Whether you’ve acquired a business or have been acquired, managing brand-related elements requires careful planning and execution. Here are some considerations to ensure your transition goes smoothly.
M&A activity reached new heights throughout 2021, hitting 5.9 trillion globally. This trend continued into early 2022, with the first quarter hitting $1 trillion. While recession fears and other economic factors have caused this activity to slow down, some experts believe the second half of 2022 could be stronger than the first. Companies that previously engaged in deals, are looking for targets, or that are in the market to be acquired must plan a brand transition after acquisition or merger efforts have been completed.
In this post, we won’t be exploring the myriad other details that have to be navigated with a merger or acquisition, such as transitioning employees, consolidating assets and capabilities, implementing or switching technology systems, and so on. Instead, we’re focused on the physical aspects of a brand — signage, building exteriors and interiors, and even energy-related elements such as lighting. These aspects are crucial to the success of any location — but making changes to them takes time, strong planning, and precise coordination.
Here are a few key questions you and your team will need to consider as you manage a brand transition after an acquisition or merger.
1. What Does This Mean for the Brand?
We’re going to start at the 50,000-foot level. Remember that your brand is a living thing — every day, it’s speaking and engaging with countless customers and employees throughout your footprint. When you acquire a company or are acquired, it’s crucial to examine what it means for the brand. Is this going to change what the brand represents, aims for, and strives for? These strategic questions are often the responsibility of leadership to navigate, but facility managers and marketing leaders will have to translate that into execution. As a result, those decisions will impact the more physical aspects of the brand.
2. Is This an Opportunity to Clarify or Expand the Brand?
One of the most common reasons for a merger or acquisition is adding a target company’s capabilities, service areas, or expertise to those of the acquirer — typically because the target company has a corner on the market or it would take too long for the acquirer to develop them in-house. As a result, the company grows strategically. This is also an opportunity for the brand to grow. Visually, it may be appropriate to take the company’s identity to the next level to indicate this growth or to visually communicate that there is a new service line. The same goes for physical brand implementation. How can you take your locations — whether you’re in retail, healthcare, financial services, or any other industry — to the next level and communicate what the new brand is capable of?
Go deeper into branding: Explore how exterior and interior branding make a meaningful impact on the customer experience.
3. What is the Extent of the Brand Transition and Its Timeline?
As we descend from the clouds, it’s time to consider the actual work of a brand transition after an acquisition or merger and plan what your program will look like. How many locations are being included? Depending on your industry, not every location may be included — in some markets, an acquisition or merger can result in intentional downsizing. Additionally, what’s the timeframe in which all brand transition work needs to be completed? Leaving old brand assets in place too long can have an adverse and confusing effect, so instituting a timeline in which transitions must be completed will be helpful — both for preserving brand integrity and for giving your brand transition program some guide rails.
4. What is the Scope of Work?
There are multiple brand assets that need to be considered when moving an acquired company over to a new brand. Interior and exterior signage, wayfinding signage, the exterior of the building, the interior spaces, and even lighting should all be evaluated to ensure they align with what the new branding represents. Each of these assets plays an important part in the customer journey (and in employees’ journeys, too), so carefully considering how each asset imparts a brand message is crucial. On the lighting side, remember that different color temperatures, brightness, and other details influence customer perceptions as well as safety; hence, they should be factored in where appropriate (in many instances, energy upgrades will pay for themselves in just a couple to a few years).
Shining a light on opportunity: Explore how lighting as well as proactive maintenance positively influence brand performance.
5. How Will the Program Be Executed?
Last but not least — who is actually going to do all of this? Brand implementation is outside the realm of many organizations. Different locations or regions could be empowered to manage their own updates, but there are far too many variables in play. If managed inefficiently, costs for the brand transition after an acquisition or merger could spiral out of control and likely won’t be uniform. Timelines will also vary, creating additional confusion.
The ideal solution is to work with a brand implementation company that takes a program management approach and aggregates its capabilities through a nationwide network of field partners. The brand implementation company oversees the entire program from start to finish as well as each field partner (which could be a signage company, commercial electrician, lighting specialist, general contractor, and so on) for each location. All timelines, projects, documentation, resources, and more are overseen by a qualified team, allowing yours more time to focus on other strategic priorities.
Learn how to implement with excellence: See how we ensure a successful process from start to finish.
Get the Most Ideal Solutions for Your Brand Transition After an Acquisition or Merger
Stratus is a leading brand implementation company built on a 150-year legacy of expertly overseeing brand transition programs nationwide. Every day, our signage, energy, facilities maintenance, and refresh & remodel divisions are supporting some of the largest brands in multiple industries with their brand implementation needs. We’ve supported financial institutions with rebranding after mergers, transitioning arenas to new team names, and countless other transition-related programs. Our team is ready to do the same for you.