How to Effectively Roll Out Your New Brand: M&A Minute
Welcome to M&A Minute by Finch Brands. I’m Bill Gullan, President of Finch Brands. We’re a real-world brand consultancy. We help organizations at key moments like merger and acquisition moments strengthen and clarify the full potential of their brands and businesses. And I’m happy that you’re with me today.
Navigating the M&A brand integration path
Let’s talk about rollout. We spend a lot of time in this space. In all of the content that we create around M&A brand choices, we discuss the migration path that leads up to a conversion of some sort most likely from the way that brands are managed today into that steady state. That rollout process often depends on the nature of the business. But almost all the time has a lot to it.
If you think about the full ways in which the touchpoints or venues in which corporate identities are manifested internally and externally, all of the branded material, all of the physical and environmental spaces, all of the truck wraps, all of the product packaging, the website, the digital assets, the trade show booths… I could go on and on. There’s so much to think about.
Often, the complexity of that dissuades folks from confidently managing brand integration and transition within M&A. I am here, though, to talk about what we will call a “staggered rollout”.
Reducing disorder in post-M&A branding
When I went back to college every year, all of my classmates arrived and threw down their bags, emptied the trunk, and went right out to hang out with their friends and family. I was the guy who didn’t want clutter. I wanted to put everything away first. I wanted the dorm room to be ready before it was time to turn my attention to social life and other things. So, I do not like disorder.
None of us like disorder as it relates to brand portfolios and brand realities. Consistency is important to branding, but I am here to reassure you that not every switch needs to be flipped on day one post-M&A.
In fact, the marketplace, colleagues, customers, and prospects understand that these things take place gradually. When it comes to the rollout and brand conversion of all of these assets, it often makes financial and logistical sense to do it gradually.
Introducing a staggered brand rollout
For companies that have abundant physical assets, such as the sorts that I mentioned above, it is important to introduce the expectation of a staggered rollout internally and externally. And there are easy ways to do this:
- Emails and email signatures
- Information on your website
- Temporary easel signage for physical locations
Whatever the tactic, the fact remains that the marketplace has some degree of patience. As an executive, you may not have patience because you want everything to be perfect. But I’m here to tell you that let’s do perfection slowly, not over the weekend. Let’s do it at a reasonable pace.
Our recommendation – and we often collaborate with clients to do this – is to build a rollout budget that sorts that full inventory of assets into different priority categories. Those priorities may be based on visibility, change over cost, the simplicity of the migration, or fixed financial expectations.
We build the right number of categories for assets. These get changed over at a different pace. It may be that Category A is year one and B is year two, etc. It may be that simple, but either way, staggered rollouts allow you to manage budgets and choreograph the client and teammate experience. So, once all of this is done and everything is working in concert with great consistency, we can celebrate.
Low-cost, high-visibility post-M&A branding assets
There are a range of assets that are lower cost yet also highly visible. A lot of these are digital social media communities. The website, the e-mail signature, and the Zoom/Teams video background. These are things that can come first because they don’t cost much and there’s not a ton of complexity in effectuating that transition.
But if you’re dealing with physical assets like hospitals, corporate offices, trucks, or another sort of CapEx, not only are those financially challenging, but they also require significant production lead times.
For a variety of different reasons, it makes sense to do those at an energetic and orderly pace – yet in a staggered way. We are advocates of staggering rollouts to manage budgets when it’s necessary.
Plus, as we said with Day 1, a window of time where communications are gradually transitioning, often earns us a longer moment of attention. If you were to do this all, flip that switch on day one, that’s a whiz-bang moment that everyone can celebrate and everyone can notice. But it also fades quickly.
Rally marketplace support for your next brand rollout
Doing brand rollouts in a staggered way based on priorities, preserves, and budget, may extend the window of newness and freshness. It’s also something that the marketplace can understand and rally around without confusion.
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.