Whether you are acquiring a corporation or merging with another, projecting a refreshed brand is of utmost importance to signify that your business is forging ahead in a new strategic direction. Typically, two cultures are merged with the objective to co-mingle products and services under a unified corporate image. The newly structured entity will redefined its vision, mission, and value statements, in addition to its overall corporate logo.
A deep soul searching process is undertaken to restructure, which contributes to creating a positive outlook of the future, ensuring consistency, confidence and reducing insecurities for clients.
4 BRANDING STRATEGIES:
a) Brand Dominance: Usually the most popular strategy. The goal is to leverage off the better known brand to reach new markets and cross sell products. The smaller or weaker company’s name is assimilated into the acquiring company’s brand name, and removed from the market entirely.
Example: In the US, National Bank corporate branding was assimilated within Bank of America’s. Sometimes, the stronger or larger firm’s logo may undergo a small change to signify the new union.
b) Brand Competition: In this scenario, both brands retain their original brand names. The most powerful brands are those that stand on their own, without corporate endorsements. Strong brands are invariably a single word or concept. Two firms maintain their unique identity in the public world, but take advantage of internal structures to cross sell, up sell and reduce costs thereby improving efficiencies and profitability.
Example: Amazon.ca and Zappos.
c) Brand Merger: Both brands are combined. Each firm loses its original identity and the strategy is to show that the combined firms are stronger together. Therefore, a new brand is created using something from both firms.
Example: Continental Airlines and United Airlines, became United. The logo for Continental Airlines and the name United were combined to create the official new corporate brand.
d) Brand Creation: The brands should be evaluated to determine how one brand might negatively or positively affect another in the brand portfolio or the company reputation. In the end, management may decide that an entirely brand new identity is the right decision.
Example: Bell Atlantic + GTE became Verizon.
Brand merger and acquisition decisions should not be made without adequate market research to better understand how consumers perceive both brands prior to and post-merger/acquisition. These are decisions that require detailed analysis and more importantly – market testing.
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