We live in a world of constant change, where things that we have come to expect can transform at the blink of an eye. We see this in all aspects of life, from relationships to the cities in which we were raised. Everything that begins one way usually does not remain that way for too long.
Throughout 2018, this presence of change has become even more prevalent in the business world, where we are consistently hearing about companies being acquired by larger ones, to extend their reach as they march towards market domination. It is almost as if seeing our favourite brands join forces with another larger (or smaller) company has become the new norm.
From the perspective of a customer or employee, change in any way, especially when money is involved can cause a bit of anxiety and fear, as what is to come next is unknown. VP’s and other top-ranking members are fully aware of this, which is the reason why they immediately delegate responsibilities to their marketing department to focus on creating the perception of stability in the minds of not only their customers and the public, but also to ease the minds of the employees as well.
The objective of a marketing department is to promote a company’s product or service while simultaneously developing a positive emotion and connection between consumers and the overall brand. Throughout a merger and acquisition, this important role of the marketing department remains the same, however, the message is focused not only externally, but internally as well.
Branding – After successfully merging or acquiring a new business, one of the first steps will be the branding of the new entity. Externally, this could require the marketing team to develop entirely new branding standards and guidelines, consisting of a logo, brand voice, as well as the mission and vision of the brand. Here, it is the marketing departments job to develop the foundation for the new brand, so that consumers can connect with and understand what products, services, and values are being offered.
Internally, however, the job of the marketing team is to develop a strong brand connection and integration for all of the employees. Employees are the face of every brand; therefore, it is essential that the marketing department works with employees from both companies so that an easy and satisfactory transition can occur for all. Through this transition, it is essential to have all staff understanding the new brand and values that the company will have to offer (internally and to customers) moving forward.
Marketing and Promotions – Marketing simply refers to the process of explaining or informing others of the value, services, products, and information that a company may want to share. Externally, the marketing department should be focused on providing marketing pieces, either traditionally or digitally, that informs the public of what is to come, whether this is added value or new products or services that have been developed from the M&A.
Internally, the same should be done. Employees should receive updates on changes or developments, whether this is new products, added staff appreciation days, new work hours or change of the organizational hierarchy. By keeping the employees informed and in the know, it will ease the staff and build a strong connection between the newly developed/acquired brand and themselves.
Overall Communication – When word gets out, to staff or consumers, that an M&A is occurring, all are usually uneasy as many questions arise; consumers want to know if they are losing their favourite products and employees want to know what this means for their position and company culture. By using the marketing department to keep communication channels open, it keeps all members who are invested in the brand informed. This helps to settle the uneasiness but it also allows for all to feel a sense of connection from the get-go, given that through open communication, they have become a part of the process from the start.
Externally, this can be done through social media channels and e-newsletters. Not all questions need to be answered, and consumers do not need to know every detail, however, it is in good practice to give tidbits of information that keep the public informed and connected.
Internally, this can be done through staff meetings, internal newsletters, and message boards. By answering your employees’ questions and keeping them informed, you allow room for happy and satisfied staff. Remember, no one likes to be left in the dark. So, with the information that you can report on, provide your staff with the appropriate context.
To put it simply, marketing departments are an essential element to the successful launching of a newly merged and acquired company. Not only can a competent marketing firm reconstruct your brand, but it can also help ease the transition for all employees involved. So, when your company is going through the merger and acquisition process, remember to rely on your marketing team as much internally, as you would to communicate to the general public. This will ensure a positive and smooth transition for all.