You may have thought of merging with another business as a growth strategy once or twice. But whether you take this route or simply partner as a Joint Venture or team up as a host beneficiary or complimentary service with another entity; it is critical to take stock in the full essence each brand brings in creating the newly combined relationship.
Merging two or more brands together is so much more than what it might look like on paper. It is more than the bottom line financials, the logistics of the deal, more than the name change, the new logo or business cards. Think of it as impacting the ‘Gestalt’ of everything you do from this point forward. Everything you do in this process will have a direct and indirect result to your long-term success.
Now, this subject could be a whole book, but today, it is just a brief thought-provoking blog post that will hopefully stir some appreciation of the finesse, or ‘art’ involved in staying conscious, strategic and deliberate in this process.
This ‘union’ should be thought of as a marriage. Each entity has its own brand equity (internal and external) it is bringing to the table. And it’s highly emotional. That equity and ‘way of being’ comes with baggage, sort of like in-laws, cousins, and siblings at a family reunion that will last for years.
And so, in thinking this through, it brings up countless questions to begin considering. Such as;
- How will these two brands relate and collaborate through the process of becoming one?
- Which brand’s external market positioning will be dominant? Or will they meld to create yet a different brand altogether?
- Which culture will be infused with the other? What brand vocabulary will be infused into the collective entity?
- What core values are common denominators within each merging brand? And how will the dominant values penetrate the incoming brand’s current and future way of being?
- Brand style must be addressed as well: “What will be the default ‘approach’ to customer service, vendor management, employee engagement, policies & procedures, leadership, corporate communication, marketing messaging, etc.
- How will the stakeholders begin to understand the new ‘why’ of the collective entity?
- How will the market (current and prospective) ‘buy-in’ to the merge and fully understand the narrative enough to continue to be loyal and advocate for the brand?
- How will your brand promise change or be solidified by this merger?
- What revisions to our standards of performance will occur from the internal and external perspective?
- How will your key brand differentiators be affected, enriched, or expanded with the merging of the additional brand’s unique differentiators? And how will you leverage them as the new entity?
These 10 questions are just a few to chew on beyond the legal paperwork and logistics. Successful mergers are well thought out and consider these brand-based questions (and more) well before the two entities are officially tied together. It’s all about alignment, from the inside out. Think long-term.
If these questions aren’t addressed appropriately, then rumors, dissention, fear, gossip, and insecurities could develop in a short period of time and negate the efforts of the purpose of the merger long-term.
When these questions are addressed with conscious, strategic and deliberate planning, then you are that much more likely to ease into the melding of brands with positivity, comprehension, excited anticipation, openness, and confidence. This process can be an artful infusion of two different mediums that result in a masterpiece.