Brand Management in an M&A Environment
In a solid and well-managed integration, prior planning of branding and transitioning customer loyalty and name recognition is a thoughtful and deliberate process. Leadership makes the time for careful consideration of how to maximize the brand equity and retention while removing ego from the equation.
Now lets talk reality. Have you ever seen the dominant player in a merger or acquisition impose their branding even when the product already has strong market share and loyalty?
I’ll assert that the ego’s involved were bigger than the combined annual revenue of both companies.
There are too many variables for there to be one single solution or ‘best’ way to integrate brands.
Consider the market – is it local, regional, national? (e.g. Micro-Brewery brand may not translate to a national market)
Consider the target demographic – are they fiercely loyal? (e.g. Apple Computer)
Consider the future – which brand is better positioned for the inevitable changes in the market place? (Sprint’s CDMA technology or Nextel’s iDEN technology)
In November of 1998, when Norwest Corp officially acquired Wells Fargo, the decision was made to use the Wells Fargo brand. As a native Minnesotan and Norwest customer, I had more affinity for the Norwest brand. But a dispassionate review of the facts shows that the right decision was made. Wells Fargo had a more extensive and storied past and was perceived to have better traction in a national market.
It might be that the driving force behind the merger or acquisition is about technology or distribution channels – but at some point, that technology or channel will be marketed to customers. So I’ll leave you with this:
No customers. No revenue.
Know customers. Know revenue.
Contributed by Damon Kocina, Owner, Strategic Graphics, Inc.
Strategic Graphics emphasizing an integrated design formula to tie Branding, Positioning, Print, Web, Trade Journal, and Trade Show events into a cohesive message and presentation.
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