Mergers & Acquisitions (Part 2): Defining Your Brand Blueprint in the Wake of Change

Still reeling in the wake of COVID-19, many businesses are scrambling to adapt. Some are thriving in the post-pandemic landscape, while others are struggling to keep up. As governments assess the impact on GDP and the economy, many businesses face volatile markets and anticipate poor sales. Faced with continued uncertainty, now is the time to check the relevance of your existing business and brand strategy. Rebranding goes way beyond visual identity: it can help your company enhance your competitive edge and visibility, drive sales growth and increase your business value over the long term.

The Power of Brand Identity

Your brand is more than just a logo and tagline. It’s your reputation, your voice and your promise to customers. A strong brand identity can help you:

  • Build customer preference and loyalty
  • Stand out from the competition
  • Command premium prices
  • Attract and retain top talent

Evolution or Revolution? Choosing the Right Rebranding Approach

Not all rebrands are created equal. Some companies may only need a light refresh of their visual identity, while others may need a complete overhaul. The best approach for your company will depend on several factors, such as:

  • Your current brand perception: How is your brand seen by consumers? Are you outdated, premium, innovative, or something else? Understanding your existing image reveals the starting point for any reinvention.
  • Your competitive landscape: Are you battling for market share in a crowded space? Is your competition known for bold branding moves or conservative approaches? Analyzing your rivals’ brand strategies helps determine how to stand out.
  • Your target audience: Who are you trying to reach? Are they millennials seeking fresh experiences, or established professionals valuing tradition? Defining your ideal customers guides tailoring your brand approach to resonate with them.
  • Your business goals: How does your potential rebrand fuel growth, financial performance, and efficiency; ultimately positioning your company for long-term success in a dynamic market? Your goal should be to propel your company forward.

See part one in our series: Mergers & Acquisitions (Part 1): 5 Strategic Approaches to Branding to get a better understanding of which route is best for your business.

Your brand is important to how you’re company is perceived, but how it's managed – relative to your entire customer experience – is critically important.

6 Key Questions to Help Define Your Brand

Before you start rebranding, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself some key questions:

  1. Offer and Positioning: What makes your company unique? What space can your brand authentically own?
  2. Marketplace Environment: Has your market changed? Do you need to stand out or accelerate growth?
  3. Competitor Landscape: Are you losing market share? Do you need to raise your standards?
  4. Customers and Experience: Is your brand perceived as outdated? What defines your customers of the future?
  5. Products and Services: Has your product offer evolved? Have you outgrown your initial mission?
  6. Culture and History: Does your brand no longer reflect who you are? Do you need to simplify your message?

Many management executives are too busy to properly manage a rebrand without expert help, with considerable day-to-day responsibilities leaving little space in their diaries. The financial cost implications of the rebrand will be their priority, so establish detailed cost parameters with their input.

Five Key Steps in Developing a Creative Brief

Once you have a clear understanding of your brand, you can start developing your creative brief. This document will provide your branding agency with all the information they need to create a new brand identity for your company. The five key steps in developing your creative brief are:

  1. Research and Discovery: Gather information about your company, your history, and your target audience.
  2. Clarify and Articulation: Define your brand personality, voice, and values.
  3. Position and Differentiation: What makes your brand unique?
  4. Creative Expression: Decide on what will make up your brand identity, including your logo, typography, colour palette, tone of voice, etc.
  5. Application and Extension: Create guidelines for how your brand will be used across all touchpoints, ensuring you achieve consistency and allow for agile brand governance going forward

Identifying Your Branded Assets

When you’re working with a branding agency, it’s important to provide them with a list of all your branded assets. This includes things like your logo, website, marketing materials, packaging, and uniforms.

With physical site surveys, online self-surveys and desktop research, these assets can be easily provided to your brand agency from the very start. It gives them a clear picture of the nature and extent of your brand touchpoints so that they can be more specific with what to quote for and subsequently create. This can save a lot of embarrassment and prevent having to request extra budget later on in the process.

Identifying every aspect of your current brand identity can be the most complex task of a rebrand. Due to the sheer volume and geographic reach of branded assets, many companies wisely choose a phased rollout. This allows for ongoing progress monitoring and fine-tuning. Fortunately, experienced brand implementation partners excel at orchestrating rebranding initiatives. Equipped with expertise in strategic planning, financial management, vendor relations, and reporting tools, they ensure timely, budget-conscious delivery of consistent, high-quality branded assets throughout the process.

Implementing Your New Brand

Once your new brand identity is created, it’s time to start implementing it. This can be a complex process, so it’s important to employ a brand implementation partner. A good brand implementation partner can help you:

  • Develop a brand roll-out plan
  • Train your employees on the new brand
  • Track and measure your brand results
  • Ensure your rebrand is being communicated consistently across all touchpoints

Your brand implementation partner should work with your designers and internal resources to remove the stress of detailed operational project management and ensure that all your brand touchpoint assets transition as planned. Both physical and digital elements need consideration – building signage, wayfinding, workplace environments, fleet, workwear, administration templates, marketing collateral and online resources all need appropriate solutions to help decentralised company resources manage the governance process with clear direction and autonomy.

Seamless connections between all stages are essential. From brand strategy to brand engineering and brand implementation, each phase requires specific talent, expertise and experience in strategic, analytical, and tactical skills.

'Seamless connections between all stages are essential. From brand strategy to brand engineering and brand implementation, each phase requires specific talent, expertise and experience in strategic, analytical, and tactical skills.'

Top 5 Takeaways for a Successful Post-M&A Rebrand

  1. Do your research: Make sure you understand why you need to rebrand and what you hope to achieve
  2. Get buy-in from your team: Everyone in your company should be on board with the new brand.
  3. Think long-term: Your new brand should be able to grow with your company.
  4. Keep it simple: The simplest ideas are often the best.
  5. Plan for implementation: Rebranding is not just about creating a new brand. It’s about implementing it across all touchpoints.

A successful rebrand can be a powerful tool for growth. By following these tips, you can ensure that your company emerges from the post-pandemic world stronger than ever.

Find out more

Our team of rebrand specialists is on hand to help with your post-M&A rebrand, from strategy through to implementation. Contact us for an initial no-obligation chat.

Next Feature

Mergers & Acquisitions (Part 3): 4 Steps to Planning and Preparing Your Brand Rollout

In part one of our series we looked at five rebrand strategies. In part two we dived into the creative process of developing a new brand. Now it’s time to delve into the detail of how to prepare for a brand rollout.