Welcome to M&A Minute by Finch Brands. I'm Bill Gullan, President of Finch Brands. We are a real-world brand consultancy. We help companies at key moments strengthen, clarify and activate the full potential of their brands and businesses. Today's topic is solving the needs of tomorrow, today.
Building an efficient brand integration model for M&A events
We are often called upon to help companies untangle key questions of how to integrate brands during these M&A moments. Many of these companies, either propelled by private equity strategies or just their own growth, are not just making the acquisitions that they've either recently made or ones that are right in front of us. They're somewhere in a cadence of making multiple acquisitions within a period of time.
Analyzing equity and building migration strategies
Within a process, it is important not just to address the topics of integration that are right in front of you, but also to create through the work a system for how to address brand architecture and M&A brand integration for future acquisitions. It would be wasteful to just address the questions that are front and center and then have to do it again in six, nine or 18 months – whenever the next acquisition happens.
Within our workflow, not only are we typically assessing equity and building migration strategies for an acquisition that's about to be made or has recently been made, but we're also building that model for how this company thinks about brand architecture long-term and how these future integrations will happen.
Tools for efficient brand integration
Some of the tools that are important in doing that are to create a rubric, a set of evaluative criteria on which to assess the brand equity of acquired businesses. That assessment is often fundamental to the nature and or piece of brand integration.
If the intent of the desired long-term brand architecture is brand consolidation, the action steps and timing around when a name might sunset are based in part upon the incoming strength of the brand. You don't want to sunset a brand too quickly or too capriciously. Having that model, that rubric with which to assess the equity of an acquired brand can be helpful.
Developing a decision tree
Once you have that rubric, what you want to build is a decision tree. You can do it in one page, although you need a lot of thought to go into it. A method through which brand equity is assessed and based on that assessment, an integration pathway begins.
Again, it's based on varying brand strength, based on where the equity is held within an acquired brand, whether it's related to people or to the company, based upon the complexity of the sort of market construction.
There's a whole bunch of different criteria that you would want to be part of this decision tree. But we like to build "choose your own adventure" decision trees that ultimately become a system.
Achieving forward-thinking M&A integration processes
Let's not only solve the issues that are in front of us today with brand integration but also build a process and a structure for how future integrations are handled. Only that way will this work be efficient and all future steps, that businesses may take to grow through M&A, can be confidently and effectively managed.
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.