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The importance of brand strategy during M&A activity

Brand strategy plays a crucial role during mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity for several reasons. M&A transactions involve the combination of two or more companies, and how their brands are managed and integrated can significantly impact the success of the overall deal. In this blog we will explore some of the key factors to consider surrounding brand strategy during a merger or acquisition.

Brand Architecture

Determining the brand architecture, including whether to keep existing brands, create a new one, or merge them, is an essential aspect of brand strategy during M&A. This decision is crucial as it will impact how customers and the market perceive the new entity. It is therefore important to obtain reliable data on each brand’s relative position in the marketplace before deciding on which direction to take.

Market Positioning

Whilst looking at the market positioning of the existing brands you should also consider how the M&A activities will alter the ultimate positioning of the combined entity. A comprehensive brand strategy considers how the new brand will be positioned in the market, ensuring that it aligns with the company’s goals and distinguishes itself from competitors.

Value Perception

A strong brand carries a certain value and perception in the market and when merging two companies together they may well have differing, and even conflicting, values. During M&A, managing how the combined entity is perceived is therefore essential. A well-thought-out brand strategy will help you to convey a coherent message about the value proposition of the new entity.

Customer Loyalty and Retention

Customers are often attached to the brands they know and trust. Retaining customer loyalty throughout the M&A process will therefore be crucial for maintaining revenue streams and ensuring customer loyalty. A well-executed brand strategy will help to ensure that the transition doesn’t lead to confusion or loss of trust among existing customers. 

Employee Morale and Engagement

Employees also identify with the culture and values associated with their company’s brand. During M&A, uncertainty can lead to employee anxiety which in turn can lead to an increased turnover of staff if not handled correctly. A clear brand strategy helps in communicating the new vision and direction, fostering a positive work environment, and improving overall employee morale and engagement.

Cost Efficiency

An effective brand strategy helps in streamlining marketing efforts, reducing duplication, and optimising resources. This can lead to cost savings and operational efficiency in the long run if planned from the outset. It may be that the two brands run alongside each other for a period of time, if a lot of marketing collateral is already in existence that would be overly expensive to replace.

Credibility and Trust

Trust is a critical factor in business. A strong brand has built credibility over time. M&A activities can be perceived as risky, and a well-crafted brand strategy helps in maintaining or rebuilding trust among stakeholders, including customers, partners, and investors.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Adhering to legal and regulatory requirements is vital during M&A. A brand strategy ensures that the new entity complies with trademark laws, intellectual property rights, and any other legal considerations associated with the brands involved in the transaction.

Communication Strategy

Communication is key during any M&A activity. A well-defined brand strategy aids in developing a clear and consistent communication plan. This includes addressing stakeholders, customers, employees and the public to ensure that everyone is informed about the changes and the benefits of the merger.

In conclusion, a thoughtfully crafted brand strategy is integral to the success of M&A activities. It helps in maintaining and enhancing the value of the brands involved, ensuring a smooth transition, and positioning the newly merged entity for long-term success in the market. If you would like help in either putting together a brand strategy or crafting a communications plan for your M&A transition, get in touch with our expert team.

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