Cures for 8 common merger and brand integration ailments

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Integration planning is the single most important strategy for mitigating risk in merger and acquisition transactions. Never overlook the human and cultural nuances. Look beyond the financials. And …

Integration planning is the single most important strategy for mitigating risk in merger and acquisition transactions. Never overlook the human and cultural nuances. Look beyond the financials. And find cures to eight common post-merger brand transaction ailments in this presentation.

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  • 1. Cures for 8 common merger and brand integration ailments CAROL POLACEK SENIOR STRATEGIST/PRACTICE LEADER BRAND ASSET MANAGEMENT PHOTO BY E-­‐MAGINE ART
  • 2. 2 A merger or acquisition can be the launch pad for a bigger, bolder organization with an eye to the future.
  • 3. 3 That future starts with a successful brand integration strategy.
  • 4. 4 Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not, but it’s easier if you know the cure for common brand integration ailments.
  • 5. Ailment 1: Shaky foundation PHOTO BY ROBERT S. DONOVAN
  • 6. 6 Your brand integration strategy must align with and support your business strategy. Your business strategy provides the framework for assessing challenges and evaluating success.
  • 7. 7 The lack of a succinct business strategy becomes quickly apparent during an integration initiative. By the way, “increase revenue in key markets by X%” is not a business strategy.
  • 8. 8 Make sure your business strategy is rock solid. Distill it into 4 to 6 key points so it’s easy for internals to remember and repeat.
  • 9. Ailment 2: No momentum PHOTO BY MATTYSFLICKS
  • 10. 10 The lack of momentum after a merger looks like a lack of organizational confidence.
  • 11. 11 Development of a concise integration plan is essential for success — you can’t build momentum without one.
  • 12. 12 Engage experts who can assist you. They can help you apply best practices and make faster progress.
  • 13. 13 To keep momentum going, celebrate your successes — even the small ones. Confidence is contagious.
  • 14. Ailment 3: Silos PHOTO BY EIRIK REFSDAL
  • 15. 15 Despite the synergistic promise of matrixed organizations, many folks still function in silos. And silos = integration disaster.
  • 16. 16 Change is hard. For everyone. No matter what side of an acquisition you’re on.
  • 17. 17 Combat silos with a truly cross-functional integration team. Include representatives from operations, sales, HR, product development, technical support, customer service and marketing.
  • 18. 18 Your cross-functional integration team will become your ambassadors when it comes time to implement the integration plan.
  • 19. PHOTO EDENPICTURES Ailment 4: Lack of objectivity
  • 20. 20 Brand and organizational integration is emotional. And emotions impair your team’s ability to make decisions.
  • 21. 21 Commit to making data-driven decisions to ensure objectivity. Hook up with an experienced external partner and allow plenty of time for the research.
  • 22. Ailment 5: Loss of focus PHOTO BY KEVIN CHAN
  • 23. 23 Most organizations have multiple initiatives simmering at a time. Unfortunately, brand initiatives are never as important as meeting the sales forecast.
  • 24. 24 Signal that the brand integration is a big deal by getting executive-level support and actively promoting it with internals. This also helps the acquired organization feel like valued members of their “new” family.
  • 25. 25 Give senior leadership talking points that keep the integration story clear and concise. And always tie those talking points back to the business strategy.
  • 26. Ailment 6: Outdated brand position PHOTO BY STEFANX80
  • 27. Don’t assume your current brand position will remain the same following a merger or acquisition. 27
  • 28. 28 In fact, it’s quite likely that your brand story doesn’t include the breadth and depth of the company you just acquired.
  • 29. 29 Anticipate that your brand story will change. Plan for a brand refresh as part of an integration, and use it to build public awareness and interest for the organization.
  • 30. Ailment 7: Failing to live the brand PHOTO BY OLGA _NEZEMANAYA
  • 31. 31 Sadly, internals are the most ignored audience in an integration. Yet, they’re essential to creating a positive brand experience with your customers.
  • 32. 32 Make internals your No. 1 audience. Announce the integration plan internally with an event, and communicate plan progress at regular intervals. Reread the slides on combating silos with a cross-functional team.
  • 33. 33 Launch the new brand internally first. Use the new brand story to rally internals and train them on what it means to truly live the brand.
  • 34. Ailment 8: Disorganized communications PHOTO BY ARISTOCRATS-­‐HAT
  • 35. 35 When your brand integration process is murky, external communications will be foggy, too.
  • 36. 36 Develop a concise and detailed integration project plan. Look for a meaningful time frame to launch to the public and work backward from there.
  • 37. 37 No one said it would be easy. In fact, a successful brand integration takes patience, focus and commitment.
  • 38. 38 But doing it right builds positive brand associations with internals, channel partners and customers.
  • 39. Tell us how we can help transform your business RYANN GREVE CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER P. 262-938-5466 WWW.BADER-RUTTER.COM