Growing a firm by merging with or acquiring another firm is not a unique strategy in the accounting and financial services arena. In fact, consolidation of the industry continues to occur as the pace of M&A activity remains high.
As new firms emerge, they must establish a unified identity and brand message to differentiate from both competitors and earlier iterations of themselves.
Don’t Sink Before You Leave the Slip
When going through a merger or acquisition, leaders tend to focus on the quantifiable aspects of the transaction, such as financial models, tax implications and employment contracts. However, it is important that firms going through a merger establish a unified brand message that aligns with the new business strategy. When firms do not prioritize or consider their brand message they undermine and may sabotage the success of an M&A growth strategy—they sink the ship before it gets a chance to set sail.
Mergers and acquisitions present great opportunities for firms to rethink and refresh their brands. The manner in which a firm creates its new brand message after a merger provides insight into the new entity and how the unique aspects of the separate firms and cultures come together to create an “enhanced” organization.
Chart Your Course Thoughtfully
It’s not an easy task to combine two company cultures to arrive at a unified brand with a common culture and brand message. The leaders of each firm must agree on a new brand that accurately reflects the combined strengths, differentiators and value propositions of the united organization.
We recommend firms begin the process with a strategic planning session, during which leaders discuss and agree to the strategies and tactics for integrating all aspects of the merging firms, including operations, marketing and culture.
There is always a lot to cover. Here are a few examples of the marketing and branding decisions that should be made during the strategic planning session:
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