Leading business publications like Forbes and U.S. News & World Report all agree that mergers and acquisitions are on the rise. Given that, it’s not too hard to assume that brand consolidations are probably not too far behind, because it only makes sense that corporations present one voice and one brand to the marketplace.

But with brand consolidation can come troubles if it’s not done right. Certain assumptions, while they might look good on paper, can in reality spell doom.

Some of the more common mistakes corporations can make are these.

Mistake #1: The CEO does not stay visible.

Don’t let months of hard work leading up to a brand consolidation all be for naught by assuming once the deal is done, there’s nothing more to do. This is when you need to be the most visible. Employees, stakeholders and customers all need to hear your voice at this point driving home the vision of the consolidation.  You need to be the cheerleader who gets everyone else on board, so you need to constantly remind them what the plan is, why it’s important for the company and why it’s good for them.

Mistake #2: Confusing your organization chart for brand architecture.

Just because your new org chart has the company siloed, that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to go to market. Mergers and acquisitions often occur because there is a benefit to the customer to be sold across multiple service lines. But if each division still plays as an individual, and not as a part of a larger team, those efficiencies can be lost.

Mistake #3: Assuming the market understands what you are doing.

Similar to Mistake #1, you need to stay visible. Often, companies may not have done display advertising, or they’ve not done digital marketing, or they’ve not had a really big trade show presence in the past. So they just assume that’s what they should keep doing.

Never assume the market knows what you’re doing. If anything, this is the time for a big coming out party. You need to drive the message home to the market as much as you drive it home internally. Start getting comfortable with really pushing your brand into the forefront of the marketplace, and step into the opportunity that comes with this big brand consolidation.

It’s true what they say, you never get a second chance to make that first impression. So don’t let this exciting opportunity slip away. Hear what more I have to say about these common brand consolidation mistakes in this video.

TRANSCRIPT:

TIFFANY SAUDER:

Hello everyone, my name is Tiffany Sauder, I’m the president of Element Three. One of the most exciting types of work that we get to do is to work along a company and its leadership team when they’re going through a brand consolidation.

A lot of times they’ve gone through and they’ve purchased a couple of different companies, and they’re going through the effort of consolidating to a single brand so they can have one voice and one message and one brand to the marketplace.

This is a really complex time for a company, as you might imagine, and there’s a few mistakes that I see companies make at times and I want to be sure you avoid if you’re going through a change like this.

The first one, the mistake is, the CEO doesn’t not stay visible through the entire process. I know a lot of times the C-Suite has worked six months, seven days a week, around the clock, and the deal is done and they’re very tired and they really want to go on vacation and be with their families.

But unfortunately, the work is just beginning when it comes to the marketplace’s perspective.  You’ve got to stay visible for the constituents who are going through a massive amount of change, as a result of this decision. Obviously your customers, your employees, your internal stakeholders. Everybody is really trying to figure out what’s happening and what’s the reason for all of this.

The CEO has got to be a parrot for the vision during this time. Over and over and over again, reiterating, “Here’s why we’re doing this,” “Here’s why this intended future is important,” and “Here’s what this is going to mean to you when we accomplish this all together.” So stay visible.

The second one is that the org chart and the brand architecture aren’t necessarily the same thing.  And here’s what that means. A lot of times when you do a consolidation, now you have separate P&Ls, and different scorecards and different C-Suite people who are incentivized to grow different lines of business.

Just because your organization is set up that way, where Service Line A, Service Line B, Service Line C, Service Line D are separate divisions inside your organization, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the right way for us to go to market.

Often times what I hear is that these acquisitions happened because they believe customers can actually do business across each one of those service lines. So they’re trying to get Customer X to buy service A, B, C and D.  And if we’re going to market siloed it’s really, really difficult for the customer to understand how these new services combine to create completely new value proposition for them.

So, org chart does not necessarily equal brand architecture in the way that we need to face the world. So think really long and hard about that and realize that they often are not one and the same.

The third one ties closely to the first one in staying visible but it’s to continue reinforcing the message. Don’t stop. Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop talking about it.

A lot of times companies, let’s say they were 150 million and now they’re 600 million inside of an industry or a market, and they’ve not done display advertising, or they’ve not done digital marketing, or they’ve not done really big trade show presence in the past. But now is the time to do it.

If you’re ever going to push your brand to the forefront in an industry and really have what I call a “coming out party” now is the time to do make that investment.

Don’t ever think that the marketplace understands what it is that you’re doing. Because often times they don’t. And it takes iterations of number 7, number 8, number 10, number 12, on and on and on, to make sure the market understands what is the reason for all of this happening.

So keep reinforcing the message. Don’t disappear. And be sure that, if you never have before, that you start getting comfortable with really pushing your brand into the forefront of the marketplace, and really stepping into the opportunity that comes with this big brand consolidation.

Lot of change. Really hard thing to do. But super rewarding when it’s done well.

So good luck.

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Tiffany Sauder

Coming from a family whose father never worked for another person his whole life, entrepreneurship ran high in Tiffany Sauder’s household. When the opportunity to take over a small Indianapolis marketing firm was presented to her, she leaped at the chance and has been expanding it ever since. For Tiffany, business is built to grow people – not the other way around – and Element Three exists to fulfill that vision. And as clients and employees grow, so does Element Three itself.

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