If you’re a brand targeting acquisition in the near future, it may seem counterintuitive to invest in branding. After all, it’s expected that once you’re acquired, your brand will be changed, updated, or entirely absorbed.
So, any money you invest in branding now is wasted, right?
We are saying this so firmly based on experience from over 20 mergers and acquisitions with client brands.
Our experience shows that brands targeting acquisitions who invest in branding and marketing are likely to see a very positive ROI from that investment. But, only if they make the right sort of investments.
What’s the right sort of investment? We’re happy to share.
No realtor would suggest that you just show your house as-is when you’re looking to sell. It’s time to replace your worn floors and put a new coat of paint in the bedroom and finally get that front flower bed weed-free and landscaped.
Even if the new homeowners have their own taste and plan to undo all your changes, first impressions matter — a lot.
Prospective company buyers have a lot in common with prospective home buyers. Sure, they care about fundamentals like your balance sheet, growth, and profitability, but they’re just as susceptible to first impressions as home buyers.
Your branding is what will make that first impression. So, spruce it up.
Assess and consider updating your logo, your sales and outreach materials, and all the other materials that introduce new customers to your brand. Think about the first things your customers and potential acquirers will see, and make sure they’re giving the impression of a contemporary, growing, valuable, and relevant company.
It’s not uncommon for companies targeting acquisition to get, let’s say, “comfortable” with their growth. They’re profitable, solid companies, but they haven’t been maximizing every opportunity possible.
While bigger companies looking at acquisition certainly value untapped potential, they also use the current trajectory in the valuations they offer.
If your company’s revenues, profits, and market share are on a recent upward swing, you’re likely to get a higher valuation than if things are static or declining.
One nearly surefire way to drive that growth? A successful inbound marketing campaign. Work with your marketing agency to generate content that’s valuable to your customers. Promote across the media channels your customers are using, and then deliver those leads to your sales team. Those leads drive new business, new business drives growth, and growth increases your eventual valuation.
Let’s get back to the example of selling your house. Will your house get more/better offers if it’s just listed on the MLS, or if it’s listed in the MLS, written up in Architectural Digest, profiled in the WSJ, and written about in your local newspaper?
The answer’s no different for businesses targeting acquisition.
Visibility can help to increase acquisition prices and, perhaps more importantly, increase awareness among companies who could potentially acquire you.
What tactics are the most effective? That depends on your industry and your position in the market. However, building visibility will likely include some mix of advertising, public relations, and a strong presence at industry events and trade shows.
The best thing you can do to make sure these efforts succeed is to partner with a marketing agency with the right qualifications and experience. The two most important factors? First, a commitment to an in-depth research and strategy process at the outset of the relationship, so the agency can ensure you both understand your market, competitors, customers, and goals. Second, a proven track record of helping other companies do what you’re aiming to.
If your brand exit strategy involves merger and acquisition, tap our agency experience with over 20 M&As. We’ve helped brands increase pre-acquisition value and helped launch new brands by rebranding following a merger and acquisition.
In either case, the longer the runway, the better the outcome for you and your brand. If you are thinking about M&A or rebranding, leverage our experience as a brand marketing agency. Echo-Factory will guide your organization and its people through this critically important process from big-picture strategy, planning, delivering traditional and digital creative, and implementing the tactics.