Naming Strategies For Mergers & AcquisitionsJanuary 14, 2016
Eighty-three percent of mergers fail. That’s a daunting likelihood stretching up over your back as you consider merging with or acquiring a company. That said, nearly one-fifth of mergers rise and succeed to realize the potential of two companies in one. You can be one of them.
Consider Renaming in Your Merger Strategy
The brand naming strategy is always essential. Naming your brand is a critical (and tricky) component of every brand’s development. Its importance is even more imminent when you merge with a competitor or bring another competitor in the industry on board with your already successful company.
Merger and acquisition strategies have more to do with numbers; they rely on successful marketing and rebranding to convince consumers why the new joint-force is better than the brand(s) before.Today, we will look at a few rebranding tips to consider when merging, strategies to consider, and brands who executed them well.
Tips to Consider Before Starting Your Naming Strategy
• Get in touch with your consumer
Marketing strategies are always built with the consumer in mind; this is especially critical when it comes to renaming. Research and understand what your consumers think of the current brand identities and determine what they want in a brand to best appeal to them.
• Understand the situation holistically
Putting the strongest brand foot forward is not as simple as moving forward post-merger with the most popular brand. Unearth each brand’s potencies in both strengths and weaknesses. Analyze the market you are entering and research previous attempts by companies to appeal to the market’s consumers.
• Use every opportunity to communicate your narrative
Why did you merge or acquire? Explain your story to your consumers along every step of the purchase funnel so they understand that the business decision you made was to their direct benefit.
Merger and Acquisition Strategies
There are a few ways to go about successful mergers and acquisitions. Here are a few of the recommended strategies to consider.
• Fuse together
Fusion is a simple and common strategy when it comes to mergers and acquisitions. Fusing involves combining the two existing brand names and showing a strong, united front to both brands’ customers.
Most acquisitions and mergers occur between brands who cater to a similar demographic and/or preach a similar brand message. With these commonalities, it’s easy to come together, absorb more of the market share, maintain current loyalty, and grow reach and consumer retention.
It’s worth noting that fusion is not as simple as sliding two brand names next to one another, though this is a common manifestation of the strategy. Fusing requires in-depth research into which elements of your brand aesthetic and identity resonate with consumers.
Using these elements, your marketing teams can creatively think of the best way to bring the brands’ strongest characteristics together.
• Stay the same
Sometimes, the best route through change is not changing at all. Behind the scenes, a business will run and react anew, but on the surface, an acquired brand can remain the same in the eyes of its consumers.
If a brand has a successful reputation and loyal consumer market, there’s no need (frankly, no good reason) to alter the brand’s identity or character.
• Start anew
When your marketing team is equipped with intelligence and wit, creating a new brand that umbrellas both or all acquired/merged brands can be the best renaming solution. This rebranding strategy is common when entering a new, foreign market where the merged brand names have neither a presence nor a preceding reputation strong enough to make a dent in the industry.
Crafting a new brand is hard and not for the faint of heart. It takes ingenuity, calculated research, and incredible follow-through with dedicated effort. That said, the benefits to reap if executed successfully are grand.
• Keep the stronger brand
Many acquisitions and mergers have a clear dominant brand in the mix that can successfully lead the merged companies into the goals and dreams. If one brand in your merger is strong, keep it. Adopt the identity of the strongest brand and fuel its success with the strength of the stronger company.
4 Mergers and Acquisitions Examples
As mentioned at the start of this article, not every acquisition and merger sees success. However, the ones that do, prevail and give us worthy examples on how to rename profitably after joining powers with another company.
1. Proctor & Gamble
Proctor & Gamble is notorious for their continual acquisition of brands that fall into the categories which P&G houses. If P&G were to rebrand every product they parent to reflect the P&G logo and name, consumers might stray.
Consumers like a sense of familiarity and authenticity. P&G parents brands like Tide, TAMPAX, Bounty, and Vicks, each with a consumer family of its own and a long line of advertising history behind it. It takes decades and brilliant strategy to wedge a dent in the market as significant as the ones these brands have.
P&G preserves the individual identities of its acquired brands to ensure their longevity per industry and even create controlled competition in their industries of service; this is an example of the ‘stay the same’ strategy.
How many readers know that Verizon is the offspring of Bell Atlantic and GTE? Just a few, is the answer, and it is all thanks to an ingeniously successful rebranding strategy. Bell Atlantic and GTE merged when both companies had the intention to focus on mobile instead of their separate previous products and services.
Neither company had a stake in mobile, and entering mobile under either’s existing identity did not provide sufficient ammunition to succeed. So, the two brands opted to embrace a new identity altogether and entered mobile as Verizon.
Verizon is one of the world’s most famous brands today, and it reached its potential largely thanks to the marketing rebranding strategy.
Starting off with a new identity, logo, aesthetic, and message is risky. But done creatively with the fuel of two independently strong company histories and workforces, it can be exactly what a merger needs to fulfill its potential.
3. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is a big household name today, but it started out as a smaller bank called First Union. First Union acquired an even smaller company, Wachovia, and rebranded as Wachovia, which later evolved into today’s trusted Wells Fargo.
Why did First Union rebrand as its smaller acquired company, you might ask. First Union was a strong business with a poor reputation. Strategically, it acquired a smaller, more trusted company and assumed its brand identity. This allowed the bigger, more successful company to reap the benefits a smaller, better-trusted brand name.
The strategy worked, obviously, as Wachovia famously grew into one of the world’s largest bank companies today.
ConocoPhillips is an example of brand fusion. The two independently strong brands came together, and instead of opting for one of each other’s identities or creating a new brand image altogether, they synced their names and changed to one new, joint logo.
This type of fusion allows consumers to maintain familiarity with the brand names, which is ultra-important to trust and long-term brand loyalty. At the same time, it communicates to both brands’ demographics that the two household names are now a joint force and working together to bring the two consumer groups the strongest iterations of service and products they’ve come to expect and experienced so far.
Want Branding is a professional team of branding experts who are here to help you answer all big marketing questions so you can present the best face of your company to your audience.
Reach out to us to learn more about our services and get help rebranding before your merger, today.