and Amphenol Procom align and optimise their brand.

If you're facing a post-merger or acquisition branding challenge, contact Ralph Krøyer at rk@cbc.dk or on +45 35 25 01 60.