Brand Management in an M & A Environment

damon2         
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.

 

Have something to add? 
Got a different point of view, want to play devil’s advocate, or just think we’re all wet? Post your experiences or examples.
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2 thoughts on “Brand Management in an M & A Environment

Add yours

  1. Insightful M&A post! I think you’re spot-on about the situation. Many folks think mergers are all about the balance sheets – but, if you’re not managing your image through the process, you’re sunk! I will read your posts frequently.

  2. Spot on. I lived through poorly thought out brand strategy during Ford’s acquisitions of Jaguar and Land Rover. All integration attempts with Jaguar were ho-hum (S-Type) or a disaster (X-Type). Integration with Land Rover never existed, but lots of expense was wasted trying. If brand was considered prior to M&A, Ford would have never wasted billions on these brands.

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