When a company buys another business, there’s a mile-long list of things to consider that impact acquisition success. Branding is always on the list, but it’s usually limited to adopting a new logo and letterhead. Most companies overlook critical aspects of brand integration that have a major impact on the acquired company’s employees, clients and others they do business with.
Creating a consistent brand experience under the merged entity must be a priority. If it’s not a focus during integration, inconsistencies in how people communicate your brand will create confusion, weaken perceptions and reduce trust among those both inside and outside of the company – impacting acquisition success. Here are three ways that prioritizing brand experience helps during a merger.
Employees often resist brand change when their company has been acquired, resulting in lower morale and productivity. During a change, employees need clarity and direction to inspire confidence, increase engagement and drive adoption of the new company identity and culture.
Clear and consistent internal communications -- focused on the benefits of the united brand -- help streamline integration efforts and smooth out disruptive transitions. Building a unified brand culture that everyone can rally around, regardless of which company they came from, will further create a sense of connection and belonging. Fostering this environment enables employees to embrace their new brand faster, driving positive engagement. Engaged employees tend to be happier employees, and that reduces turnover risk, which can be quite high after a merger.
Providing the necessary training, coaching and resources to embrace the new brand also helps facilitate a smoother employee transition and set them up to be brand advocates. In addition, emphasizing executive branding for leaders integrating into their new company provides a helpful model for employees, driving faster buy-in and engagement.
Delivering a consistent brand experience to customers during a transition inspires confidence. It shows them that the company has a unified front, is forward-thinking and cares about its relationships with them. Maintaining a high-quality brand experience drives customer satisfaction and loyalty, which are fundamental to long-term growth and success.
Continuity and reliability also mitigate reputational risk. Customers and other key stakeholders, like partners and suppliers, will be reassured and excited about a company’s growth when they see executives promoting their new roles, updated information on the company website and employees sharing positive posts about their new brand on LinkedIn. Altogether, these elements enhance the brand experience. In contrast, when stakeholders encounter inconsistencies in messaging and interactions, it can raise red flags about the integration and create confusion, especially if employees from the acquired company appear resistant to adopting the new brand (in their email signatures, voicemail greetings and LinkedIn profiles).
Integrating a consistent brand experience from the start of the prospect pipeline signals a strong, strategic and positive organization. People just learning about the company will have more confidence in its credibility and authenticity – and better understand what sets it apart from competitors – when its messaging is clear and consistent across all marketing touchpoints.
A merger presents critical opportunities to introduce the company to new prospects. If they see inconsistent and outdated information on the company’s website and LinkedIn page, as well as individual LinkedIn profiles, they may become confused or skeptical, which can breed hesitation and a lack of trust. This is hard to overcome and can result in lost business.
During a busy and disruptive transition period, a solid Corporate Brand Experience strategy is critical. If you recently acquired a company or plan to in the future, Point Road Group can help you fill the brand experience gap for an effective transition resulting in a unified, consistent and positive experience. We conduct a deep brand experience analysis and develop an integration plan, so your brand is delivered well across all touchpoints. Through training and coaching, we support employees and set them up to succeed as advocates of the new, unified company brand.