When companies change, so does their messaging. One of the larger recent acquisitions was between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller. The two beer powerhouses merged officially in early November.
The acquisition of SABMiller by AB InBev cost nearly $106 billion, reported The New York Times. Upon completion, the combination of these two companies has the potential to rack in an annual revenue of around $64 billion and open up the international market to AB InBev.
Deals like these are felt by employees at every level of the chain, from big-wig execs to the manufacturers churning out the product. Acquisitions don’t end with a signed contract; they involve massive levels of re-branding initiatives to ensure the transition from one company to another is as seamless as possible.
Although some mergers and acquisitions don’t affect the branding for customers, they still require much revision to internal documentation and processes.
Rebranding Efforts Post-Acquisition
In the business realm, the process of post-acquisition transitioning is called conversion. Companies must literally convert new locations into their own brand and image. This process can involve things as obvious as changing the sign out front, to more obscure changes such as communicating new brand values to acquired customers.
“Promotional products tend to feel more like gifts than marketing.”
Define Your Brand
Company leadership has to take into consideration branding strategies after an acquisition. There are several approaches, some of which include a complete brand takeover by the acquiring company, or a dual branding effort that includes a combination of both organizations.
In either choice, there is a high impact on customers and personnel alike. It is for this reason that in the days following an acquisition, it is important to convey a sense of brand unity towards customers.
Branding plays a big role in the conversion process, from marketing materials to storefronts to employee name tags. Essentially, every form of communication must be converted to represent the new brand image. This includes content messaging to visuals. Companies must make sure they showcase consistent branding throughout their new locations.
Reinforcing the Switch
A great way to communicate your brand-change is to hold a kickoff event. This not only establishes a sense of community, but companies can give away small branded freebies to customers at this event to reinforce their conversion process. Whether it be a branded tote bag, a water bottle splashed with the new logo or a casual t-shirt, give your customers a fun and usable item to recognize and reinforce the company switch.
According to a study by the Advertising Specialty Institute reported by Marketing Profs, 84 percent of Americans better remember a company’s name when they receive a branded item from it.
Moreover, Gendelman noted that branded items tend to feel more like gifts than marketing initiatives. As such, customers are more inclined to hold onto these branded products longer and end up having an increased familiarity with your brand. Not to mention, using or wearing a branded product results in more brand exposure and outreach over time.
Companies looking to convert locations should consider these small freebies when creating a conversion strategy. Something as simple as a branded notepad or a pen can go a long way for brand recognition.
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