Welcome to M&A Minute by Finch Brands. I'm Bill Gullan, President of Finch Brands. We're a real-world brand consultancy. We're focused on helping companies at key moments strengthen and clarify and activate the full potential of their brands and businesses. I call this M&A Minute, but it's always longer. They're giving me grief. I'll be quick today.
Engaging teammates during an M&A moment
We've spoken at length and written at length about how important it is within M&A branding processes to listen to internal stakeholders as well as external stakeholders. That's because M&A moments are change management moments. The change curve and all that means functionally and emotionally for teammates is important to master and plan against in navigating these deals to ensure the greatest amount of opportunity moving forward.
What we're going to recommend today is something that we've deployed for a variety of different companies. That is not only listening and engaging teammates in the process of making key choices. Again, the value is that teammates feel their fingerprints are all over the final solution.
Teammates also provide important insights as to what makes brands tick culturally and in terms of their go-to-market approach. They can also give a perspective directly from the floor. Client-facing teammates know how brands are perceived and how we compete and win in the marketplace.
Now, once a deal is undertaken and once some of the key choices have been made, the listening should not end there. So, what we're advocating today is a research solution that we call pop-up insights communities.
Filter input from your audience with a pop-up insights community
If you think of the entire workforce of the enterprises that are involved in M&A transactions as being a community of colleagues across functions, across locations, and in some cases in that process of coal coalescing or unifying cultural elements, it is important to track in the early stages:
- How well are those messages getting through?
- How closely aligned do organizations and disparate teammates feel with one another?
- How clearly is the messaging about purpose, mission, values, go-to-market strategy and business vision getting through to teams?
What a pop-up insights community does is it gives you an efficient mechanism to capture, manage and filter input from target audiences. There's certainly value in doing that with external audiences, but internal ones too.
If you build pop-up insights communities for three to six months after an M&A transaction, the great thing about these communities is that in qualitative and quantitative data collection, we can capture and track the sentiment over time of a population – in this case, the entire workforce of a team.
We can do surveys to understand employee engagement, brand trajectory and brand health. We can do focus groups with smaller groups or more qualitative research endeavors with smaller groups to understand how certain communications are going over to test certain approaches before we launch them.
How pop-up insights communities track M&A efficacy
When deployed, pop-up insights communities – particularly those that are focused on internal stakeholders in the wake of M&A activity – can enable us to track the progress and efficacy of what we're going forward with and ultimately what we're taking to market.
That ultimately ensures alignment and unification, which ensures that the right messages are getting through and being internalized among teammates in far-flung locations and across functions. Then, the new entity can march forward and go to market with tremendous strength internally and externally.
We all know brands are built from the inside out. It takes an inspired and educated workforce to create exceptional customer experiences. I defy you to be able to do the second without the first. So, pop-up insights communities enable you to track in a longitudinal way how well that change management process is working internally associated with M&A.
Become a champion of purposeful change
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.