According to research from Deloitte, 2017 is expected to see accelerated growth in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Whether driven by diversification, the need to fill a strategic gap in experience or technology or a desire to enter new markets, M&A’s can make or break company’s fortunes, and boost or kill a brand. Just take a look at these examples here.
The growth in M&A activity obviously has a significant impact on all agencies involved in branding and communication - whether it be the need for a new company name for a merged organization, internal communications to help staff navigate the choppy waters of integration through to the material changes in stationery, uniforms and signage, for example. The timing of such rebranding activity is arguably easier to influence than the timing of the M&A, so what influences play their part and what, if any, strategic advantage can be gained in the timings of a rebrand?
For companies running their fiscal year in line with the calendar year, budget is available at the start of the financial year when new budgets are set, and at the end of the financial year when they are trying to spend any surplus
Often M&A activity peaks in Q2 and Q3, after Q1 or half year results. It can then take a further 6 months for due diligence and deals to conclude/close. The rebranding activity usually happens at the same time or shortly after closing, driving activity in Q4 requiring budget.
Many business to business manufacturing industries tend to have manufacturing shut downs in the Summer months which can bookend activity into the last quarter. The same should be considered for Christmas shut downs which can push activity into early Q1.
Many companies show the value of their brand on their balance sheet and if they are operating their fiscal year as a calendar year then any brand activity is strongly linked to showing the monetary value of that brand on their books.
Finally, on a personal level, a new brand can impact most on it’s employees and markets at the beginning or end of a year – it is either a call to arms/marketing push for achieving ambitious goals at the beginning of a fiscal year or a physical demonstration reflecting the progress made by a business over the last calendar year in order to close in a strong position.
The “How?” is something that my team help our clients with every day - there is no “correct” answer to “when?” however companies should add this topic to the agenda to ensure that rebranding objectives are exploited to the maximum with timely activity which work with your strategic objectives.
Philippa has over 20 years experience working with both International branding agencies and brand owners on the delivery and implementation of their branding projects.
Contact Philippa to discuss how we can help with your branding project.
Philippa Brown Director, Brand-On