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The Role of Marketing and Communications in Mergers and Acquisitions

August 31, 2010

Written by Vanessa Ryder, Lead Communications Specialist at VHB.

In today’s challenging economic climate, mergers and acquisitions are becoming commonplace as a way for firms to expand geographically and provide additional services to their clients. How can marketing professionals help to create a smooth transition for employees and clients? This question was recently addressed by VHB at Build Business in the session, The Role of Marketing and Communications in Mergers & Acquisitions.

To summarize: Marketing and communications professionals can and should play a critical role in mergers and acquisitions – before, during, and after the deal. Here’s how:

Pre-acquisition

Marketing and communications professional’s role during this phase is focused around market research (who are the players that your firm may be compatible with), as well as introducing our firms to firms we may be joining forces with. Marketing professionals are often called on to conduct the initial market research and then write and design materials that are used for presentations to potential targets.

Prior to day one

After two firms have made the decision to join forces there are a lot of questions to address. What will the firm be named? What will the logo look like? How do we make sure our target audience gets the message? Does each firm now have new or enhanced services that clients need to know about? How do we make sure employees at both firms are kept in the loop and understand how to communicate about the merger? The marketing group can help guide leadership through the process of answering these questions and develop key messages that need to be included in employee announcements, talking points, press releases, announcement cards, advertisements, and website announcements. There are a lot of critical communication pieces that need to be prepared during this phase. Developing a merger communications plan can help you stay on target and get the right messages out, to the appropriate audiences at the right times.

Day one

On day one, marketing and communications professionals execute! It is time to get the exciting news out to clients and the market and review key messages with staff to make sure they are confident in speaking about the merger. Day one is also a time for celebration. Marketing and communications team members can help smooth the transition for employees by planning welcoming celebrations for new colleagues. Welcoming celebrations may include balloons, employee gifts, signs, and visits from firm leadership.

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