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Brand Architecture vs. Brand Migration: M&A Minute

July 27, 2023

Welcome to M&A Minute by Finch Brands. I’m Bill Gullan, President of Finch Brands. We are a real-world brand consultancy and we help companies at key moments clarify and strengthen and activate the full potential of their brands and businesses.

Brand architecture vs. brand migration in an M&A event

Today on M&A Minute, I want to define two terms that are often indispensable to the processes that we run. Those terms are brand architecture and brand migration. 

Brand architecture is the desired steady state and, in some cases, long-term alignment of brand equities. They bring order to chaos. In M&A moments, the steady state brand architecture is about once we get there, this is the right formula to help businesses grow, accelerate profitable growth, and advance a clarified and unified brand vision. 

Now, the path to get there is what we call brand migration. In some cases, this is not an overnight path. If you’re dealing with an M&A situation, brands that have been acquired because they have strong equity in their marketplaces or because they stand for something distinctive, even if the long-term brand architecture solution involves a gradual migration away from using those brands – and in some cases, a sun setting of those brands – brand migration is about the path and the key milestones to get there.

In some cases, this could be many months or even years because we want to carefully port over brand equity with the stakeholder groups that matter. Teammates, of course, for cultural integration and customers too, so that those who have fallen in love with brands over time feel that all that they love still exists within the new entity.

M&A: The Brand Identity Choice

The risk of integrating too slowly during an M&A event

So, brand architecture is about studying and then taking decisive action to define what that steady state and what that twinkling star will be somewhere in the future. Brand migration is a purposeful and deliberate path of key milestones with key groups to get us there. 

Brand migration may have some transitional or temporary brand architecture techniques such as using an endorsed brand or introducing a new code name for a period of time in association with an existing name as the new brand takes hold and gains steam in the marketplace.

In very rare cases is the steady state brand architecture once defined actioned right away. It is only in cases where the brand equity risk does not merit a deliberate, purposeful and patient migration path.

So, within the work we do for clients, we’re defining that brand architecture – which is the ideal steady state – and we’re also defining that migration path so that when we get to that steady state, we have done so carefully, seizing upside while managing risk and protecting brand equity.

There’s a reason that companies have been acquired or have been merged with. That’s because their brands, among other things, mean something internally and externally. 

Manage risk during mergers and acquisitions

Brand architecture and brand migration is a path to make sure that an M&A transaction seizes upside while managing risk. That’s been M&A Minute. Bill Gullan, if you’re ready to be a champion of purposeful change, please contact us today and subscribe to our YouTube channel for future videos.

Finch Brands is a real-world brand consultancy that specializes in insights, strategy, and design, and has helped dozens of clients build successful post-M&A brands. We do this by helping clients win when it matters most by helping them own the change moment.  

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