Branding during mergers and acquisitions should be well considered. Financial and strategic analysis and planning is applied in the process, but seemingly the line for brand value is less rigorously managed. Many mergers do not achieve the greater sum of their parts so the question is – is the brand being managed to optimise value as other assets are during this process?
Of the largest global companies, for most, more than 15% of their market capitalisation is in fact brand value (Brand Finance 2018). Taking the opportunity to maximise this asset requires consistent attention.
Some cornerstones to the process are mentioned here:
The investment strategy and rationale should guide brand architecture – that is, how the brands in question are integrated and the future links that may develop in time. Whilst branding provides stability to a vision and a collection of values there must also be scope for adaptability in the modern marketplace.
With clients, customers and guests at the centre of our businesses, minimising friction through change may need to be handled sensitively. It is important to understand a customer’s level of involvement with the brand, alignment with services and values and loyalty towards the brand and services. Very often this presents an opportunity to refresh the current brand(s) as a whole by reviewing the brand foundations.
As with most decision making, it is easier to take the team on the journey in order to get to the destination. It’s important to recognise the rational and emotional involvement for all stakeholder groups – management team, employee divisions, new and existing clients and investors. The brand journey will be widely interpreted and contribute to the brand and thus its market value.