Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. This is our reason for being. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers. Today we hear from Andre, a Vice President of Marketing in Denver, Colorado who has this question about transitioning acquired brands.
The insurance company I work for recently acquired a smaller, established company out of state to allow for geographic diversification into new markets. We don’t want to immediately rebrand everything to the parent company brand, but also don’t plan to keep using the acquired company’s brand as a DBA name much beyond a transition period that allows agents and policyholders to get used to the new company brand. Are there some broad strategies or rules of thumb about how and how quickly to morph from one brand to another?
Thanks for your question Andre. Assuming you have already made the decision to transition all acquisitions to your brand’s name, the key thing is to communicate each transition in a way that the acquired brand’s target audiences have heard about the transition at least 7 to 12 times before it is fully executed. In this way, they will associate the new name and identity with the former name and identity.
This can be accomplished through communication or by that and linking the two names/identities for a period of time. For instance, you can render the acquired brand as a sub-brand of your brand or it can be endorsed by your brand for perhaps a year or two before the acquired brand is dropped and replaced by your brand. On the side of caution, I would also explore any associations the acquired brand’s target audiences have with your brand’s name/identity just in case there are any negative or confusing associations that need to be addressed prior to the transition.
Don’t Forget About The People
So often, companies just impose brand change on the culture without enough consideration for what their people stand to lose or gain psychologically from the shift. They focus on the corporate restructure at the expense of the emotional restructure. By failing to leverage the legacy of the existing brand, or the excitement and strength of the new, they often lose the transformational opportunity that a change in brand ownership represents.
What you will do with the brand(s) you acquire is a critical consideration for every company looking to take over another’s assets. You have after all probably paid good money for them. Understanding the value they have, and the value they could have, or will never achieve, is vital to turning balance-sheet goodwill into margin-enhancing brand equity. Too often, companies make decisions after the brands themselves have been acquired and based on policy or structure rather than carefully thinking through ahead of time how they can achieve the greatest emotional impact in their markets and for their customers, current and future.
Andre, I hope this is helpful. See here for more on the complexities of brand strategy for mergers and acquisitions and brand architecture.
Do you have a question related to brand or growth strategy? Just Ask The Blake Project
The Blake Project Can Help: The Brand Architecture Workshop (NOW ONLINE)
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education